A Story Untold: A History of the Quimby-Eddy Debate

The debate over whether Mary Baker Eddy derived her later Christian Science from what she learned during her time as a patient of Phineas P. Quimby, which is referred to here as the Quimby-Eddy debate, has effectively been in the public eye since 1883.

This is the first academic study of that debate, but this work goes well beyond just a look at the debate. It includes the first in-depth biographical treatment of Quimby, long considered by many to be the father of the New Thought movement. It also includes a detailed examination of many of the controversial biographical questions that have been raised by critics of Eddy and Christian Science and historians about her life.

This is Volume One, and it technically ends at the death of Quimby on January 16, 1866; nonetheless it necessarily brings into that discussion many later events and issues. The intent is to eventually produce a Volume Two, which will cover the time period from 1866 to present.

In addition to its focus on Quimby and Eddy, the book also in Chapter Six covers the early life of Warren Felt Evans, with the later portion of his life included in Chapter Seven.

All too often the mid-nineteenth century history of mental healing in America has focused solely on Quimby, Eddy, and Evans, but that is too myopic a view. Chapter Three looks extensively at the life of internationally-known healer of that day, J. R. Newton, along with some other lesser known healers. This helps provide a broader context to that discussion.

The book helps to address these and many other questions:

  • Did Eddy derive Christian Science from what she got from Quimby?
  • Did Eddy’s religious nature influence Quimby?
  • What is the true history of the “Quimby Manuscripts” as preserved by his family?
  • Want ever happened to Quimby’s early subject, Lucius E. Burkmar?
  • How did Warren F. Evans view his early contact with Quimby?
  • Did the Dresser family fairly and accurately present Quimby’s theories in later years?
  • How reliable is Horatio Dresser’s book, The Quimby Manuscripts (1921)?
  • How reliable were the early charges made against Eddy in the biographical treatments of her life in the New York World and McClure’s magazine in the years 1906-1908?
  • How accurate was Eddy about her later description of her brief stay in the South in 1844?
  • Were the Quimby manuscripts redated by later followers to deny an alleged influence on Quimby by Eddy during their years together from 1862 to 1865?
  • Was Eddy a plagiarist (of Quimby’s writings or other writings) as has been alleged?
  • How reliable are later transcriptions of Quimby’s writings that have been made and published by his devout followers?

This book is available for download in an updated three volumes at no cost. Note: now (2020) a hard-bound expanded and updated third edition is available for purchase at http://www.hawthornepub.com (click on “Winds of Change”).