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The Mary Baker Eddy Library ... The Mary Baker Eddy Library Joshua F. Bailey Papers, 1859-1935, n.d.

Mar 13, 2020




  • The Mary Baker Eddy Library Joshua F. Bailey Papers, 1859-1935, n.d.

    a finding aid

    The Mary Baker Eddy Library Archives & Special Collections

    200 Massachusetts Ave. Boston, MA 02115


  • Joshua F. Bailey PapersCollection Title:


    In November 1888 Bailey took his first Primary class with Mary Baker Eddy on the application and practice of Christian Science. He took another Primary class with her in February 1889, followed by Normal Class (to earn accreditation as a teacher of Christian Science) in May of that same year. In his second Primary class, the last Eddy taught, Bailey took notes at her request (see A12065 in the Mary Baker Eddy Collection). He also took notes during the Normal class (A10273). Eddy normally did not permit note-taking in her classes, so these two items furnish rare examples of her teaching.

    In February 1889 Bailey first appeared as a listed Christian Science practitioner in The Christian Science Journal. Eddy appointed Bailey editor of the Journal in February 1889, replacing Sarah Crosse. During this period he wrote a number of articles in praise of Eddy, for which she faulted him for focusing on her personality. One of these, titled “Christian Science and its Revelator,” was an attempt to defend Christian Science against the criticism that it compared Eddy to Jesus. Instead, critics used it as further proof of this false assertion. In November 1890 Sarah J. Clarke replaced Bailey as editor, after he had continued to make similar missteps in his work.

    Eddy also requested Bailey’s assistance in reorganizing the 50th edition of Science and Health. She was, however, unimpressed by his editing work and instead turned to Rev. James Henry Wiggin. Despite these setbacks, Eddy remained confident in Bailey’s spiritual strength, as well as his “sharp discrimination and sound judgement” (L10710).

    After Bailey’s term as editor, he continued working as a teacher and practitioner of Christian Science, remaining in Boston until 1892. That October he became a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (The Mother Church). He then moved to New York City, where he continued his practice (with a brief period spent in Oneonta, New York, in 1897) until his passing in April 1907.


    Fettweis, Yvonne Caché von, and Robert Townsend Warneck. Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer. Amplified Edition. Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 2009. 413. The Mary Baker Eddy Library. “Joshua Bailey, United States Internal Revenue Collector.” Accessed August 8, 2019. https://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/research/joshua-bailey-united-states-internal-revenue-collector/. Peel, Robert. Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Trial. Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1971. 264- 266, 278-279.

    Bailey, Joshua F.--1831-1907

    1859-1935, n.d.

    1 LFExtent:


    Collection Number: LSC024

    Collection Description

    Language: The majority of materials are in English. Some French, Portuguese, and Spanish items present.

    Acquisition Information:

    Purchase, 1935 and donation, 1963.


    Collection is open for research and available to the public during research room hours. Some materials are fragile. Consult archivist before handling.


    Copyright restrictions may apply.

    Processing Information:

    Collection processed by Sarah Schelde, Assistant Archivist, August and September 2019

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item], Joshua F. Bailey Papers, LSC024, The Mary Baker Eddy Library.

    Biographical Note

    Joshua Franklin Bailey (1831–1907) was a dedicated Christian Scientist, student of Mary Baker Eddy, and editor of The Christian Science Journal. However, his life prior to finding Christian Science was full of dramatic and unexpected challenges.

    Bailey was born in 1831, the son of Moyses Clement Bailey and Mary Greeley Bailey. He worked as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools in the late 1850s, before he was appointed in 1861 as a special agent of the United States Treasury Department. In 1865 he became Internal Revenue Service collector for the Fourth Collection District of New York. Part of Bailey’s duties involved collecting taxes from distilleries; this brought him into conflict with the “Whiskey Ring,” a national network of corrupt distillers, government officials, and politicians who engaged in tax fraud surrounding alcohol. This ring framed Bailey for accepting illegal payments, and he was arrested in July 1868. With the help of Secret Service agent Frederick C. Tapley—whom Bailey would later introduce to Christian Science —he was able to prove his innocence.

