January 20, 2010
When Longyear Museum undertook to put together the most complete picture possible of the Baker family homestead at Bow, New Hampshire, where Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, spent her early years, it confronted a major challenge: Most of the house had been moved from its original site about 1907 and a few years later was destroyed by fire. All that remained were the house's foundation, references in Baker family letters and diaries, archived historical records, a photograph of the house and outbuildings taken many years after the family had moved away, and an artistic rendering by a cousin of Mrs. Eddy, also done after the fact.
In 1910 Mary Beecher Longyear took photographs of what was left of the main house structure after it had been moved and had fallen into disrepair. These photographs proved invaluable in confirming specific details of the house - floor plans, construction techniques, and general estimates of its size. Experts were consulted regarding architectural descriptions and terminology. Artifacts and documents in Longyear Museum's Baker family collection filled in further gaps.
The following article was originally produced in the 1960s, as a result of this research. It is a blend of historical fact and informed narrative that brings the subject alive at a time far removed from that of Mrs. Eddy's grandparents, parents, and siblings. We feel it has relevance and merit today, and hope you will enjoy it.
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