Picnic at Point of Pines

February 1, 2018

Birds-eye map showing Point of Pines, c. 1881. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

On July 16, 1885, a group of Mary Baker Eddy’s students hosted an outing for friends and family. The Christian Scientist Association, as it was known, wanted to celebrate the ninth anniversary of its July 4, 1876, formation. Members billed this event as a “pleasure excursion.”1

This picnic event was held at the Point of Pines, a beach resort in Revere, Massachusetts, located a few miles northeast of Boston and easily accessible by train. The 200-acre beachfront property was developed in 1881 with picnic grounds, a roller skating rink, a dancing pavilion, a racetrack, and a roller coaster. Offerings included boating and daily bandstand concerts. The grounds were lit with electric light at night.

After several hours of socializing and a light meal, attendees heard speeches from Association members, including a talk by Mrs. Eddy. The Christian Science Journal reported that she “gave to the assembled company the spiritual interpretation of the sea, with its ever-changing expressions of beauty and grandeur; and as the lesson fell from her lips, each student realized more fully than ever before her power of translating the Scriptures into their original language, viz., that of mind.”2 Some of the friends who joined the group also spoke, including Addison D. Crabtre, M.D. (often misspelled “Crabtree”), who had authored a chronology of Jesus’ life that Eddy appreciated. Crabtre reported his surprise that “not one” of the Christian Scientists at the picnic “regaled her or his neighbor with the usual encyclopædia of the ‘ills to which human flesh is heir.’”3 Other speakers included William Kellaway, printer of The Christian Science Journal in the 1880s.

Our collection houses two photographs taken at this picnic. The first shows 37 of Eddy’s students sitting on a large staircase, which appears to be the main entrance to the Pines hotel. This picture shows the largest group of Eddy’s students sitting for a single photograph.

Photograph of the Christian Scientist Association at the Point of Pines picnic.

Photograph of the Christian Scientist Association at the Point of Pines picnic. (From left to right.) Top row: James Ackland, Dr. Edward N. Harris, Luther Marston, Josephine Woodbury; Second row from top: Rev. J. W. Winkley, unknown, Hanover P. Smith, Arthur T. Buswell, unknown, Elizabeth S. Bangs, Calvin A. Frye, unknown, Harriet D. Jones; Third row from top: John M. C. Murphy, unknown, Augusta Stetson, Sarah D. Howe, Janet Colman, John A. Linfield, Sarah F. Linfield; Fourth row from top: William Bertram, William H. Bradley, Melissa J. Smith, Sadie I. Bertram, Susan S. Crocker, Susie Lang, Alfred Lang, Mary J. Tucker, William B. Johnson; Bottom row: Joseph S. Eastaman, Mary A. Gersham, Emma Hopkins, Julia S. Bartlett, Mary W. Munroe, S. Rowena Smith, Mary Eastaman. July 16, 1885, P04933, Courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Library.

The second photograph includes the same Association members, along with additional friends, children, and spouses. Although Eddy was present, she did not sit for either photograph.

Photograph at the Point of Pines picnic, July 16, 1885

Photograph at the Point of Pines picnic, July 16, 1885, P04934, Courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Library.

Before the day finished, the Association members adopted three resolutions, the last of which expressed gratitude “to our courteous hosts, who have combined for man’s enjoyment such natural and artificial delights as the ‘Point of Pines’ offers.”4

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  1. Christian Scientist Association, meeting minutes, Vol. 2, 1 July 1885, EOR11; Christian Scientist Association, record book, Vol. 1, n.d., EOR10, 1.
  2. “The Christian Scientists’ Celebration,” The Christian Science Journal, August 1885, 96-97,  https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/2dx3xjojyms?s=t.
  3. Addison Crabtree, “Who healeth all their diseases?,” The Christian Science Journal, August 1885, 98, https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/28zvgpu66wo?s=t.
  4. The Christian Scientists’ Celebration,” The Christian Science Journal, August 1885, 96-97, https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/2dx3xjojyms?s=t.