Christian Science collectors have existed to some extent since Mrs. Eddy’s days. I thought it would be interesting to provide a review of catalogs that relate to Mrs. Eddy and Christian Science as far back as 1908:
Rare and Fine Books Including a Portion of the Library of Chas. Belden Van Nostrand. New York: The Anderson Auction Company, 1908.
This is a very scarce book catalog, and it is possibly the first catalog that printed excerpts from unpublished letters of Mrs. Eddy. This catalog includes a significant collection of Christian Science material, pp. 20-24, including excerpts from four unpublished letters of Mary Baker Eddy, all written in 1880. This catalog also gives excerpts on various notes written by Mrs. Eddy which were also for sale.
Also in my collection is the book, American Book-Prices Current, Luther S. Livingston, compiler. (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1908). This book on p. 627 briefly details the sale of the above letters but does not publish excerpts.
Catalogue of the Private Library of the Late Dr. I. T. Talbot of Boston. . . . Boston: C. F. Libbie & Co., 1911.
Extremely rare and very important catalog for an auction planned for February 23 and 24, 1911, just a few months after Mrs. Eddy's passing. This catalog, pp. 38-40, includes some rare Christian Science items, but most importantly it prints excerpts from eight letters which Mrs. Eddy had written to her distant cousin Hattie Baker in 1876.
Shortly after the announcement was made, the law firm of Elder and Whitman, on behalf of Henry M. Baker, the executor of Mrs. Eddy's estate, sought in court to prevent the publication (or further publication) of the letters. Included with the catalog is a 1911 newspaper clipping which discusses the case. On p.  of the catalog, written at the top, is the following note: "Lots 455 to 463 Inclusive withdrawn pending decision of Supreme Court." Also included is another clipping which announces the planned sale of the letters and prints excerpts.
Little is known by me about this important legal case. Richard Oakes in his pamphlet Discerning the Rights of Man (1971), p. 23, wrote the following account evidently based on information supplied to him by Gilbert C. Carpenter, Jr.:
"Shortly after Mrs. Eddy's decease, Messrs. C. F. Libbie & Co., Auctioneers of 597 Washington St., Boston, produced a catalog offering a number of Mrs. Eddy's autograph letters at an auction sale to be held on February 23rd and 24th, 1911. Quotations from these letters were included in the catalogue and the Board of Directors obtained an injunction for the withdrawal of the catalogue and later won their suit against Messrs. Libbie & Co. in which they claimed sole right as Mrs. Eddy's heirs to the publications for sale of any of Mrs. Eddy's writings, letters, etc."
Despite the above, much remains unclear. The above account by Oakes says that the catalog was withdrawn, and yet the above copy says simply that the Mary Baker Eddy items were withdrawn from the auction, whereas handwritten prices are given for all of the rest of the items in the catalog. Later, when excerpts from other letters of Mrs. Eddy were advertised in catalogs (such as the 1915 Heise sale), no apparent effort was made to stop the publication. However, about 1921 the Board of Directors was successful in preventing Horatio Dresser from reprinting Mrs. Eddy's letters to P. P. Quimby in the second edition of his book, The Quimby Manuscripts.
Note: an excerpt of the Baker v. Libbie court decision appears in the Christian Science Sentinel of December 11, 1937.
Autographs of Famous Americans [:] Comprising the Collection of John Heise, Esq., of Syracuse, New York. New York: The American Art Association, 1915.
Item number 144 is a transcribed copy of a letter from Mrs. Eddy to "My precious little artist." Based on collateral information in the Allan Beauchamp material, the addressee is Susan Schenk, and the date is April 13, 1896. The letter reads as follows (based on the above transcript and a review of a copy of the original letter from 1920):
“April 13 
My precious little artist
I have not had the time till now to thank you for the accommodation [,] which I do most heartily. Your tree was a great improvement in the painting. I will have the[?] $30 [?] frame.
with love Mother
Earlier Schenk had painted a picture of the chair that Mrs. Eddy wrote Science and Health in. Here she was evidently working on a picture for her poem, “Feed My Sheep,” which Mrs. Eddy has asked her to work on.
