From the Papers: Printed form letters

July 20, 2020

Mary Baker Eddy continually received requests for information on studying Christian Science with her.

This letter from Edmund C. Bryant, a dentist in Pittsfield, Maine, is one example. He inquired, “…[H]ow long a time is required to complete the course? What are the terms &c.”

Another letter from Annie Valentine, of Natick, Massachusetts, asked this: “Will you please send any circulars, you may have, which will enlighten me concerning your College; – terms of admission, course of instruction, &c….”

To better respond to numerous inquiries such as these, Eddy sent a printed response. It provided details about the classes she taught at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College—including rates, information about lodging, and expectations for students.

This response to Mary W. Adams was sent in August 1885. That year alone Eddy received more than 850 letters, many requiring an answer. It’s easy to see why printed form letters became essential. Still, Eddy would often write personal notes on them, as is evident at the bottom of the second page.

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