William Lyman Johnson, C.S.

Portrait from life by Eben F. Comins. Original Longyear Collection.


WILLIAM LYMAN JOHNSON, the son of William B. Johnson, one of the original four Directors of The Mother Church, pitched in as a young man to help augment the family finances. In 1883, his father entered the full-time practice of Christian Science, and the first few years were a time of near poverty for the family. In order to do his part, young Lyman entered the work force at 14, delaying his entrance into Harvard College by several years. During his youth, Lyman was an invaluable help to his father, who was shouldering ever-increasing church activities, and in 1898 the two worked even more closely together when Lyman was appointed an Assistant in the Clerk’s office of The Mother Church. The musical career to which he had aspired became secondary, but several of his compositions were paired with Mrs. Eddy’s poems, and two of them are in the 1932 Christian Science Hymnal. William Lyman Johnson’s firsthand experience and observations during the early years of the Christian Science movement made it possible for him later, at the request of Mary Beecher Longyear, to record original historical data for the Longyear Museum collection.

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