Item number 145 is a letter from Mrs. Eddy to "My dear Student," dated April 17, 1888, regarding Josephine Woodbury's articles in the Christian Science Journal.
Also included in my collection is a copy of the following 1920 catalog from Anderson Galleries: Association Books from the Library of John Greenleaf Whittier. New York: The Anderson Galleries, 1920. -. The auction was set for February 24 and 25, 1920, and of course most of the items related to the library of John Greenleaf Whittier. However, opposite p. 22 is a facsimile of the above 1896 letter to Susan Schenk.
The collection also includes a large number of other catalogs (original and photocopied) that include material by Mrs. Eddy. The following is a partial list of such catalogs (excluding catalogs from the Rare Book Company, Paul Elder in San Francisco, Dawson’s Bookshop, the Frank J. Wilder auction of Annie V. C. Leavitt material in 1930, and the John Howell-Books catalog of 1980—all of which are covered separately):
— First Editions of XIXth Century Authors (which includes among other things the Bret Harte collection sold by Mrs. Bret Harte). New York: American Art Association, 1927. Excerpted page from an American Art Association auction catalog, Sale Number not stated, for dates March 16 and 17, 1927. Item #190 is a copy of the privately printed edition of Mrs. Eddy’s poems, in vellum, in 1910. This copy was number 35.
— First Editions. . . . New York: American Art Association, Inc., 1927. (This is for a sale from many sources, including the libraries of William F. Poole and Russell A. Bowen, May 5 and 6, 1927.) This includes an excellent collection of early editions of Science and Health. It also includes a few other Christian Science books as well.
— Choice Autographs from Goodspeed’s. Boston: Goodspeed’s, 1929. (This is catalog #189, November, 1929.) Item #93, p. 12, is a letter dated 1899 by Mrs. Eddy. It has been identified by the Church History Department (the predecessor to the Mary Baker Eddy Library) as having been written by Mrs. Eddy on February 8, 1899.
— [Excerpted page from an American Art Association – Anderson Galleries auction catalog, Sale Number 3891, for dates February 26 and 27, 1931.] Item #225 is a first edition of Science and Health inscribed by Mrs. Eddy to the husband of her eldest sister, Abigail Tilton, “Alex H. Tilton, From, The ‘Author.’ ” The copy was for many years owned by Charlotte Atkinson, the niece of Alex Tilton.
— [Excerpted page from an unidentified auction catalog for the first session of an auction on March 27, 1934.] Item #56, p. 13, is a first edition of Science and Health . The next item on the same page is a letter purportedly by Mrs. Eddy, dated January 5, 1902. The text seems doubtful.
— Rare Books, Autographs, Americana Stamps and Miniatures. . . . New York: American Art Association, Inc., 1937. (This is for a sale from many sources, April 14 and 15, 1937.) Item #106, p. 53, is the pen used by Mrs. Eddy to write Science and Health, “Length 7 1/4 inches. With gold nib and ivory handle. In a special glass-topped wooden hinged case.” The catalog then gave an account of how a Miss Merrill, about 1900, had given the pen to the then owner, J. L. Henegan, and told how she had given the pen to Mrs. Eddy one Christmas. Several years later she called on her and saw the pen and commented on it. Mrs. Eddy said she had used it constantly in writing Science and Health. Mrs. Eddy gave it back with the reported comment: “. . . you may have the pen, and I hope it will always write to glorify God.” The authentication was signed and notarized in July, 1935.
Note: It it likely that Mrs. Eddy used more than one pen to write the original manuscript for Science and Health. In 1933 Frederick Remington printed facsimile reproductions for his copy of a pen that Mrs. Eddy gave to Daniel Spofford that she said she used to write the book. See the separate listing for that item, under 1933.
