These two books are compilations of material initially published by Gilbert Carpenter and his son, Gilbert Carpenter, Jr. in the late 1930s. The elder Carpenter served as a secretary from April 1905 to April 1906 in Mary Baker Eddy’s household. Over the years the Carpenters collected copies of writings attributed to Eddy and her students as well as anecdotes of her life. The Carpenters started an organization, the Carpenter Foundation, and its purpose was to make the materials they collected available to those they considered “advanced” students of Christian Science. To that end, they published books containing these materials. After the death of both Carpenters, the work of their foundation was carried on by its longtime secretary, Grace Ross.

Richard Oakes, who had distributed some literature of the Carpenters in England, decided to take some of the Carpenter materials and publish them on his own, which resulted in the “red book” and “blue book.” Ross responded by suing Oakes on behalf of the Foundation. The costs of the suit bankrupted the foundation, and in 1973 Ross negotiated with The Mother Church to take its materials.

Because the Carpenters made little effort to weed out the unauthentic pieces from the genuine items, some statements in these books that are attributed to Eddy have proven upon investigation not to be by her at all, while pieces known to be authentic have not been transcribed accurately.

Given the mix of authentic and questionable materials in these books, don’t hesitate to contact the Research and Reference staff if you have a question about a specific piece in either the “red book” or “blue book.”

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