A Record of Beauty and Color

  • Stacy A. Teicher

As Mary Baker Eddy’s seamstress from 1907 to 1910, Nellie Eveleth made many dresses, wraps, and other clothing with materials ranging from taffeta to velvet. She glued small fabric samples into two books with marbleized covers. Her notes tell what was made from the fabric, along with such details as where and when it was worn, its condition, or its storage location.

Years before Miss Eveleth began making beautiful clothes, she was struck by “the beauty of the truth” in Mrs. Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which she explored after decades of invalidism:

“I began at the beginning, and never shall I forget the beauty of the truth I saw there,” Miss Eveleth wrote in a testimony. “[I]t was logical, every part fitted every other part. After reading a hundred pages I arose from my bed practically well, better than I had ever been in my life, and my joy knew no bounds. Then began the work of demonstrating this truth.”1

By 1900, Miss Eveleth was working as a dressmaker in Boston. After sewing a dress for Mrs. Eddy, she was asked to go to New Hampshire to work for her. She spent her days sewing in maid Adelaide Still’s room at Pleasant View. “Miss Eveleth would choose samples of materials and bring them to Mrs. Eddy to make selections,” Miss Still recalled.2

When the household moved to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, in 1908, secretary William Rathvon noted that Miss Eveleth “has her shop equipped with all the machinery of her trade and uses her Science continually.”3

One such opportunity for prayer was a time when Mrs. Eddy asked her to let out a garment but not make it larger. Miss Eveleth sought guidance from God and “was led to change the location of the dart in question,” an individual who knew her later wrote. “This proved satisfactory.”

The swatch books represent Miss Eveleth’s years of serving her Leader and embodying in her sewing work this statement from Science and Health: “Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color.”


  1. Nellie M. Eveleth, “Testimonies from the Field,” The Christian Science Journal 22 (December 1904): 579-80.
  2. Adelaide Still, “Reminiscences,” 18, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection, The Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, hereafter referenced as MBEL.
  3. William R. Rathvon, “Reminiscences of William R. Rathvon, C.S.B.,” 215, MBEL.
  4. Cordelia Helms, “Information regarding Miss Eveleth,” June 1986, Nellie M. Eveleth Reminiscence File, MBEL.
  5. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 247.