The History of the Cross and Crown Emblem

March 9, 2012

[Updated October 9, 2020]

The Cross and Crown design has long been used by The First Church of Christ, Scientist, as a legally protected trademark.

The design combination of a cross and crown is not, however, unique to Christian Science; both Protestant and Catholic churches have used it. For example, a cross and crown was printed on the cover of the book of church rules in use in the Congregational Church in Concord, New Hampshire. This was probably Mary Baker Eddy’s first encounter with the symbol.

Sign on 12 Borad St. Lynn Mass. with early Cross and Crown: P071

Earliest known use of a Cross and Crown design by Mary Baker Eddy.

In 1875 or 1876, Eddy used a cross and crown on the sign on her home at 12 Broad Street in Lynn, Massachusetts. It said “Mary B. Glover’s Christian Scientists’ Home” and was framed with an image of a cross and crown and an open book. This cross and crown was different, however, from the Cross and Crown seal that would later appear on her books; the crown was above the cross and was not encircled with biblical text.

Eddy first used the Cross and Crown seal on the cover of the third edition of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, issued in 1881. Nothing has been located that explains her reason for choosing this design. The wording of the scriptural passage from Matthew (10:8) is quoted from the Revised Version of the Bible. However, the word demons comes from the marginal notes of the Revised Version, which shows demons as the Greek word for “devils.” Initiated by the Church of England, the New Testament (Revised Version) was published in 1881, a few months before Eddy put the Cross and Crown on the cover of Science and Health.

An 1881 incarnation of the Cross and Crown logo.

A 1881 incarnation of the Cross and Crown logo.

Subsequently it was found that the crown used in the emblem was, in fact, a princely (as opposed to kingly) form known as a coronet, possessing no religious significance when combined with the cross. When this came to light, the coronet was changed to a celestial, or Christian’s, crown in 1908.1 The design was slightly modernized in 1971.

Cross and Crown on cover of 1908 Science and Health

The cross and crown design, with concentric circles and scripture text,
is a design trademark owned by the Christian Science Board of Directors.

The specific Cross and Crown design within the concentric circles, and the associated wording, have been registered by the Christian Science Board of Directors as a trademark. This was first done in 1915, almost five years after Eddy’s passing in December 1910. Although there is no record that this trademark was formally registered in her lifetime, it was certainly recognized as such.

While it is often thought that Eddy felt the design must have a particular placement on the binding of her published books, records indicate no such requirement. It’s interesting to note, for example, that the Cross and Crown appeared on her Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896 and Unity of Good during her lifetime. However, it did not appear on the binding or the title page of the Church Manual until 1916.

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  1. See Archibald McLellan, “The Cross and Crown,” The Christian Science Journal, June 1908, http://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/10or8spczdw?s=t.