The Christmas festivities have reduced the amount of time available to add to this blog, but in response to Craig’s reference to Mrs. Eddy’s specific article on Christmas in 1905, I thought this might be of interest. Beyond that, the same year saw the Pleasant View staff pool their normal Christmas gift money for each other and instead use that money for helping the needy of Concord. That will be mentioned as well in this brief post.
The following holograph letter from Mrs. Eddy, dated November 24, 1905, to William A. Johnston, amended her manuscript on Christmas that she had written for the New York World. This letter is on Pleasant View stationery with the McNeil coat-of-arms. It is incorrectly addressed to "Mr. Johnson." The letter asks Johnston to add to the manuscript which she had submitted to the World the following lines:
“Hitherto there is but one Jesus Christ on record. Christ is incorporeal. Neither you nor I in the flesh can be or is Christ.”
Mrs. Eddy's article appeared in the World on December 10, 1905. It was entitled “Christmas as in Christian Science.” The main text was dictated to Gilbert C. Carpenter. It now appears in Miscellany, pp. 259-260. Another letter to Johnston (with correct spelling) is recorded with a date of November 28, 1905. It is in the Parke-Bernet catalog of the collection of Gen. Culver C. Sniffen, with an auction date of December 3, 1963. This second letter adds the article "the" to the above lines. An additional letter is dated December 3, 1905, in which Mrs. Eddy mentions counterfeit letters of hers that are given to the public as being authentic. Here is the original letter, along with a copy of the final text as printed later.
As mentioned above, at Christmas time in 1905, rather than have the household members at Pleasant View distracted by having to purchase presents for each other, Gilbert C. Carpenter suggested that they pool their money and use that money to purchase much needed coal for the poor of Concord, N.H. That suggestion was agreed to by all, and my collection includes the invoice for the coal from the March Coal and Grain Co. and many letters of gratitude from the recipients. The following is an example (with the spelling as it originally appeared):
“Dec. 28th 1905
Dear Mama Eddy,–
We received the Coal that you send us Wednesday and we was very much surprise to have it and we all thank you very much for the coal and the shoes that you gave us at the fair.
We all wish you a merry Christmas.
14 Ferry Street
It is jokingly said today that to give somone a gift of no meaning is to give them a lump of coal for a present, but here is a real example of the gift of coal as a valuable and well-received present. Mrs. Eddy had earlier given out at the Concord Fair shoes for the needy children of the city and the above letter was written by one who also was the recipient of Mrs. Eddy’s earlier gift to the community.