— American Literature 1693-1900. . . . Boston: Edward Morrill & Son, 1940. (This is the very first catalog issued by Morrill & Son, which later owned the remnants of the Allan A. Beauchamp collection, which it had purchased from Jack Neiburg.) Item 224, p. 24, lists the extremely rare I.O.O.F. magazine, The Covenant, (August, 1846), which included Mrs. Eddy’s (then Glover) novelette, “Emma Clinton, or a Tale of the Frontier[s].”
— Autograph Letters [,] Manuscripts and Rare Books. . . . New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1941. (This is Part Two of the auction of the entire collection of John Gribbel, January 22, 23, and 24, 1941.) Item 185, p. 49, lists an extraordinary collection of twenty letters by Mary Baker Eddy ranging from April 6, 1882, to January 6, 1904. Also in my collection is Part One of the catalog, which is includes, pp. 55-56, important Samuel Clemens material on Christian Science, including his letters to Frederick W. Peabody.
— Autograph Letters [,] Documents [,] Manuscripts. . . . New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1945. (This is the fourth and final part of the auction of The American Autograph Shop, March 20, 1945.) Item 125, p. 17, lists an A.L.S. from Mrs. Eddy to Adolph Stevenson (which would have been from 1908) along with the original envelope.
— Autograph Letters [,] Manuscripts and Documents. New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1947. (This is the auction of collection of Charles Calmer Hart, February 25, 1947.) Item 74, p. 20, lists an A.L.S. from Mrs. Eddy to Adolph Stevenson (which would have been from 1908) along with the original envelope. This appears to the same letter as was sold above in 1945. The letter refers to Mrs. Eddy objecting to the width of the carriage.
— Important Autograph Letters and Manuscripts . . . . New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1949. (This is the auction of the collection of Mrs. James Gore King, Mrs. Frederick Lowden Wierdsma and other sources, May 3, 1949.) Items 209, p. 40, is a copy of the second edition of Science and Health with the following inscription, “To Mrs. Emerson With respects of the Author, M.B.G.E.” This is believed to be the wife of Ralph Waldo Emerson. This copy is now in my collection.
— Autograph Letters [,] Manuscripts and Documents. New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1950. (This is the auction of collection of Oliver R. Barrett, October 30 and 31, 1950.) Item 341, p. 86, lists an A.L.S. from Mrs. Eddy to “Mrs. Whitney” (actually Abbie Whiting, this original letter is in my collection), dated January 17 . This copy is now in my collection. On the same page, item #342, is an A.N.S. on a leaf advertising the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, dated September 22, 1887, in which Mrs. Eddy invited the bearer to her next class which was to start on October 3, 1887. (Also in my collection is Carl Sandburg’s book, Lincoln Collector, on the incredible Oliver R. Barrett Abraham Lincoln collection.)
— [Excerpted page from The Scribner Book Store catalog, No. 136 (January, 1950).] New York: The Scribner Book Store., 1950. Item #100, p. 20, is a copy of the 1875 first edition of Science and Health, with an autograph note pasted in (inaccurately transcribed as follows): “Many thanks for your dear face in photograph you shall have mine when I get one you can really prize. Put the erata [sic] in the last leaf of the book with mucilage or let me do it for you. Ever yours MBG.” This copy is in my collection, and here is how I have transcribed the note:
Many tender thanks for your dear face in photograph [;] you shall have mine when I get one you can recognize [.] Put the erata [sic] in the last leaf of the book with mucilage or let me do it for you.
Ever yours MBG--
— A Catalog of Books [,] Chiefly First Editions. Melrose, MA: James O’Neill, 1956. Catalog No. 2? (Summer 1956). This is an excerpt only from the catalog, with item #70 the extraordinarily rare broadside produced of Mrs. Eddy response to the claim that Ralph Waldo Emerson was the author of Science and Health. This copy had previously been advertised (in 1954) by Jack Neiburg. The wording of this item is reproduced in My., 304.
— Historical Autographs . . . . New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1958. (This is the auction of the collection of Clendenin J. Ryan, November 5 and 6, 1958.) Item 74, p. 21, lists an undated metaphysical statement from Mrs. Eddy in her handwriting.
