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Mary Baker Eddy

Biography of Mary Baker Eddy, Founder of Christian Science

By Valerie Minard

Dates: July 16, 1821 - December 3, 1910

Occupation: religious leader, religious founder, writer

Known for: founder of Christian Science; author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" and founder of the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper "The Christian Science Monitor"

A user-contributed biography by Valerie Minard. The author worked for the publisher of many of Eddy's works.

Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) -- author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" and founder of the six time Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper "The Christian Science Monitor" -- was born and raised near Concord, New Hampshire, in the United States. Because of restrictions on women's education in nineteenth century America, and because of many bouts of illness, she received much of her education at home, sometimes with the help her brother Albert, a student at Dartmouth College.

Mary Baker Eddy experienced some difficult years as a young woman. She was widowed (and pregnant) six months into her first marriage. Hoping to regain a stable home life for herself and her son, she married again, but her second marriage eventually ended in divorce. In poor health during much of this time, she experimented with allopathic medicine and alternative therapies, particularly with homeopathy. She was seeking an understanding of the relationship between mind and body. Simultaneously, she continued a life-long study of the Bible searching to uncover its promise of spiritual healing.

In 1866, Mary Baker Eddy was healed of a life-threatening accident through spiritual insights gained from the Bible. Over the next few years she studied the Scriptures deeply, looking for a spiritual system behind the healing works of Christ Jesus. She tested what she was learning by healing other people, including some considered medically incurable. She also taught others to heal, using this system she later called: "Christian Science."

In 1875, Mary Baker Eddy published the first edition of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," her major work on the theology and healing system of Christian Science. In 1879, she founded a church in Boston, Massachusetts, and served as its pastor for about ten years. In 1881, she established The Massachusetts Metaphysical College to teach others her system of healing --including doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and homemakers. She started a monthly magazine called "The Christian Science Journal," in 1883, and was its first editor. In 1892 she reorganized the church. Several years later she ordained the Bible and "Science and Health" as its pastor. This opened the way for both women and men to conduct church services, where they read from these books. Today local branch churches, known as Churches of Christ, Scientist, have been opened in over seventy countries around the world.

In 1898, Mary Baker Eddy established a publishing company, and added a weekly magazine to its publications. In 1908, at age 86, she founded "The Christian Science Monitor."

"Science and Health" has been a best seller for over 90 years. It has been translated into 17 languages (including English Braille), and was selected by the Women's National Book Association as one of "75 books by women whose words have changed the world." In just the last five years of the twentieth century, it sold over one million copies.

In 1995, Mary Baker Eddy was recognized for her many achievements and inducted in the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 2002, The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity opened to researchers, scholars, and the public, allowing access to hundreds of thousands of documents and artifacts. It houses one of the largest multi-disciplinary collections by and about an American woman.

a user-contributed biography, written by Valerie Minard, who formerly worked for the publisher of many of Eddy's works

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Bibliography

  • Mary Baker Eddy. "Retrospection and Introspection," The Writings of Mary Baker Eddy, 1920
  • Mary Baker Eddy. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," The Writings of Mary Baker Eddy, Boston, Massachusetts, 2000
  • Gillian Gill. Mary Baker Eddy, Perseus Books, Reading, Massachusetts, 1998

About Mary Baker Eddy

  • Categories: mind/body medicine, religion, religious teacher, founder, author, pastor, publisher, editor, writer
  • Places: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, United States
  • Period: 19th century
  • Religious Associations: Christian Science

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