Mary Baker Eddy’s study and desk at Pleasant View

May 1, 2013

Pleasant View study, 1903. P06313. Thomas E. Marr.

P00038ForWeb

Mary Baker Eddy seated at her desk at Pleasant View, early 1900s. P00055. Calvin A. Frye.

(Updated April 7, 2020)

In June 1892 Mary Baker Eddy moved to Pleasant View, her home in Concord, New Hampshire. In addition to writing and editing her books as first intended, she also received numerous visitors. From this home she managed the growing Church of Christ, Scientist, and the publishing operations she had established.

According to one account, “a room on the second floor was called the Study, and here Mrs. Eddy practically lived. In this she devoted herself to work, and while there, seldom spent an idle moment.1

The desk Eddy used at Pleasant View is made of oak, with brass plate pulls for the drawers. Its maker is unknown.2 Simple in form, it is quite small, measuring just 42 inches by 27 inches, and made in the Arts and Crafts style, also known as American Craftsman. Other furniture in the home is also crafted in this simple style. The Arts and Crafts movement started in England and was popular there from about 1860 to 1910. It spread across Europe and then to the United States, where it gained popularity in the late nineteenth century.3

Eddy's Arts and Crafts style desk

Eddy’s Arts and Crafts style desk. 0.2008.

George Kinter, who worked for Eddy at Pleasant View, remembered this:

Her desk, which stood right by her chair and at her left hand, was a somewhat unique affair,– made to order I believe. It was small, flat-topped, and had the customary paraphernalia; a square desk-pad, a very few books, paper weights, paper cutters, etc., but no ink-well.4

Eddy’s numerous responsibilities rarely gave her enough time to organize her work space. Visitors sometimes made comments about her desk and its appearance. For example in a 1907 interview, reporter William E. Curtis wrote of her “sitting beside a desk covered with correspondence and books.”5 Well aware of the problem, Eddy spoke of it in letters and even had this notice published in The Christian Science Journal:

I hereby state publicly and positively, that until I advertise through these pages, or send special requests to individuals to the contrary of this statement, I shall not receive a call from any one, nor read letters, MSS. etc., which I have not myself first solicited. I advertise this, after waiting over two years for sufficient time of my own to arrange my writing desk, and while having on hand packages of sermons, with request that I examine them, other people’s correspondence to read, heaps of MSS. sent for approval, pyramids of letters requiring immediate answers.6

Eddy had moved to Pleasant View with plans to enjoy a quieter, less busy life. But such a retirement was not in the offing. Busy as ever, she used her study and desk as a central location, working from home throughout the 16 years she lived there.

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  1. Anna B. White Baker, “Happy Memories of Mary Baker Eddy,” n.d., Reminiscence, 6.
  2. Once part of The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s collections, the desk was transferred in 2016 to the Longyear Museum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, to be featured as part of Eddy’s historic homes.
  3. “Society of Arts and Crafts,” The Boston Globe, 14 May 1897, 8.
  4. George H. Kinter, “Autobiographical Sketch of George H. Kinter, C.S.B.,” 1918, Longyear Museum Collection, 58.
  5. “Mrs. Eddy A Marvel In Mental Activity,” Chicago Record-Herald, 19 July 1907, 1.
  6. Mary Baker Eddy, “Take Notice,” The Christian Science Journal, June 1894, 94, http://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/mwhy4vnolc?s=t.