— Books First Editions . . . . New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1959. (This is the auction of collection of Dr. Frank L. Pleadwell and others (including important items from the family of Adam H. Dickey), April 28 and 29, 1959.) Items 159 through 179, pp. 27-31, include an important collection of Christian Science material. In addition to many editions of Science and Health as well as other extremely rare Christian Science material, this includes the following autograph material of Mrs. Eddy:
[Item #168:] the 21st edition of Science and Health inscribed by Mrs. Eddy to Mrs. George H. Bradford as follows: “With respects and love from the author.” This was given on October 22, 1886. This copy is in my collection.
[Item #175:] The only inscribed copy ever recorded of Mrs. Eddy’s privately printed work, Poems, which was printed late in 1910 in only 100 copies. The inscription reads: “Mary Baker Eddy to Mr. Adam H. Dickey C.S.B.” Dickey wrote the preface for the book. In 1959 Roy Garrett Watson, the long-time Treasurer of The Mother Church, purchased this book for $240, with the promise that the book would be left to The Mother Church in his will, which it was. I saw the book at Watson’s apartment about 1979. Watson was a pupil of Adam Dickey.
[Item #176:] 89th edition of Miscellaneous Writings by Mrs. Eddy (1909), inscribed as follows: “Mrs. Lillian S. Dickey, C.S.B., Lovingly Yours Mary Baker Eddy. July 9, 1909.” (Note: the “Yours” was recorded as lower case in the 1985 Sang catalog listed below.)
[Item #177:] 1909 edition of Science and Health, inscribed by Mrs. Eddy as follows: “My best gift. M.B. Eddy.” Adam Dickey recorded that this leather-bound copy of Science and Health was given to him on March 25, 1909.
[Item #178:] Ninth edition (1909) of Joseph Armstrong’s book, The Mother Church, inscribed as follows: “To Mr. Adam Dickey. With love. Mary Baker Eddy. Feb. 14, 1910.”
[Item #179:] Helen Young, Scriptural Healing , inscribed as follows: “To Mr. Adam H. Dickey, C.S.B. Mary B.G. Eddy.” (Note: it is perhaps significant that Mrs. Eddy’s inscription in the same book for Calvin Frye wrote: ““To Mr. Calvin A. Frye C.S.D. Affectionately gratefully Mary B.G. Eddy A.D. 1908.” This latter copy is in my collection.)
— Charles Hamilton Autographs, Inc. The Golden Octavo. Catalog 37. New York: Charles Hamilton Autographs, Inc., . This autograph catalog includes two letters from Mrs. Eddy to Archibald McLellan. In first one, item #89, p. 12 (with a partial facsimile of the letter on p. 13), Mrs. Eddy asks McLellan for his help in editing her article for publication. (The letter is dated May 14, 1903.) Price $350. In the second letter, item #90, Mrs. Eddy also asks McLellan for help in spelling and punctuation because she is so busy and harried with other duties. (The letter is dated July 7, 1904.) Price $265.
— American and European Manuscripts . . . . New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1963. (This is the auction of the collection of Gen. Culver C. Sniffen and other sources, December 3, 1963.) Items 58, p. 16, is a letter from Mrs. Eddy to “Mr. [William Andrew] Johnston” (of the New York World), dated November 28, 1905, in which she made slight change to her article, “The Significance of Christmas.” In my collection is a slightly earlier letter to Johnston on the same subject, which is described earlier. Note: in this catalog, #35, p. 10, is an important Samuel Clemens letter, dated April 17, 1903, to Livingston Wright, who claimed that his friend James H. Wiggin had “rewritten” Science and Health.
— [Excerpt from Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc. This is sale #3713, dated January 21, 1975.] New York: Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., 1975. Item 78, is the first copy of Science and Health off the press, specially bound in morocco leather, presented by Mrs. Eddy to Daniel H. Spofford. Included with the book was authenticating material from Daniel H. Spofford to A.A. Beauchamp, dated January 15, 1917. While the expected price was $5,000 to $10,000, no sale was made for unknown reasons.
