Finding aids | Library Special Collections
The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s Special Collections includes The Mary Baker Eddy Collection, in addition to many other historical files, photographs, art objects, and other artifacts.
Art & Artifact Collection, c. 1830 - Present
The Mary Baker Eddy Library maintains a modest collection of objects 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.
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.
Blanche Partington Correspondence, 1913–1946
Blanche Partington (1866–1951) was a Christian Science practitioner in San Francisco, California, from 1910 to 1951. A student of Francis J. Fluno M.D., C.S.D., she was an active member of Third Church of Christ, Scientist, San Francisco, as well as The First Christian Science Association of Oakland, California. Additionally, Partington served as a Reader for Third Church, San Francisco, between 1912 and 1913. The collection consists primarily of handwritten and typewritten letters Sibyl Wilbur sent to Blanche Partington between the years 1913 and 1946. These document their friendship and discuss Wilbur’s affection and gratitude for Partington, Wilbur’s thoughts on Christian Science and transcendentalism, book recommendations, and Wilbur’s career as a journalist.
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.
Christian Scientist Association Records
The Christian Scientist Association (CSA) was an organization of Mary Baker Eddy’s students. It existed officially between 1876 and 1889. During the formative years of Christian Science as an organized movement and eventual church, the CSA was foundational and fulfilled a number of administrative functions. These included approving the first church organization for Christian Science in 1879 and managing a Reading Room in Boston from 1888 to 1894. The CSA officially dissolved at Eddy’s request in 1889, as part of her reorganization of the Christian Science movement. However it continued to operate as an informal organization with less regular meetings for several more years. The Christian Scientist Association Records consist of correspondence, financial records, meeting and membership records documenting official CSA business, and items relating to work of the CSA not generated in an official capacity.
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.
Effie Andrews Papers, 1895-1919, n.d.
Effie Andrews (1848-1923) was a Christian Science Practitioner; an Executive Member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (The Mother Church); a charter member of Third Church of Christ, Scientist, New York, NY; and a regular member of the Board of Missionaries of The Mother Church. Andrews’s various positions in The Mother Church and branch Christian Science churches are represented through her frequent correspondence with The Christian Science Board of Directors and others. Additional correspondence illustrates the various gifts Andrews gave Eddy either solely or in part, including her role in procuring a loving cup that the Executive Members presented to Eddy in 1903. This collection contains correspondence; notes on lectures and for articles; drafts of writings; a court summons relating to the Woodbury vs. Eddy trial; and a clipping Eddy sent to Andrews of her poem “Flowers.”
Emilie B. Hulin Papers, 1893-1926, n.d.
Emilie B. Hulin (d. 1931) was a Christian Science practitioner and teacher; a First Member of The Mother Church; a member of the Building Committee for the Original Mother Church; and Vice President of the Board of Education (1923). She instructed the Normal Class in December 1925. In particular, Hulin’s papers highlight her role as Normal Class instructor. They also document the relationship between teacher and student; extensive correspondence reveals gratitude for Hulin’s teaching as practical, as well as her ability to motivate and inspire students to teach Christian Science themselves. This collection contains correspondence; notes; a Tenets and Rules booklet; and a notebook documenting Hulin’s work.
Frederica L. and William N. Miller Papers
Frederica L. Miller (c. 1846–1934) and William N. Miller (1838–1913) were Christian Science practitioners and teachers from Toronto, Ontario. Both played a significant role in the growth of Christian Science in London, England. In connection with William’s duties on the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, Mary Baker Eddy sent the Millers to England in 1899. There they helped formalize First Church of Christ, Scientist, London, and helped in the 1905 founding of Third Church of Christ, Scientist, London. Both initially co-taught classes in Christian Science and worked as practitioners until 1904, after which William dedicated himself to the work of Third Church and Frederica continued her work as a practitioner and teacher. The Frederica L. and William N. Miller Papers contain personal and professional correspondence of the Miller family, including letters related to their work in branch churches and with students and patients. The collection also contains various notes, drafts, and writings on Christian Science.
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.
