Research & Reference

The Library archives contain original materials that richly document the life of Mary Baker Eddy and the church she founded. The collections are central to the Library’s mission and include letters, manuscripts, organizational records, photographs, artifacts, books, periodicals, and other materials available for in-depth research. To ask a research question, please do so here. Research & Reference Services is located on the 4th floor of the Library, and is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the First Saturday of February, May, August, and November. Please note that researchers are asked to fill out a Research Application form upon arrival. Visit the Finding Aids page for further information on the Library’s collections of original historical materials related to Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science. For more information on how to best access and utilize those collections, please Plan Your Visit.

 

A Note About Family History Research

The Mary Baker Eddy Library is not a genealogical library. However, we can respond to some queries using organizational records of the Church of Christ, Scientist, including membership records for individuals who passed away before 1974. Member records typically include only the following information: name; date of admission to membership in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist; mailing address at time of admission; and, date of decease or withdrawal from membership.  Additional information on members who were practitioners listed in The Christian Science Journal includes dates of Journal-listing.  Please note that member records do not include baptismal, marriage, or other family history information. Contact Research and Reference Services for more information.

History Blog & Research

The Pipe Organ in The Mother Church Extension

Our object for this month is the great pipe organ in the Extension of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the ten largest organs in the world with 13,384 pipes. read more

What’s behind the marginal headings in Science and Health?

Mary Baker Eddy first considered using marginal headings in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in 1889, and the 50th edition of the book (published in 1891) was the first to contain them. From the beginning, the headings were products of collaboration... read more

Women of History: Violet Oakley

My own faith in an organized world governed by international law dates from my first study of the life of William Penn and his ‘Holy Experiment,’ as he called the unfortified Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1682. —Violet Oakley Violet Oakley (1874-1961) is... read more

The Dawn: “A Masterpiece of Skill”

One of the most dramatic paintings that Mary Baker Eddy owned is The Dawn—depicting The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston. Here is the story behind this work of the distinguished American artist John Joseph Enneking (1841-1916). Not long... read more

How did the term “The Mother Church” come about?

The first documented use of this term is found in notes from March 5, 1889, taken by Joshua Bailey during one of Mary Baker Eddy’s classes in Christian Science healing. Typically Eddy did not permit note-taking in her classes, but in this instance she invited Bailey... read more

Spotlight on Christian Science in Hollywood: “Missing”

The 1982 film Missing shares the true story of the disappearance of Charles Horman in Chile. Horman was a freelance journalist, whose writing credits include The Christian Science Monitor, and who was raised in Christian Science. The film stars Jack Lemmon—who gives a... read more

Women of History: Lady Victoria Murray

“The tremendous responsibilities that rest upon us here become more evident to me daily. Love must be lived and felt and we are beginning to realize that fact.” —Lady Victoria Murray to Mary Baker Eddy The early Christian Science movement included men and women from... read more

Did Mary Baker Eddy care about the environment?

During Eddy’s lifetime, “environmentalist” exclusively meant a person who believed in the influence of the environment over heredity—nurture over nature, in other words. The first use of the word “environmentalist” to mean one who cares for nature did not appear until... read more

Calvin Frye’s camera

Pony Premo No. 6 camera owned by Calvin Frye (1984.37.407 A). Courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Collection. The Kodak Company sold this model from 1903 to 1906. It was considered to be of higher quality and more versatile than the previous “Premos.”   Reminiscences... read more
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