Cunningham’s specialty lies with 19th-century American religious history focusing on women, institutions, money and power—perfect preparation for her PhD dissertation research on the fraught relationship of two charismatic women who rose from poverty to power and wealth: Augusta Stetson, a founding member and leader of the first Christian Science church in New York City, and Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement.View Annotation
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Cunningham provides a thorough introduction to the life of Mary Baker Eddy, theological distinctions of Christian Science, the Church founding, evolution of the Church Manual, more recent developments such as recent legal and financial struggles, the opening of the Mary Baker Eddy Library, and whether Eddy and her followers were feminists.View Annotation