— Autographs Letters [,] Manuscripts [,] Documents. Newton, MA: The Rendells, [ca. 1978]. Catalog #134. This autograph catalog includes, item #42, p. 24, an inscribed copy of the sixteenth edition of Science and Health (1886): “Your affectionate teacher, the author, 1886.” The recipient is unknown. Price $1,750.
— Catalogue of Valuable Autograph Letters [,] Literary Manuscripts and Historical Documents. London: Sotheby’s, 1978 Volume I. This autograph catalog includes, items 85 and 86, pp.  - 54, two letters by Mrs. Eddy to Mrs. Godfrey Pearse, dated March 5, 1898, and July 16, 1899. The former letter is largely reproduced in My., pp. 214-216 under the heading “The Laborer and His Hire.” This letter was purchased by John Howell-Books. Part of this letter is reproduced in facsimile on p. . The second letter refers to a dream that Pearse had had.
— Autographs & Rare Books [,] First Editions [,] Autographs and Manuscripts. Templeton, MA: Paul C. Richards—Autographs, . This autograph catalog includes, item #132, p. 21, a letter from Mrs. Eddy to Solon A. Carter, State Treasurer for New Hampshire, June 4, 1903, declining an invitation to meet because she is too busy and has already declined an invitation from a major New York newspaper. She commends the local Unitarians for their help. Price $2,500.
— Rare Books XI. San Francisco, CA: Randall House, 1980. This catalog includes, item #115 (unpaginated), a copy of the extraordinarily rare second edition of the music sheet Feed My Sheep , with Mrs. Eddy’s photograph pasted on the cover. That copy is in my collection.
— Collectors’ Auction [:] Auction Sale #203 . Baltimore, MD: Harris Auction Galleries, Inc., 1981. This catalog includes, item #68, the original manuscript of Mrs. Eddy’s poem, “Woman Rights [:] What are They?” This was from late 1852 or early 1853 and was sent to the popular magazine, Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion. This manuscript is in my collection, having been purchased by Jack Birss at this 1981 auction.
— Fine and Rare Books in Many Fields. Newburyport, MA: Hendsey, Inc., . This auction catalog includes, item #177, p. 24, a letter from Mrs. Eddy to her attorney, the New Hampshire Attorney General, Edwin Eastman, dated July 24  along with the inscribed copy of Miscellaneous Writings that she gave to him. Both items are in my collection.
— Fine Printed and Manuscript Americana from the Collection of Mrs. Philip D. Sang. New York: Sotheby’s, 1985. This auction catalog includes, item #39 (unpaginated), an inscribed copy of Miscellaneous Writings (1909): “Mrs. Lillian S. Dickey, C.S.B., Lovingly Yours Mary Baker Eddy. July 9, 1909.” Item #40 is a first edition of Science and Health.
— Early American Literature [,] Medicine & Science [,] Thought, Reform & History. Providence, RI: M&S Rare Books, Inc., [n.d.]. Catalog #67, This catalog includes, item #143, p. 22, a copy of the second edition of Science and Health (second issue of second edition evidently), inscribed by Mrs. Eddy: “Mr. Thomson Respects of the Author.” Price $2,250.
— Americana. Boston: Edward Morrill & Son, Inc., [n.d.]. Item 416, p. 27, is the extraordinarily rare privately printed first pamphlet by Lyman P. Powell on Christian Science, entitled The Anarchy of Christian Science. I picked this catalog up one year and on the flight back to California read through this catalog and called and purchased the item as soon as I could when I returned.
— Autographs Letters [,] Manuscripts and Documents. . . . New York: Kenneth W. Rendell, Inc., [ca. 1988]. This autograph catalog includes, item #29, p. 8, an inscribed diploma for Mrs. G. P. Noyes, April 2, 1885, from the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. Price $2,500.
— Autographs Letters [,] Manuscripts and Documents. . . . New York: The Kenneth W. Rendell Gallery, Inc., [ca. 1989]. This autograph catalog includes, p. 20, an inscribed diploma for Mrs. G. P. Noyes, May 8, 1886, from the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. Price $2,850. Also in my collection is a second catalog from Rendell with the document listed.
