Mary Baker Eddy was a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln, as were so many of her American contemporaries. So it’s hardly surprising that as the 1909 centennial of Lincoln’s birth approached, special celebrations and commemorations were planned throughout the United States. Today, perhaps the best known of these commemorations is the Lincoln one-cent coin.
Another enduring monument to the 16th President is the farm where Lincoln was born in Kentucky, now the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky. In 1906 the Lincoln Farm Association was founded to preserve this “birthplace farm” and create a proper memorial. This was to be a “Lincoln Memorial Hall” that housed a log cabin constructed with logs thought to be from the Lincoln birthplace. (The logs were later found to have no Lincoln connection.) The hall was (and is) an imposing building, designed by John Russell Pope, later architect of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The cornerstone of the hall was laid on the anniversary of the Lincoln centennial, February 12, 1909.
Shortly before the cornerstone ceremony, Eddy received a flyer on the monument (pictured left), which provided illustrations of the planned buildings. “We ask that you will help us,” urged the Association’s Treasurer, Clarence H. MacKay, “to complete and pass down to your children and ours a memorial worthy of our great President. It is more than our duty; it should be to us a sacred privilege.”1
Early in 1910, Mary Baker Eddy was again contacted as one of 250 distinguished Americans who were invited to donate and be designated as “Founders” of the Lincoln Farm Association. (The list included such dignitaries as Mrs. Marshall Field, Mark Twain, and Cardinal James Gibbons.) Eddy sent her contribution towards the monument in May of 1910; however, the park was not completed until after her passing, late in 1911. A short while later the Association donated the property to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which in 1916 gave the park to the federal government, where the site is preserved today as a location where the public can learn more about the life and achievements of Abraham Lincoln.