Historic Photographs Collection, circa 1850–1994
This collection contains photographs documenting the life of Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), as well as the foundation and growth of the Christian Science movement through the mid-twentieth century. Photographs taken by members of Eddy’s household staff capture rare behind-the-scenes details of her daily life and work, particularly at her Pleasant View and Chestnut Hill homes. Other historic images document a wide variety of relevant construction projects, including those for The First Church of Christ, Scientist (The Mother Church) and The Christian Science Publishing Society, both in Boston, Massachusetts; First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Concord, New Hampshire; and Eddy’s memorial at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jessie C. H. Gorham Papers
Jessie C. H. Gorham (c.1850–1930) was a Christian Science practitioner who assisted Mary Baker Eddy in editing and publishing Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896. Of Scottish descent, she lived primarily in New York state and resided in Rochester, New York, from about 1875 to 1889 where she was a student of Sarah A. Pine. Gorham moved to Boston in 1889 in order to continue her study of Christian Science. The Jessie C. H. Gorham Papers consists of correspondence; various writings (by Gorham and others); business papers related to Christian Science; financial documents; and some newspaper clippings. Gorham’s letters detail her copy editing work for Eddy, particularly on Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896.
Joshua F. Bailey Papers
Joshua F. Bailey (1831–1907) was a Christian Science practitioner and teacher who served as editor of The Christian Science Journal between February 1889 and November 1890. In his early life, Bailey served as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, a collector for the Internal Revenue Service in New York City, and an agent of Thomas Edison’s telephone and light company in Paris. He became Mary Baker Eddy’s student in November 1888, and at her request took notes at her final Primary and Normal classes. The Joshua F. Bailey Papers document his life before becoming a Christian Scientist; his work for the Journal and as a Christian Science teacher; and the sale to the Christian Science Board of Directors of his letters from Mary Baker Eddy. Copies of correspondence to Frederick C. and Emma Tapley, as well as Bailey’s own manuscripts, illustrate his understanding and explanation of Christian Science topics.
Lottie Allan Correspondence, 1899–1903, 1916, n.d.
Lottie Allan (1866-1926) was a Christian Scientist based in Toronto, Canada. She was a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Toronto, where she served as Second Reader. Allan worked at Pleasant View, Mary Baker Eddy’s home in Concord, New Hampshire from April to October 1902, and again from January to April 1903. The collection consists of handwritten drafts and copies of letters between Allan and Mary Baker Eddy, Calvin A. Frye, and Beth Harmony. These correspondence reflect Allan’s gratitude to Eddy, her questions on Christian Science practice, her reasons for leaving Pleasant View, and confirmations of her service there in 1902 and 1903.
Minnie B. Weygandt Papers
Minnie B. Weygandt (c.1864–1933) was a Christian Scientist who worked as the cook at Pleasant View, Mary Baker Eddy’s Concord, New Hampshire, home, from 1899 to 1907. Weygandt additionally worked in the homes of prominent Christian Scientists Caroline S. and Edward P. Bates, and Mary E. Armstrong. The Minnie B. Weygandt Papers cover Weygandt’s life as a Christian Scientist from the time she joined The Mother Church in 1894 until her death in 1933. Materials document her role as a student of Janet T. Colman, CSB; her charitable donations to Christian Science causes; her relationships with other Christian Scientists; and her interactions with the Christian Science Board of Directors regarding the history of the church movement. The majority of materials in the Weygandt Papers illustrates her role as cook at Pleasant View and includes loose recipes; a scrapbook of recipe clippings; a cookbook by Emma P. Ewing; and a notebook Weygandt used to document meals served to Eddy.
National Christian Scientist Association Records
The National Christian Scientist Association (NCSA) was an organization for students of Christian Science, founded in 1886. Unlike the previously existing Christian Scientist Association (CSA), which was open only to students of Mary Baker Eddy, the NCSA was additionally open to students of Eddy’s students. The NCSA granted charters to local associations, called Students’ Christian Scientist Associations, and held annual meetings that brought together delegates from these local associations. Although it dissolved in 1890 at Eddy’s request, the foundation remained for local associations formed by students of the same Christian Science teacher. The National Christian Scientist Association Records consist of correspondence, charter applications, financial records, meeting records, and membership applications. Some CSA membership applications filed alongside NCSA applications are also present.
Non-CSPS Publications and Serials Collection, 1821–present, n.d.
The Non-CSPS Collection consists of pamphlets, booklets, articles, magazines, journals, newspapers, and other publications not published by The Christian Science Publishing Society (CSPS). The majority of materials relates to Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy, and includes writings by both Christian Scientists and non-church members. Topics range from introductory issues for lay audiences to metaphysics and healing to writings critical of Christian Science. Materials not related to Christian Science cover themes such as general religious topics, social issues, current events, and history, often providing context to Eddy’s life. The bulk of the materials date from 1880 to 2000. Most are in English and were published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand. Materials in other languages (particularly German and French) are also included. The materials are organized by author, title of article, or publication.