Photocopies of Catalogs
In addition to the above, my collection also has photocopies of key pages from the following printed catalogs (as opposed to typewritten holdings of collections, which also appear in my collection):
— Miscellaneous Books [,] First Editions, Including Mark Twain & Walt Whitman [;] Christian Science – Over 200 Items. . . . Boston: Edward Morrill & Son, [n.d.]. Catalog 70. This likely is a listing of many of the books that Allan A. Beauchamp had, since the Morrills purchased the Beauchamp collections from Jack Neiburg. This catalog listed many rare items.
— [Peter Decker catalog “List LL”]. New York: Peter Decker, [ca. 1953]. This has a handwritten note, “Greenley [sic] Christian Science material.” This included several very rare items.
— [Paul Elder catalog]. San Francisco: Paul Elder, [n.d.]. This includes a first edition of Science and Health and a collection of original letters by Mrs. Eddy in 1876 to her distant cousin.
— A Catalog of Scarce and Old Books Relating to Christian Science. Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop, 1922. Catalogue 25 (October, 1922). This includes many scarce items.
— Rare Books in Christian Science. Saugerties, NY: Nathaniel Cowen, . This includes many rare items, including Adam Dickey’s book, Memoirs of Mary Baker Eddy, which was priced at $500. This catalog is not the same as the Cowen “Catalog 3” which also gave only Christian Science material in 1959 and was sold on the online auction site eBay in 2001.
— Christian Science Literature. Madison Lake Co., OH: Clare C. North, 1931. This catalog is an effort to sell the collection amassed for $7,500 if the sale can be made in sixty days. The catalog is dated October 26, 1931.
In addition to the above, my collection also includes some extraordinarily rare typed catalogs of Allan A. Beauchamp. One such list, many pages long, includes an unbelievable collection of early Baker family material.
No. 7 Catalogue of Books on The Great Pyramid [,] Anglo-Israel [,] The Bible [,] Prophecy and Related Subjects. Boston: Beauchamp Publishing Co., [ca. 1923].
This is a catalog of Allan A. Beauchamp’s business of promoting Anglo-Israel and related topics. Beauchamp took over from the inimitable C.A.L. Totten as the chief Anglo-Israel proponent in America.
[Rare Book Company catalog, dated October, 1924.] [New York: Rare Book Company, 1924.]
This scarce catalog was a gift from the later owner of the Rare Book Company, Ralph Geradi, to Jack Birss--who in turn gave it to me in 1993. This catalog contains the first printing of a letter from Mrs. Eddy to her printer Mr. [Edward N.] Pearson, dated January 10 . In the letter she explained that she was withdrawing the publication of Christ and Christmas because students were making a "Golden Calf" of the book.
Interestingly, this early catalog stated that "Early Christian Science Literature is getting very scarce." Nonetheless, the catalog offered twenty letters signed by Mrs. Eddy for $750.
In the history of Christian Science collecting, there have been a limited number of rare book dealers who have specialized in Christian Science material sufficiently to have been a major source of rare material to knowledgeable collectors. Some of those dealers were:
— Allan A. Beauchamp [Massachusetts, varied locations]
— Smith & McCance [Boston]
— Rare Book Company [New York City | Freehold, N.J.]
— Dawson’s [Los Angeles]
— John Howell-Books [San Francisco]
— Paul Elder & Company [San Francisco]
— Jack Neiburg [Boston area]
— Morrill & Son [Boston]
(This does not include such Boston book dealers such as Goodspeed's and Brattle Book Shop that have had Christian Science material over the years.)
In my collection is a bound collection of catalogs from Dawson’s, inscribed by Ernest Dawson in 1932 to an employee of the firm. These catalogs include many rare works on Christian Science, including several original letters by Mrs. Eddy. Perhaps the most important catalog is the one from February, 1931, which attempted to sell the John V. Dittemore collection, as described in the following manner:
"We offer for sale the collection of a former Director of the Mother Church of Boston. We believe this to be the most valuable and most intimate collection of material relating to Mrs. Eddy, that has ever been offered for sale.
