Why does the Library refer to Mary Baker Eddy as “Eddy”?
We are sometimes asked about how we reference Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and established The Church of Christ, Scientist. Some people feel that it shows disrespect not to always include the honorific “Mrs.” where her full name is not used in our website content and programming.
Our style is always to reference Mary Baker Eddy’s full name when it first appears in articles, podcasts, and other content. After this, we sometimes refer to her as “Mrs. Eddy.” Subsequently we normally use “Eddy,” which is in line with current usage for public figures.
Some people ask why we don’t use “Mrs. Eddy” consistently and altogether reject “Eddy.” Our purpose in using the latter, more contemporary reference is to convey her unquestionable significance today, as a thinker, author, leader, and healer. The Mary Baker Eddy Library is uniquely positioned to interact with the general public, scholars, and Christian Scientists—and we strive to use language that makes our namesake as accessible to these audiences as possible, without sacrificing appreciation for her unique place in religion and history.
Of course, to Christian Scientists Mary Baker Eddy is not only a public figure. She is the Discoverer, Founder, and Leader of their religion. They feel an understandable reverence for her accomplishments. In this, can we embrace the breadth of her appeal? She stated, “I know that my mission is for all the earth, not alone for my dear devoted followers in Christian Science.”1
Some have felt that referring to Mary Baker Eddy as “Eddy” diminishes her womanhood. On the contrary, this usage is intended to identify her with other women and men of note, and to give the public a frame of reference in which to locate her. It points to her enduring importance and can open the way to a deeper appreciation of what it meant for her to have established Christian Science at a time when women had few rights or opportunities. She stands as an eminent woman for all time.
Truly, there are dimensions of Mary Baker Eddy’s unique experience that cannot be captured by the conventions of language, however carefully considered. “Millions may know that I am the Founder of Christian Science,” she wrote. “I alone know what that means.”2
- This is from an interview between Eddy and W. T. MacIntyre, a reporter for the New York American. The interview was published in the 26 August 1907 issue of the American and reprinted in the Christian Science Sentinel of 31 August 1907: https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/1fvr0xl7ss4?s=copylink
- Mary Baker Eddy, “The Christian Science Board of Lectureship,” The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany (Boston: The Christian Science Board of Directors), 249.