Edward P. Bates, C.S.D.

Portrait by Charles H. Willson. Original Longyear Collection.


EDWARD P. BATES was a businessman from Syracuse, New York. He went to work for the Connecticut state government when he was just 17 years old, and later spent several years at sea before moving to New York to work in a machine shop and study engineering. Edward used what he learned to build marine engines and heating systems, eventually opening up a business with branches in 10 cities. In 1885, after his wife Caroline’s healing through Christian Science treatment of what was expected to be a fatal illness, Mr. Bates investigated the religion for himself, and was entirely healed of a longstanding physical disability. In 1887, he and his wife attended Primary class with Mrs. Eddy. They would both become Christian Science practitioners, and both attended Normal class with Mrs. Eddy as well, although only Edward would become a teacher. In 1889, he was in the last class Mrs. Eddy taught at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. In 1892, he and Caroline were among the original First Members who met at Julia Bartlett’s home at Mrs. Eddy’s request to organize The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in its present form. In 1893, he gave one of the addresses at the Congress of Religions during the Chicago World’s Fair. Mrs. Eddy frequently called on Mr. Bates for assistance, and it was he who at her request had the tower added to her house at 385 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. He was instrumental in obtaining the first India Bible paper for printing Science and Health. (India paper was made in England for printing Bibles and prayer books.) In 1894, the Board of Directors accepted his offer to work with Joseph Armstrong on completing the Original Edifice of The Mother Church, then far behind schedule. This work was successfully finished in December of that year despite many obstacles and difficulties. Mr. Bates and his wife moved to Boston in 1895 so that Edward could serve as President of The Mother Church, an office he filled three times. He also served as a member of the Christian Science Board of Directors, and as a Trustee of The Christian Science Publishing Society.

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