Numerous Original signed letters of Mrs. Eddy, Manuscript Genealogy, Calvin Frye's Original Diary, First Editions, Phamplets [sic], Portraits, many manuscripts, books and articles never published.
Each item priced separately. You are welcome to examine these precious memorials of Mrs. Eddy without obligation.
A typed list of the more important items will be mailed on request."
On July 1, 1932, Allan A. Beauchamp wrote to Hermann Zadek of the Rare Book Company, saying:
"A man was in here [in his Boston shop] yesterday and said that the other day he took some stuff in to McCance and McCance said he had a 5000.00 collection of Dittemore on sale. You might skin a bit of cream by coming over if it is unsold."
Zadek wrote to Beauchamp the next day:
"Mr. McCance had the Dittemore items for sale several months and evidently does not seem to have very much success with it. In fact, Mr. Dittemore had shipped all his items to Mr. Dawson who had advertised and had only sold a few of them. After those items were returned Mr. Dittemore made the arrangement with Mr. McCance and I wish both of them good luck."
(The above are from photocopies of the original letters which are in my collection.)
Included with my collection are excerpted mimeographed pages from Dawson’s, ca. 1931, of many of the extraordinary holdings in the Dittemore collection. (The pages do not comprise the complete mimeographed list, unfortunately.) This partial list of some of the extraordinary holdings of the Dittemore collection is otherwise unpublished.
The Christian Science Library of the Late Mrs. Annie V. C. Leavitt, C.S.D., of Buffalo, N.Y., Together With a Few Other Sources, [an auction catalog issued by Frank J. Wilder]. Somerville, MA: Frank J. Wilder, 1930.
This important auction was held on October 15, 1930, just a short distance from The Mother Church. This catalog included a few letters by Mrs. Eddy and many rare books (some inscribed by Mrs. Eddy), pamphlets and assorted other nice items.
The following items listed in this 1930 catalog are now in my collection:
Item #26: Helen Young, Scriptural Healing, inscribed by Mrs. Eddy to Calvin Frye.
Item #166: James Terry White, Captive Memories, with Mrs. Eddy’s Pleasant View calling card tipped in with her handwritten note on it.
Western Americana Including Items Unique and Interesting, [a catalog issued by Paul Elder and Company]. San Francisco: Paul Elder and Company, 1931.
While there are several important catalogs relating to rare Christian Science material, starting with the Wilder auction catalog of 1930 and the John Howell-Books catalog of 1980, interestingly, to my way of thinking, the three dealers that offered in their catalogs the most interesting and otherwise unobtainable Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science material were Paul Elder in San Francisco, Jack Neiburg in Boston, and Allan A. Beauchamp in Winchester, MA and other locations. (It can certainly be argued that Smith & McCance in Boston in the 1920s-1950s and the Rare Book Company in New York City/Freehold, N.J. offered a broader selection of rarities over a several decade period of time, but much of this material never made it to their catalogs.)
This extraordinary catalog includes the following ultra (and legendary) rarities (via John V. Dittemore?):
— Sally Wentworth’s manuscript version of “The Science of Man, or the Principle Which Controls All Phenomena.”
— Manuscript by Mrs. Eddy in her handwriting, “Private Instructions for Healing,” with two additional pages, possibly in Mrs. Eddy’s handwriting, of related subject matter.
— Two letters and a postcard from Mrs. Eddy from the 1870’s of great importance relating to her relationship with and marriage to Asa G. Eddy. One of these letters was listed in the Talbot sale catalog in 1911. (These first three items, collectively, were priced at $17,500.)
— Holograph poem by Mrs. Eddy, “Home on High Rock.” This is possibly the same poem published by Mrs. Eddy (then Patterson) on July 9, 1864, in the Lynn Weekly Reporter, entitled “The High Rock Concert.” This was priced at $1,500.
— Holograph poem by Mrs. Eddy, “Alone with God.” This document was signed by “Mary M.B. Glover” and was inscribed “For M. [Mr?] Geo. H. Allen. From his Teacher, M.M.B.G.” This was priced at $1,500.
