Entries

Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology Encyclopedia of World BiographyThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions Further reading

NON JS

Eddy, Mary Baker (1821-1910)

Eddy, Mary Baker (1821-1910)

Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, the organizational center of the Christian Science movement. She was born on July 16, 1821, in Bow, New Hampshire. She grew up a member of the Congregational Church. She married George W. Glover in 1843, but he died suddenly the next year, though not before one child was born. In 1853 she married Daniel Patters. For a while the health problems that had plagued her off and on for many years receded, but they eventually returned. While her husband was away during the Civil War she visited a water cure sanitorium. She then heard about mental healer Phineas Parkhurst Quimby and eventually went to visit him in Maine.

Learning and applying Quimby's ideas about the mind as the key to health, Eddy found some real relief from her health problems, but she also discovered that soon after leaving his presence her symptoms returned. Then in 1866 she slipped and fell on the ice and for three days was largely immobile. During this period she read the Bible, and the truth about healing, that "God is all," the only reality, came to her. As a result, she was healed immediately.

She spent a period developing her new insight and working with individuals. In 1870 she put her ideas in a booklet, The Science of Man, which she used while writing her textbook, Science and Health, which appeared in 1875. By 1876 she had trained enough students as practitioners to warrant organizing the Christian Science Association as a fellowship and professional organization. Three years later she founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, and in 1881 she organized the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in Boston. Her work blossomed, and The Journal of Christian Science was begun in 1883.

The 1880s were a time of expansion, but also of controversy. Eddy was especially upset with students who taught personal variations on her system or separated from her organization and continued to function as practitioners of either Christian Scientists or under other names. One of her most promising students, Emma Curtis Hopkins, left in 1884 and eventually became the founder of what has become known as New Thought. In 1889 Eddy dissolved most of the structures she had founded and in 1892 reorganized her followers under a new church structure headed by herself. The organization was anchored by the First Church of Christ Scientist, the mother church in Boston, of which Eddy was pastor. The mother church chartered local congregations whose leaders had to be members in good standing with the mother church.

In the 1890s a major controversy erupted involving a lawsuit charging that Eddy had simply plagiarized the work of Phineas Quimby. The suit was settled in her favor, but unfortunately Quimby's mostly unpublished papers were not available in court, and Annetta and Julius Dresser, both former Quimby students, and their son Horatio Dresser perpetuated the idea that Eddy would have lost had the material been available.

Eddy's church had spread to every section of United States and Canada by the time of her death on December 3, 1910. She left behind a church manual, published in 1908, to guide the administration of the organization, which is now headed by a self-perpetuating board of directors.

Sources:

Beasley, Norman. The Cross and the Crown. Boston: Little, Brown, 1952.

Eddy, Mary Baker. Church Manual of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. Boston: Trustees Under the Will of Mary Baker Eddy, 1908.

. Poetical Works. Boston: Trustees Under the Will of Mary Baker Eddy, 1936.

. Prose Works. Boston: Trustees Under the Will of Mary Baker Eddy, 1925.

. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Boston: Trustees Under the Will of Mary Baker Eddy, 1906.

Peel, Robert. Mary Baker Eddy. 3 vols. New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1971.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eddy, Mary Baker (1821-1910)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Eddy, Mary Baker (1821-1910)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3403801509.html

"Eddy, Mary Baker (1821-1910)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 2001. Retrieved July 24, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3403801509.html

Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy

The American founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) showed a unique understanding of the relationship between religion and health, which resulted in one of the era's most influential religious books, "Science and Health."

Mary Baker was born July 16, 1821, at Bow, N.H. A delicate and nervous temperament led to long periods of sickness in her early years, and chronic ill health made her weak and infirm during much of her adult life. In 1843 she married George Washington Glover, but he soon died and she returned home, where she had her only child. She married Daniel Patterson, a traveling dentist, in 1853; however, his frequent trips and her invalidism led to a separation by 1866 and a divorce several years later. In 1877 she married Asa Gilbert Eddy.

In her quest for health, she had visited Dr. Phineas P. Quimby of Portland, Maine, in 1862, and found that his nonmedical principles cured her. She absorbed his system and became a disciple. In 1866 she claimed to have been completely cured of injuries suffered in a fall by what she called "Christian science." By 1870 she was teaching her new-found science in collaboration with practitioners who did the healing. Her key ideas were published in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875).

This book and Mary Baker Eddy's forceful personality attracted numerous followers, and on Aug. 23, 1879, the Church of Christ, Scientist, was chartered. Asa Eddy helped organize the movement. Mrs. Eddy chartered the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in 1881, where she taught her beliefs. Asa Eddy died in 1882, and the next year Mrs. Eddy began to publish the Journal of Christian Science.

