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Notes from the Library

From the March 2008 issue of The Christian Science Journal

AFTER A FEW MONTHS ON THE JOB as president of The Mary Baker Eddy Library, I've only begun to understand the value of its collection of documents and objects that illustrate the life of the Discoverer of Christian Science. Literally thousands of letters, plus sermons, scrapbooks, and household records, are available for study in digitized format. In addition, the Library houses a large assortment of items that surrounded Mary Baker Eddy in her everyday life.

As a student of Christian Science, I have developed a connection with Mary Baker Eddy through daily study of her writings—especially her central work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Like many other members of her Church, I have been generally familiar with the facts of her life history. Since working with the collections, however I have felt a much deeper understanding of the "how" of it all—how the events of her life unfolded, how she grew through facing challenges not unlike those her followers face today, and how the distinctive qualities of her character prepared her for the great work she accomplished for humanity. In this respect, she herself wrote: "Millions may know that I am the Founder of Christian Science. I alone know what that means" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 249). The Library collection enables Christian Scientists, scholars, and the general public to gain a practical glimpse of the context within which Mary Baker Eddy made that statement.

Everyone in the Library would like to make its collections better known, so when the Journal's editor, Bill Dawley, invited us to write a monthly feature, we jumped at the chance! I'm offering a short introduction this month to get this ongoing feature started. Later, various voices will join in, perhaps including yours. We'd love to hear your question—question that will direct and shape what we present in upcoming issues. It seems all our staff members have stories or incidents based on the Library collections that are especially close to their hearts. That's one of the gifts we expect to be offering to Journal readers: a sense of how the life of Mary Baker Eddy has touched and taught us lessons in grace, in courage, in persistence, and in a profound humility that leaves all to God.