    Bailey’s period of hardship was just beginning, however. His 1869 appointment as collector for the 32nd District of New York revealed his previous inaccurate accounting, to the tune of $100,000. This prompted him to flee the United States for South America in 1870. He spent the next four years in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, where he met and married Lucie Coutin in 1874. In July 1876, they had a son, Frank Ford Bailey (1876–1931).

    That same year, President Ulysses S. Grant pardoned Bailey, and he was able to return to New York City.

    Sometime after that, Bailey and his family moved to Europe. From about 1878 to 1885, he worked as a representative of Thomas Edison’s telephone and light company. He returned to the United States in March 1886 aboard the SS Oregon, which sank during his voyage. In the winter of 1887–1888 he was introduced to Christian Science by Augusta E. Stetson. He spent 12 hours a day reading through the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which he credited with the healing of an unspecified condition that doctors in Paris had pronounced a “sentence of death.” In his correspondence and memoirs, Bailey claimed Christian Science turned his life around following years of trials at home and abroad.

  • Series I, Correspondence Series II, Personal Papers Series III, Manuscripts

    Series I, Correspondence (1859–1906, n.d.) contains two subseries, General Correspondence and Tapley Correspondence. Both subseries are arranged in chronological order.

    Subseries A, General Correspondence (1859–1906, n.d.) includes both business and personal correspondence. Five letters cover the period of Bailey’s professional life before he became a Christian Scientist. These include three letters recommending Bailey for positions, one draft of a letter he wrote to the captain of a ship he was on in 1870, and one letter written in support of a presidential pardon of Bailey in 1876.

    The majority of the correspondence in this subseries pertains to Bailey’s work in Christian Science, particularly as editor of The Christian Science Journal. These items include letters to Bailey, as well as drafts and copies of letters from Bailey to Eddy. Eddy’s adopted son, Ebenezer J. Foster Eddy, wrote ten letters and two postcards included in this collection. Other correspondents include Julia S. Bartlett, Augusta E. Stetson, William B. Johnson, and Joseph Armstrong. There are also some letters to and from individuals other than Bailey.

    Subseries B, Tapley Correspondence (1892–June 1894) consists of carbon copies of letters written by Bailey to Frederick C. Tapley and his wife, Emma. Mr. Tapley was the Secret Service Agent who assisted Bailey during his troubles with the Whiskey Ring in 1868. Bailey introduced the Tapleys to Christian Science, so many of these letters contain related in-depth lessons and discussions, as well as writings on personal topics.

    Health; newspaper clippings; notes; and the personal papers of Frank F. and Sarah A. Bailey. Folders are arranged by object type, and items within folders are arranged largely in chronological order.

    Agreements include a May 14, 1879 document between Bailey and Samuel S. White, regarding money Bailey owed to White, and a contract about publishing matters dated August 28, 1889, between Bailey and Eddy.

    Certificates in the series include a document from the Legation of the United States in Uruguay, permitting Bailey entry in 1870; an 1873 certificate inducting Bailey into the Freemasons in Argentina; the 1874 Brazilian marriage certificate for Bailey and Lucie Coutin; a second-prize certificate awarded by a polytechnical institute in France in 1887; and Christian Science primary and normal class certificates Bailey received in 1888 and 1889.

    Edited pages of Science and Health, with notations and markings by Bailey, most likely relate to Eddy’s request for his assistance with her work on the 50th edition of the book. There are two notes regarding this project, one from Calvin Frye and one signed Eddy, although most likely not in her handwriting.

    Two newspaper clippings relate to Bailey’s troubles as a collector for the Internal Revenue Service. Notes include Bailey’s “Notes from the Metaphysical College taken at April Lesson”; a four-part series (two by Calvin A. Frye and two by unknown authors) titled “Falsehood” and addressing inaccuracies about Christian Science; additional notes by Bailey on Christian Science topics; and notes written by Bailey regarding control of The Christian Science Journal.

    The personal papers of Frank F. and Sarah A. Bailey include correspondence, some personal and some between the Baileys and representatives of the Christian Science Board of Directors (CSBD). Personal documents include an 1889 Primary class certificate for Frank F. Bailey, an official photostat of his death certificate, a letter of condolence written to Frank Bailey on hi