— A Bible, dated 1865 from Philadelphia, inscribed by Mrs. Eddy (then Glover) to Geo. H. Allen. This was priced at $1,500.
Included with this catalog is an important letter from Paul Elder to Gilbert C. Carpenter, Jr., November 16, 1931, regarding the contents of this catalog and the availability to Carpenter of such extraordinarily rare material.
Also in my collection are photocopies of pages from other Elder catalogs (obtained by me from the files of John Howell-Books) of other ultra rare material.
[Undated catalog produced by Jack Neiburg, probably in the late 1940s or early to mid-1950s, entitled Phantom Firsts Number 2, which included some ultra rare Christian Science material.]
Extraordinarily rare. Jack Neiburg purchased the estate of Allan A. Beauchamp and had some ultra rare material for sale, including original printed material by Mrs. Eddy that I still have never even seen, such as a separate publication of her Reply to McClure’s Magazine. (This was recorded as having Mrs. Eddy’s facsimile signature at the bottom, with a handwritten note, “To be released for publication on and after Saturday, January 5th, 1907.”) It was priced at $50.00 One example of an item in my collection that came from the Neiburg catalog is the ultra rare broadside printing of Mrs. Eddy’s response to the Literary Digest, in My., 304-305. It was priced at $37.50. The third and final item listed is also in my collection, the broadside produced by Calvin Frye and Arthur T. Buswell in 1885 to respond to the comments of Louisa May Alcott. It was priced at $75.00. (I discussed that broadside in an earlier blog post.)
A Catalogue of Books Relating to Christian Science [:] Including Important Editions and Autographed Copies of Mary Baker Eddy’s Works, [Catalogue 51, produced by John Howell-Books]. San Francisco: John Howell-Books, 1980.
In 1979, Warren R. Howell, owner of John Howell-Books, called me one Sunday evening to say that he was about to purchase a large collection of rare Christian Science material and could I help him catalog and price it. I readily agreed to do so and over a several month period wrote historical descriptions of many of the items in the collection. (The physical description of the books was done by the staff.) While still somewhat of a neophyte in the history of Christian Science books (I wish I knew then what I know now!), I was able to convince Warren Howell to issue the first full catalog on Christian Science (other than the Rare Book Company catalogs) since the Wilder auction in 1930 (with the possible exception of the Cowan catalog of 1959). In return for my work, I was allowed to take the unmatched collection of Mrs. Eddy’s business and calling cards. A shortage of funds kept me from purchasing more items. Despite my interest in buying material, I was as fair as I could be in pricing the material, even though in retrospect I see that some material was significantly underpriced.
The Mark Twain Collection of Nick Karanovich [Auction Catalog of Sotheby’s]. New York: [Sotheby’s], 2003.
This is a great Twain catalog, with a few references to Christian Science, p. 191. One was an inscribed copy of his 1907 book, Christian Science, as well as a presentation copy of Elbert Hubbard’s book, The Man of Sorrows. Both books had holograph notes on Christian Science by Twain.
The Marine Sale London Tuesday 2 December 2003. London: Sotheby’s, 2003
This beautifully produced Sotheby’s catalog includes important items from the Charles Herbert Lightoller family collection of Titanic material. Lightoller, being the highest ranking officer of the Titanic to survive, was also a Christian Scientist. The collection of his material, pp. 82-88 [89?], includes the following letter from Lightoller to his wife while he was still in the United States (where he had been testifying in front of the United States Senate). The “Christian Science-ese” of the letter was not noted by the Sotheby’s cataloger:
I have felt confident that you would know the truth in all ways. I am afraid we shall not be able to catch this ship [the S.S. Lapland, headed for England], but shall have to wait until Thursday – the 'Celtic.' Up to the present I have not yet had time to buy a tooth brush – much less the cash (?). Fondest love my dear one Herbert.
It was a [glorious] demonstration.”
Considering the prestigious standing of Sotheby’s, the proofreading of the catalog was surprisingly atrocious.