Eddy was given a Diploma of Honor on October 23, 1907 by the International Books and Paper Exposition in Paris, France. The Exposition was held from late July to November 1, 1907 at the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, “the show building par excellence of Paris.” Exhibits included displays on paper, printing presses, libraries, even maps and plans.1 The Grand Prize had been given to The Christian Science Publishing Society’s exhibit, which included copies of all the books by Eddy, the Christian Science periodicals, and photographs of leading branch churches in the United States and England. Dr. William H. Tolman, an American who was involved in organizing expositions in both the United States and Europe, was commissioner general of the American section of the Exposition; he recommended that awards be given to the Society and Eddy. The Exposition Jury awarded Eddy with her diploma as the Founder of Christian Science. Dr. Tolman presented the certificate to Eddy at her Pleasant View home in Concord, New Hampshire, December 1, 1907.
Also in October 1907, Eddy was honored with an award from the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (literally, Order of Academic Palms) in Paris, France. Eddy was honored by the French government for “her distinguished literary achievements as discoverer and founder of the belief.”2 The pin was presented to Eddy by a group of her students on January 30, 1908 at her Chestnut Hill home. (Eddy had moved from Pleasant View to Chestnut Hill, MA just a few days earlier.)
The Ordre des Palmes Académiques was created in 1808 by Emperor Napoleon I to honor faculty of the University of Paris. Thus the Palmes were only given to professors or instructors. In 1850 the decorations for the pins were divided into two classes, the Officier de I’Instruction Publique (Golden Palms) and the Officier d’Académie (Silver Palms). By 1866 the scope was widened to honor contributions to French education and culture by anyone, including those outside France, from around the world. In 1955 the Ordre des Palmes was expanded to three grades, and now includes: Commandeur (Commander), Officier (Officer); and Chevalier (Knight). The Officier pin during Eddy’s time consisted of curved overlapping olive and palm branches with a silver finish, suspended from a purple ribbon.
First Church of Christ, Scientist, Concord, NH purchased the pin for Eddy; for at that time it was customary for the pin to be available for purchase; it was not given to the honoree. They purchased a unique and beautifully jeweled pin. They wrote to her:
It is a great joy to us and all your followers that a great nation has recognized you as an author of excellence whose works are of unusual merit.3
Alfred Farlow, Manager of the Office of the Committee on Publication, wrote to Eddy about two clippings from the Sunday papers that announced her receiving the award from the Ordre des Palmes Académiques.
I am enclosing herewith clippings from the Sunday papers, containing our item regarding the honor which the French government has conferred upon you and which is very gratifying indeed to us, not only because you are the founder of Christian Science, but because you personally deserve it.4
These are just two examples of honors that Eddy received, and they illustrate how far-reaching her church, teaching, and publications were.
- “Book and Paper Exposition,” Pulp and Paper Magazine of Canada, May 1907, 95-96.
- The Boston Sunday Globe, December 1, 1907.
- “Mrs. Eddy Recognized by Concord Church,” Christian Science Sentinel, February 8, 1908, http://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/uwd46tndgy?s=t.
- Alfred Farlow to Eddy, 3 December 1907, IC 6f.