The Mary Baker Eddy Library collections contain letters, manuscripts, photographs, objects, books, periodicals, and other materials.
Our collections are divided into three main areas:
- The Mary Baker Eddy Collection (comprising Eddy’s manuscripts, correspondence, printed materials, scrapbooks, and diaries)
- The Library Special Collections (including The Mary Baker Eddy Collection)
- The Organizational Records of the The First Church of Christ, Scientist (an active and growing body of material documenting many facets and activities of the Church and the Christian Science Publishing Society)
Portions of these collections are digitized and available to patrons on-site, in both of our research rooms.
Online researchers may search our reference collection through the online catalog.
For access to Mary Baker Eddy’s manuscripts, please visit mbepapers.org. This website is constantly adding new content. It currently includes annotated transcriptions and scanned documents from 1872 through 1884.
To assist researchers, our staff has generated the following list of finding aids and guides. These only outline the resources the Library offers.
Mary Baker Eddy Articles, c. 1835-1910*
This collection contains articles and other manuscript material written by Mary Baker Eddy, her secretaries, and others who wrote on her behalf. Specific material in this collection includes two volumes of “The Bible in its Spiritual Meaning” (also known as the Genesis Manuscript); two copybooks of poems and other manuscript material; two volumes of typewritten manuscripts and clippings for The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany; two volumes of an edited typescript for Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896; two volumes of edited proofs for various publications including the Manual of The Mother Church; a volume of various deeds and leases.
Mary Baker Eddy Autographed and Inscribed Books, n.d, 1875-1910
Mary Baker Eddy Book Collection, 1551, 1693-1910
The Mary Baker Eddy Book Collection consists of approximately 450 books from Mary Baker Eddy’s Chestnut Hill home (400 Beacon). Bulk of the books were present in her study before their transfer to the Archives. The collection consists of Bibles, Bible reference books, and other titles by authors Eddy was known to have liked or referenced, books by contemporaries, and books by Eddy. Many of the books contain notations by Eddy and inscriptions from authors of the books to Eddy.
Mary Baker Eddy and Calvin A. Frye Diary Collection, c. 1861-1917*
This collection contains 149 small notebooks written by Calvin A. Frye, Mary Baker Eddy’s personal secretary, with some entries by Mary Baker Eddy. Entries vary in content from “to do” lists, addresses, accounting, grocery lists, prayers (or watches), procedures for various tasks, and other items of note. Many entries contain sections of text in Pitman shorthand.
Mary Baker Eddy Incoming Correspondence, n.d., 1868-1910
This collection consists mainly of letters received by Mary Baker Eddy and members of her household from c. 1880-1910. A small quantity of earlier correspondence also exists in the file. Comments, notations, and responses by her or her staff also appear on some documents. Correspondents include family, students, employees, Christian Scientists, the general public, and a few notable figures such as journalist Arthur Brisbane and suffragist Mary Livermore. There are approximately 6,700 correspondent files, many consisting of one letter. It is likely that her personal secretary, Calvin A. Frye, organized this file with assistance from other secretaries in later years.
Publisher’s Correspondence File, c. 1885-1889
This collection of letters, mainly written to Mary Baker Eddy or Calvin Frye, includes orders for Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and other Christian Science publications. A number of letters contain reports of healing, requests for Christian Science treatment, and inquiries regarding class instruction in Christian Science healing. Letters are generally from her students, booksellers, University Press (Eddy’s printer), and others interested in Christian Science. This collection is part of the Incoming Correspondence File Collection.
Mary Baker Eddy Outgoing Correspondence, c. 1835-1910*
The Outgoing Correspondence file consists of letters written by Mary Baker Eddy, her secretaries, or other household workers. Although a few letters date back to the 1830s, the bulk of correspondence is from the 1880s to 1910. Correspondents include students, friends, business associates, family, employees, and the Christian Science Board of Directors. Topics of correspondence include counsel, instruction, business details, invitations, and thank-you notes.
