Life at 400 Beacon Street: Working in Mary Baker Eddy’s Household
Frederick, Heather Vogel. Life at 400 Beacon Street: Working in Mary Baker Eddy’s Household. Boston: Longyear Museum Press, 2018.
Mary Baker Eddy spent her last three years (1908-1910) living in a grand residence at 400 Beacon Street outside of Boston. This well-referenced book with its glossy photos details her life and the lives of her loyal household— “a family of workers brought together for a common purpose: to support the Cause of Christian Science by serving its Leader” (ix). Frederick, who at the time of writing headed up the Longyear Museum’s Research and Publications department, taps into staff diaries and written reminiscences to highlight qualities brought to their tasks, as well as the blessings received, and lessons learned along the way. Frederick also consulted newspaper accounts, local historical societies, Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution to create the historical setting. Each of the twelve chapters provides intimate glimpses into Eddy’s and the domestic and secretarial staff’s daily routines. Frederick also includes a chapter on Eddy as grandmother. Additionally, there are profiles of nearly two dozen individuals who worked closely with Eddy in those “crowning years” (321) as she put the finishing organizational touches on her Christian Science movement near the end of her life, including her long struggles with Augusta Stetson and her founding of The Christian Science Monitor.