Was Marchette Chute a Christian Scientist?

February 21, 2023

A zoomed in image of Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, focusing on the line, "In the Saxon and twenty other tongues good is the term for God." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 286:16–17)

We are occasionally asked about the twentieth-century author Marchette Gaylord Chute (1909–1994). What, in particular, was her relationship to Christian Science?

Chute was a versatile American writer who published books on a variety of subjects, including several biographies of English literary figures. Her most notable work was Shakespeare of London, issued in 1950.1 

She is probably best known to Christian Scientists for two books: The Search for God (1941) and its sequel The End of the Search (1947).2 Both books are now out of print. 

The first title focuses on the Hebrew Scriptures and their fulfillment by Jesus Christ. The latter centers on the New Testament and concludes with an analysis of the book of Revelation. Both works include Christian Science terms and concepts. 

The End of the Search explicitly and positively refers to Mary Baker Eddy and the religion she founded. Evidently written for general audiences, both books were at one time advertised in The Christian Science Monitor, although neither was published or sold by The Christian Science Publishing Society.

Chute’s paternal grandmother, Mary E. Chute, was a member of The Mother Church (The First Church of Christ, Scientist) and of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Chute grew up. Her parents, William Young Chute and Edith Mary Pickburn, were also Mother Church members, but they withdrew in the early 1920s. 

Marchette Chute had significant intersections with Christian Science, and her books discuss a number of ideas that she believed meshed with its teachings. Nevertheless, in searching our collections we were unable to find any information to document that she ever practiced the religion. Nor did we locate any evidence that she held membership in The Mother Church or one of its branches.3 

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  1. “Obituaries,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11 May 1994, 6B, accessed 1/3/2023:https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/603993202:61843; Marchette Chute’s sisters, Mary Grace (writing as “M.G. Chute”) and Beatrice Joy (writing as “B.J. Chute”) were also published authors.
  2. Marchette Chute, The Search for God (New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1941); Chute, The End of the Search (New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1947). Chute also wrote a biographical treatment of Christ, Jesus of Israel (New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1961).
  3. See ancestry.com: https://www.ancestry.com/search/?name=marchette_chute&event=_minneapolis-hennepin-minnesota-usa_46194&birth=1909&death=1994&count=50&gender=f&name_x=_1&searchType=searchassist-closed