Mary Baker Eddy Pamphlets and Serial Publications, 1856-1910, 1912
The Mary Baker Eddy Pamphlets and Serial Publications Collection consists of over 600 items from Mary Baker Eddy’s files from her last residence at Chestnut Hill. The collection is made up of pamphlets and serial publications. The pamphlets consist of small leaflets or booklets of the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and additional authors including persons significant to the history of Christian Science (Edward A. Kimball, Bliss Knapp, Septimus J. Hanna, etc.). The serial publications consists of magazines and journals published at regular intervals (weekly, monthly, quarterly) mostly titles published by The Christian Science Publishing Society. Many of the items are annotated or marked as noted in the finding aid.
Mary Baker Eddy and Calvin A. Frye Scrapbooks, c. 1835–1913
This is a collection of 33 scrapbooks containing clippings from magazines and newspapers on subjects ranging from the Civil War to the rights of women, as well as articles on Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science, and the development of the Church of Christ, Scientist. A few books contain published writings or comments by Eddy. Finding aid includes titles of clippings, dates, publication titles, and other detailed information.
Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896
Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896 was first published in 1897. It is comprised of pieces written by Mary Baker Eddy, as well as other writings taken primarily from The Christian Science Journal. This index is intended to help in locating the original articles that are the source for much of Miscellaneous Writings. The information has been sorted chronologically, and also by the page number in which an article appears in Miscellaneous Writings.
Autograph Album Collection
Autograph albums were sentimental keepsakes popular from the 15th century to the mid-19th century. They were frequently used in classroom settings, to collect the signatures of classmates and instructors. The Autograph Album Collection consists of 13 albums. A bulk of the collection consists of albums containing the signatures of students from Eddy’s Primary and Normal classes; sometimes they contain her signature as their instructor. She herself owned only two of the albums (2000.01.02 and 2000.01.12). One of these was a gift from her last Primary Class (taught February 25 to March 5, 1889). The earliest album in the collection (2000.01.12) contains autographs from friends and family, including Eddy’s cousin Henry M. Baker and her sister Martha S. Pillsbury.
Autographed and Inscribed Books, n.d., 1875-1962
The Autographed and Inscribed Books Collection consists of over 100 books with signatures, annotations, or inscriptions. People who were significant in the history of Christian Science either sent or received these books. They include contemporaries of Mary Baker Eddy, such as members of her household staff; people who held positions in The First Church of Christ, Scientist or the Christian Science Publishing Society; those who corresponded with Eddy; and people who worked in the Christian Science movement post-1910.
Calvin Frye Book Collection
This collection was purchased from Oscar H.P. Frye, nephew of Calvin Frye, Mary Baker Eddy’s personal secretary. Book and periodical titles include various Christian Science-related publications, reference books, and Bibles.
Chestnut Hill Books, Pre-1910
The Chestnut Hill Books is a collection of over 600 volumes present at Eddy’s Chestnut Hill residence, at the time of her passing in 1910. Books were located in several rooms of the house. The bulk of this collection includes books from the first-floor library. It consists of Bibles; Bible reference books; general reference books, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias; books on poetry; songbooks; travel books; books about New Hampshire; and other books. See also The Mary Baker Eddy Book Collection for additional books from Chestnut Hill.
Construction photographs of the Christian Science Plaza
This collection contains black-and-white photographs and color slides documenting the construction of the Christian Science Plaza in the 1960s and 1970s. The project involved construction of two new administration buildings, a Sunday School, a new portico entrance to The Mother Church Extension, and a public plaza that included a reflecting pool. The church chose I. M. Pei & Partners and Araldo Cossutta, Associated Architects, to design and construct the buildings. These are prime examples of Brutalism, an architectural style popular in the 1950s and 1960s. The photographs in this collection document all stages of this urban renewal project, which significantly changed the face of Boston.
Georgine Milmine Collection
The Georgine Milmine collection documents research, writing, and correspondence related to a series of articles about Mary Baker Eddy that appeared in McClure’s Magazine from January 1907 to June 1908. The collection also contains material related to the 1909 biography by Georgine Milmine titled The Life of Mary Baker Eddy and the History of Christian Science, which was based on the McClure’s series.