Oral History Collection, 2015-Present
The Mary Baker Eddy Library began to record and compile oral histories—sound recordings of interviews with people having personal knowledge of past events—in 2015.
While the Church Archives had occasionally recorded conversations with individuals over the years, the Library began its Oral History Project as a continuing effort to record conversations with people who have witnessed, or participated in, significant events in the history of the Christian Science movement. Additionally, the Library staff has worked to make the project international in scope, interviewing Christian Scientists from all over the world.
The goal of the project is simple—to record history, especially that which is not easily found in documentary-type records. The project is interested in individual accounts of participation in local churches, as well as at the Boston headquarters; healing accounts; insights into church activities; and anything else that an interviewee may deem noteworthy.
Recordings from the Library’s Oral History Project are accessible in its Archives & Special Collections.
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.
Sargent and McDonald Family Collection
Victoria H. Sargent and Laura E. Sargent were sisters, both significantly involved in the early Christian Science movement in the Midwest. They helped establish First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Oconto, Wisconsin. Built in 1886, its edifice was the first structure in the world specifically designed for holding Christian Science services. Laura spent 20 years serving on Mary Baker Eddy’s household staff. Both sisters, as well as Victoria’s daughter Minnie S. McDonald, were in succession custodians of Eddy’s last home in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
This collection contains both printed materials and photographs belonging to the Sargent and McDonald families. Printed materials include books—largely Bibles and Christian Science publications, many of which include inscriptions and notations—as well as postcards depicting locations central to the family. The photographs depict the Sargent and McDonald families (primarily Laura, Victoria, Minnie, and members of Minnie’s extended family); other members of Eddy’s household (including Adam H. Dickey, William and Ella Rathvon, Adelaide Still, and others); and the grounds at Chestnut Hill.
Sid J. Hare Collection
Sid J. Hare (1860–1938) was a landscape architect in Kansas City, Missouri. A Christian Scientist as well as an amateur scholar of biblical prophecy, he believed that The Mother Church Extension fulfilled the prophecy of a temple described in the book of Ezekiel. After overseeing landscape work at Mary Baker Eddy’s residence in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, Hare was granted permission to photograph and study The Mother Church. The Sid J. Hare Collection includes correspondence, maps, and research materials related to his theories on biblical prophecy and The Mother Church. It also includes a significant portion of his personal library on prophecy (particularly biblical prophecy), as well as ancient Egypt and the pyramids. Many of these books contain notes made by Hare and involve his own indexing system.
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
This collection consists of 25 books and three bookmarks from Mary Baker Eddy’s Room in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Original Edifice, created solely for her use. Mrs. Eddy’s Room was a furnished accomodation and study/reception room. It was 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.
Walter S. Cross Papers, 1915–1951, n.d.
Walter S. Cross (1881–1971) was a Christian Science military chaplain during World War I; a First Reader of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Baltimore, Maryland; a member of the Bible Lesson Committee of The First Church of Christ, Scientist; and President of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (1950). The Walter S. Cross Papers span his early years in Christian Science, his wartime service as chaplain, and his postwar life in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. The majority of the materials relate to World War I and include letters and telegrams sent to and from Cross during his service, as well as a scrapbook he made at the Christian Science War Relief Depot in Le Mans, France, in 1919. Additional materials include letters to the editor that Cross wrote in response to Christian Science news coverage and a reminiscence he wrote about his involvement in Christian Science.
William P. and Daisette D. S. McKenzie Papers, 1836–1952
William P. McKenzie (1861–1942) and Daisette D. S. McKenzie (1864–1952) were Christian Science practitioners based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both held various roles in The First Church of Christ, Scientist (TFCCS). William served on the Board of Trustees of the Christian Science Publishing Society from 1898 to 1917; the Christian Science Board of Lectureship from 1898 to 1917; and the Christian Science Board of Directors from 1932 to 1942. He was Editor of the Christian Science religious periodicals from 1917 to 1920 and President of The Mother Church in 1899, 1906, and 1909. He started teaching as early as 1911 and held classes through 1932. Daisette served as a Reader for Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Toronto, Canada, in 1894 and Second Reader for a church in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1896. She wrote articles for the Christian Science religious periodicals and served as President of The Mother Church from 1943 to 1944. After her husband’s election to the Christian Science Board of Directors in 1932, she began teaching Christian Science until her passing in 1952. Although both she and her husband held the designation C.S.B. from their attendance at Eddy’s last class in 1898, the Church Manual allowed only one of them to teach. The collection consists of correspondence, personal papers, and legal records. The papers document the lives of both individuals and their service to TFCCS.