Her fame spread, support grew, and Mrs. Eddy became wealthy. But dissensions divided the Church, and in 1889 "Mother Eddy" moved to Concord, N.H., apparently withdrawing from leadership. In seclusion, however, she restructured the Church organization: the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston was established on Sept. 23, 1892, as the mother church. Mrs. Eddy was its head, and all other churches were subject to its jurisdiction. Though internal quarrels diminished, they continued to the end of her life. Partly to guarantee a trustworthy newspaper for the movement, Mrs. Eddy began publishing the Christian Science Monitor in 1908. That year she moved to Chestnut Hill near Boston, where she died on Dec. 3, 1910.

Further Reading

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875 and later editions) is the most important of Mrs. Eddy's writings. Sibyl Wilbur, The Life of Mary Baker Eddy (1908), is the laudatory official biography. A friendly but more scholarly study is Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy (2 vols., 1966-1971). Critical accounts are Edwin F. Dakin, Mrs. Eddy: The Biography of a Virginal Mind (1929), and Ernest S. Bates and John V. Dittemore, Mary Baker Eddy: The Truth and the Tradition (1932). □

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mary Baker Eddy." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mary Baker Eddy." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404701944.html

"Mary Baker Eddy." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Retrieved July 24, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404701944.html

Eddy, Mary Baker

Mary Baker Eddy, 1821–1910, founder of the Christian Science movement, b. Bow, N.H. As physical frailty prevented her regular school attendance, she spent the early part of her education learning at home from her brother Albert Baker. She later attended Holmes Academy at Plymouth and Sanbornton Academy. At a young age she published poetry and prose in periodicals. Widowed six months after her marriage to George W. Glover and responsible for their child (also named George W. Glover), she spent nine years among relatives, teaching at times and often in ill health. Married in 1853 to Daniel Patterson, a dentist, she lived in the country for some time, and later moved to Lynn, Mass. Having heard of the success in mental healing of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, she went in 1862 to Portland, Maine. She received benefit from his treatment and became his pupil, but began to harbor doubts about Quimby's concept of mind as spiritual matter and his hostility to religion. In 1866 she separated from her husband; she later (1873) obtained a divorce. The year 1866 marks the actual beginning of Christian Science as she apprehended it. In the ensuing years, she refined the doctrine and plans for her new church. In 1875, she published the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health (later Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures). She remarried for the last time in 1877, to Asa Gilbert Eddy, an active Christian Scientist. She founded the Journal of Christian Science in 1883, and edited the periodical for some time. As leader of the Christian Science movement, Mary Baker Eddy herself planned the Church Manual for the conduct of the Church of Christ, Scientist, and directed every detail in its upbuilding. She lived in Boston for seven years, from 1882, then near Concord, N.H., until 1908, when she made her home in Chestnut Hill, near Boston. As pastor emeritus of the Mother Church in Boston and head of the whole church with all its branches, she exercised a strong influence, even in the retirement of her later years. In 1908, she founded the Christian Science Monitor, a daily newspaper. Her writings include Retrospection and Introspection (1891), Miscellaneous Writings (1896), and Messages to the Mother Church (1900, 1901, 1902).

See biographies by S. Wilbur (1929 ed.), R. Peel (3 vol., 1966–77), and J. Silberger (1980).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eddy, Mary Baker." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Eddy, Mary Baker." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Eddy-Mar.html

"Eddy, Mary Baker." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Eddy-Mar.html

Eddy, Mary Baker

Eddy, Mary Baker (1821–1910). Founder of the Christian Science Movement. In 1875, she published Science and Health …, and in 1879, she founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. The movement eventually (1891) became the First Church of Christ, Scientist. She started the publication of The Christian Science Monitor in 1908.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

JOHN BOWKER. "Eddy, Mary Baker." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. 1997. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

JOHN BOWKER. "Eddy, Mary Baker." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. 1997. Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O101-EddyMaryBaker.html

JOHN BOWKER. "Eddy, Mary Baker." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. 1997. Retrieved July 24, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O101-EddyMaryBaker.html

Eddy, Mary Baker

Eddy, Mary Baker (1821–1910) US founder of Christian Science (1879). She claimed to have rediscovered the secret of primitive Christian healing after an instantaneous recovery from serious injury. She expounded her system in Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures (1875).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eddy, Mary Baker." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Eddy, Mary Baker." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O142-EddyMaryBaker.html

"Eddy, Mary Baker." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Retrieved July 24, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O142-EddyMaryBaker.html

Facts and information from other sites