Historic Bible Collection, c. 1530-2007
The Historic Bible Collection began to take form in the 1930s, when a Christian Scientist in England donated a number of rare Bibles to The Mother Church in Boston. The Christian Science Board of Directors’ original criteria for adding to the Bible collection were “editions which indicate steps in the history of mankind or which have been of great benefit or value to a large number of people.” Rather than simply unusual or rare, the Bibles needed to “represent turning points in history.” This collection now numbers 465 volumes. It includes first editions of the Coverdale, Matthew, and King James Bibles, as well as historic Bible reference, devotional, and related books. View a selection of Bibles from this collection.
Objects Collection, c. 1830 - Present
The Mary Baker Eddy Library maintains a modest object collection relating to Mary Baker Eddy and the history of the Christian Science movement. This collection is comprised of artwork and three dimensional objects created by artists, individuals, and other manufacturers not affiliated with The Christian Science Publishing Society or The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, as well as objects produced and/or copyrighted by The Christian Science Publishing Society or The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston.
Photographs, c. 1850-1970*
Approximately 9,000 images of Mary Baker Eddy, and people, places, and events associated with her or the development of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, are included in this collection. Photographs taken by Calvin Frye, Minnie Weygandt, John Salchow, and other household members capture rare behind-the-scenes details of her daily life. Other historic images document a wide variety of subjects, including the building of the structures that form The First Church of Christ, Scientist, headquarters in Boston.
Reminiscence File, c. 1885-present
This collection contains more than 800 largely retrospective accounts. Although it consists mostly of firsthand recollections from men and women who knew Mary Baker Eddy, it also includes contributions from other significant figures in the Christian Science movement who never met her. These reminiscences, written mostly after Eddy’s death in 1910, cover her lifetime, from her childhood in New Hampshire to her final years in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The accounts are both handwritten and typed. Some diaries are included.
Subject File, c. 1800-present
This file contains documents on hundreds of subjects related to Mary Baker Eddy, her church, her achievements, and the men and women who knew and helped her. Arranged alphabetically by topic, the file includes information on the publication and sale of her major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; details on the organizations she founded and led; and biographical and family information.
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Original Edifice, “Mrs. Eddy’s Room” books, 1886-1907
The collection consists of 25 books and three bookmarks placed in “Mrs. Eddy’s Room” in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Original Edifice. “Mrs. Eddy’s Room”—originally referred to as “Mother’s Room” until 1903, when the Church Manual By-Law “The Title of Mother Changed” (now Article XXII, Section 1) was adopted—was a furnished apartment created solely for Mary Baker Eddy’s use.
Committee on Publication Clipping file, c.1899 – 1952
This collection of clippings consists primarily of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles on topics related to Mary Baker Eddy and/or Christian Science. The Committee on Publication of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, collected clippings to track public perception of Christian Science and to examine and respond to false statements about Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science. Items were obtained by a clipping service, by members of local Committees on Publication, and by other Christian Scientists. The collection is indexed and fully processed.
Early Organizational Records, c. 1875-1910
This collection contains 36 books documenting early Christian Science organizations, such as the Church of Christ (Scientist), the Christian Scientist Association, and the General Association of Teachers. They are comprised of membership lists, meeting minutes, and account books. There are also certificates and charters of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. This collection is fully processed.
Field Collection, c. 1890-present
The Field Collection, unlike most of the Organizational Records of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, largely consists of records that have been received from outside organizations. Beginning in the 1930s, branch Churches of Christ, Scientist, have donated histories, photographs, and other records to the collections of The Mother Church in Boston. The kinds of records typically deposited by churches include meeting minutes, membership records; and building-related records (blueprints and photographs) Please note: Not all material has been processed.
Non-CSPS Publication File, c. 1890-present
This collection spans the mid-nineteenth century to the present, and contains material about Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science that was not published by The Christian Science Publishing Society. Items included are pamphlets, magazines, articles, and oversized material. The finding aid is organized by author, title of article or by publication.
Published Lecture Collection, c. 1905-present
This collection spans the early-twentieth century to the present, and contains lectures given by members of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, a Board maintained by The First Church of Christ, Scientist. These lectures were delivered and published in newspapers and periodicals around the world. The collection is organized alphabetically by the author of the lecture; within each entry, lectures are organized by title of lecture, name of publication, and date published.