Was Eddy the “person” who followed the Graham system?

August 10, 2020

We are sometimes asked if Mary Baker Eddy was referring to herself in the following statement on page 221 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “I knew a person who when quite a child adopted the Graham system to cure dyspepsia.”1

In the first edition of Science and Health, published in 1875, Eddy made it clear that this was a reference to herself, using the “editorial we”:

…we will add a leaf of experience here, showing how personal sense, or belief of any sort, shuts out harmony and science. When quite a child we adopted the Graham system for dyspepsia, ate only bread and vegetables, and drank water, following this diet for years; we became more dyspeptic, however, and, of course, thought we must diet more rigidly; so we partook of but one meal in twenty-four hours, and this consisted of a thin slice of bread, about three inches square, without water; our physician not allowing us with this ample meal, to wet our parched lips for many hours thereafter ….2

In the third edition of Science and Health, published in 1881, she revised this passage: “…We knew of an individual who adopted ….”3 Here she used feminine pronouns.

In the 1909 edition (the numbering of editions was discontinued after the 418th edition in 1906), Eddy changed the wording, using masculine rather than feminine pronouns. This is the wording found in the current edition of Science and Health.

We do not have any conclusive information as to why Eddy made these changes.

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  1. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Boston: The Christian Science Board of Directors), 221.
  2. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health (Boston: W.F. Brown & Company, 1875), 189–190.
  3. See Eddy, Science and Health, Vol. I (Lynn, Massachusetts: Dr. Asa G. Eddy, 1881), 100–102.