Mrs. Eddy as I Knew Her: Being Some Contemporary Portraits of Mary Baker Eddy, The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
Studdert-Kennedy, Hugh A. Mrs. Eddy as I Knew Her: Being Some Contemporary Portraits of Mary Baker Eddy, The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. San Francisco: Self, 1933.
The value of Studdert-Kennedy’s work for researchers in the 21st century lies in the fact that it offers a rare depiction of Eddy shortly after her death that is neither hagiographic nor polemic. Although he claims that “this is not a defense of Mrs. Eddy,” because “she herself made what defense was necessary twenty-five years ago [early 20th century]” (84), he critiques Eddy’s opponents. He argues that so-called biographers of the period were no longer writing historical accounts of people, but were persuaded by Freud to write psychoanalyses instead. “Armed with psychoanalysis, he [the so-called biographer] was no longer dependent on facts. If facts did not agree with his interpretation so much the worse for facts” (4). The pretense for psychoanalysis merely licensed biographers to lash out at will, so that “where Dakin chastises with whips, he [Bates] chastises with scorpions” (27). Studdert-Kennedy demonstrates this phenomenon through the works of Dakin, H.A.L. Fisher, Springer and Bates and their coverage of the ‘Next Friends’ Suit—a trial that ultimately fully vindicated Mary Baker Eddy. He also contrasts their hearsay knowledge against those who actually met Eddy in person, such as Brisbane, Clara Barton, and Hamilton, who—after their respective interviews—admired her.