Samuel Putnam Bancroft

Portrait by Eben F. Comins. Original Longyear Collection.


SAMUEL PUTNAM BANCROFT was in his early twenties when he became a supervisor in his uncle’s shoe factory in Lynn, Massachusetts. He learned about Mary Baker Glover (Eddy) and her new method of healing from Daniel Spofford, one of the men under his supervision. Samuel was intrigued, and in 1870 he became one of Mrs. Glover’s first students. “Putney,” as his teacher called him, attempted the public practice of healing in 1871 and again in 1874 in nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts, advertising as a “Scientific Physician – Gives no medicine.” Family obligations forced him to abandon his practice, however.  In 1875, when the first Christian Science Sunday services were held, Mr. Bancroft led the singing while his wife played the melodeon. He was also one of eight students who contributed a weekly sum to help support Mrs. Glover and pay for the rented hall as she began preaching publicly. Samuel Bancroft was a charter member of the Christian Scientist Association, organized on July 4, 1876, and also of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, which received its charter in January 1881.

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