On July 10, 1903, Calvin Frye, Mary Baker Eddy’s longtime assistant, sent a note to William B. Johnson, Clerk of The Mother Church and a member of the Christian Science Board of Directors: “I want to suggest to you a secret which if approved by you and others would I believe give the dear Mother [Mary Baker Eddy] a ray of joy. It is this: July 16 is our Mother’s birthday. Now do you not think the Executive Members would love to present to her at that time an elegant silver ‘Loving Cup’ something like the one Mr. Whitcomb & others presented to the Wonolancet Club in Concord only if possible of a little more elaborate design….”1
Frye’s “secret” relates to the events of June 29, less than two weeks earlier, when a large gathering of Christian Scientists had taken place at Eddy’s home, Pleasant View, in Concord, New Hampshire. Thousands traveled from Boston for the day, most arriving at Concord’s large train station, then located just a little over a mile from Pleasant View. The Wonolancet Club, a local men’s club, offered the use of their clubhouse (quite close to the train station) as a kind of “headquarters” for the crowds, a place to rest and freshen up before walking down the street to hear Eddy speak in the early afternoon. A group of Christian Scientists expressed their gratitude for the assistance in the form of a silver loving cup. Frye had evidently seen the cup and liked it.
Calling upon the Executive Members to contribute to the gift for Eddy was a natural step, for the Executive Members were a group of men and women prominent in the Christian Science movement, and many of them were students and close associates of Eddy. Johnson agreed, and the plans for the loving cup moved forward – very quickly. Executive Member Effie Andrews selected and bought the loving cup in Boston. Eddy was surprised and thrilled by the gift, and clearly treasured it.
This trophy size, Arts and Crafts style loving cup is made of sterling silver and has a hand-hammered surface with a beautifully jeweled rim. The cup is ornamental and is not meant to be used for drinking.
The hallmarks on the bottom of the loving cup tell us it was likely made by W.H. Haseler & Co., Birmingham, England, for Liberty and Company, London, England. Haseler produced the Cymric line for the retailer. The cup is marked on the bottom: L & Co. and Cymric. A date mark on the bottom of the cup indicates it was made 1901-1902.
The form of a loving cup is significant: one definition notes that such cups are designed to be shared, and symbolize “friendship and unity” (see Britannica.com). Eddy caught the symbolism, as she wrote in her thank you to the Executive Members: “The twelve beautiful pearls that crown this cup call to mind the number of our great Master’s first disciples, and the parable of the priceless pearl which purchases our field of labor in exchange for all else.” 2 The inscription reads:
Presented to the REVEREND MARY BAKER EDDY Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, July 16, 1903, the anniversary of her birthday, by the Executive Members of her Church The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, in token of their love and their grateful recognition of her Christian ministry which is reawakening humanity to salvation from sin, sickness, and death as taught by our great Master.
About one month later, another anniversary took place – another occasion for expressing gratitude. Calvin Frye celebrated twenty one years of service as a member of Mary Baker Eddy’s household. Eddy had given Frye $1,000 – about the equivalent of $24,000 today – and the Executive Members gave a different gift: a new desk. He was very pleased! “I was greatly surprised and made happy upon receiving your beautiful gift of a large mahogany roller-top desk and chair. That you all should have so kindly cooperated in this unique manner to commemorate the completion of my twenty-one consecutive years of service as Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy’s private secretary touched me deeply with its fraternal chord of brotherly love and from the depth of my heart I thank you each and all.” 3
Calvin Frye enjoyed his new desk, and would continue to serve Mary Baker Eddy until her passing in December 1910 – over 28 years.