Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy books and biography


Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy (born Mary Morse Baker July 16, 1821 - December 3, 1910) founded the Church of Christ, Scientist in 1879 and was the author of its fundamental doctrinal textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She took the name Mary Baker Glover from her first marriage and was also known as Mary Baker Glover Eddy or Mary Baker G. Eddy from her third marriage.



Mary Baker Eddy, the youngest of the six children of Abigail and Mark Baker was born in Bow, New Hampshire. [1] Although she was raised a Congregationalist, she rejected teachings such as predestination. She suffered chronic illness and developed a strong interest in the biblical accounts of early Christian healing. On December 10, 1843, she married George Washington Glover. He died on June 27, 1844, a little over two months before the birth of their only child, George Washington Glover, Jr. Eddy married Dr. Daniel Patterson, a dentist, on June 21, 1853. In the 1850s and 1860s she explored homeopathy and other alternative healing methods popular in the United States at that time.

In October 1862 she became a patient of Phineas Quimby, a magnetic healer from Maine. Eddy was benefited temporarily by his treatment, and was influenced by his beliefs concerning the nature of illness. The extent of Quimby's influence on Eddy has been one of the most disputed aspects of her life. Quimby died in January 1866. Eddy divorced Patterson in 1873 for adultery that he readily admitted. In 1877 she married Asa Gilbert Eddy, who died in 1882.

After a severe injury sustained in Lynn, Massachusetts in February 1866, Eddy turned to the Bible and experiencd a sudden abatement of her symptoms. She devoted the next three years of her life to biblical study and the development of Christian Science. Convinced that illness was an illusion that could be healed through a clearer perception of God, she began teaching her theory of healing to others. She felt that she had discovered a positive rule or Principle of healing in a new understanding of God as divine Principle and infinite Spirit beyond the limitations of the material sense of reality she termed error. Christian Science, as a theological and metaphysical system, was essentially different from Quimby's beliefs and practices.

Foundation and building of her church

Eddy set forth her understanding of this discovery in a book entitled "Science and Health" (years later retitled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures), which she called the textbook of Christian Science, and which she published in its first edition of one thousand copies in 1875, writing therein, "In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science" (page 107).

Eddy would devote the remaining years of her life to the establishment of her church, authoring its governing bylaws, "The Manual of the Mother Church," and revising "Science and Health." While Eddy was a highly controversial religious leader, author, and lecturer, thousands of people flocked to her teachings and found healing. She built her church on the strength of this healing work by both herself as well as approximately 800 students that she taught at her Massachusetts Metaphysical College in Boston, Massachusetts between the years 1882 and 1889. These students spread across the country practicing healing by her teachings. Through the auspices of her church, she would authorize these students to list themselves as Christian Science Practitioners in her church's official monthly organ, the Christian Science Journal.

In 1908, at the age of 87, Eddy founded The Christian Science Monitor, a daily newspaper devoted to objectivity and balanced reporting. She also founded the Christian Science Journal in 1883, a monthly magazine focused chiefly on the church audience; the Christian Science Sentinel in 1898, a weekly religious periodical written for a more general public audience, and the Herald of Christian Science, a religious magazine with editions in non-English languages, for children, and in English-Braille. She died December 3, 1910.

In 1921, on the 100th anniversary of Eddy's birth, a 100-ton, eleven-foot granite pyramid was dedicated on the site of her birthplace in Bow, New Hampshire. A gift from the Freemasons, it was later dynamited by order of the church's board of directors. As with Eddy's home in Pleasant View, which was also demolished, the board feared that it was becoming a place of pilgrimage. Although Eddy cultivated personal praise in her lifetime for various reasons, including for publicity and fund raising, Christian Science theology shuns both the cult of personality and religious reliquaries.


  • A well footnoted (scholarly) biography which eventually became the church-authorized biography of Eddy is Robert Peel's trilogy Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Trial, and Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority. (1966-1971)
  • A more recent single volume is another church-authorized but controversial 1999 work by a non-Christian Scientist, Gillian Gill (ISBN 0-7382-0227-4), which includes review of the numerous other biographies over the years.
  • See also Stephen Gottschalk, Rolling Away the Stone, Mary Baker Eddy's Challenge to Materialism, (ISBN 0-253-34673-8) for a new account of her founding the church and relations to critics such as Mark Twain. (Indiana University Press: 2006)
  • Mary Baker Eddy, Speaking for Herself (ISBN 0-87952-275-5)
  • Willa Cather and Georgine Milmine The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science (1993) began as a famous Muckraking magazine series 1907-08 and highly critical book in 1909.
  • Doris and Moris Grekel also wrote three-part non church-authorized biography on Eddy, The Discovery of the Science of Man: (1821-1888), (ISBN 1-893107-23-X), The Founding of Christian Science: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy 1888-1900, (ISBN 1-893107-24-8), and The Forever Leader: (1901-1910) (ISBN 0-9645803-8-1). This biography was aimed at serious students of Christian Science as opposed to the general public.
  • Former Church treasurer and clerk, John V. Dittemore teamed up with Ernest Sutherland Bates, in 1932, to write a unfavorable biography, Mary Baker Eddy - The Truth and the Tradition. Most of the prose was written by Bates and Dittemore would later distance himself from the book as it was highly opinionated and contained factual and historical inaccuracies. It has some genuinely distinct information including a list of Eddy's students taught at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College.
  • The famous novelist Stefan Zweig wrote a biography Mary Baker Eddy
  • Dakin, Edwin Franden (1929). Mrs. Eddy: The Biography of a Virginal Mind. London: Charles Scribner's Sons, 558.


  • Science And Health, With Key To The Scriptures - 1875, revised through 1910
  • Miscellaneous Writings
  • Retrospection and Introspection
  • Unity of Good
  • Pulpit and Press
  • Rudimental Divine Science
  • No and Yes
  • Christian Science versus Pantheism
  • Message to The Mother Church, 1900
  • Message to The Mother Church, 1901
  • Message to The Mother Church, 1902
  • Christian Healing
  • The People's Idea of God
  • The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany
  • The Manual of The Mother Church


  1. ^ Longyear Historical Foundation - Short Biographical Sketch on Mary Baker Eddy. Retrieved on 2006-05-30.

See also

  • Mary Baker Eddy Historic House
  • Massachusetts Metaphysical College with a complete list of students of Eddy
  • Septimus J. Hanna student of Eddy and vice-president of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College
  • William R. Rathvon student of Eddy, early Christian Scientist and lone person to leave an audio recording of his hearing Lincoln's Gettysburg Address at the age of nine.
  • Bliss Knapp childhood friend of Eddy's whose father was one of the first Directors of Eddy's church. Bliss was a somewhat controversial Christian Scientist.

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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