The author, Keith McNeil, is a 1977 graduate of Principia College; while there, in 1974, he began the start of his overriding interest in the history of Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, which included the history of mental healing in America. The following year he became a collector of all aspects of that history, from standard fare books to rare privately printed books, copies of early manuscripts, original letters by Eddy and others, unpublished photographs and reminiscences, otherwise unknown historical records, etc. As a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, his main interest initially was of the history of Eddy and the Christian Science movement, but in time that interest broadened into a history of mental healing in America, including the history of New Thought.
A third of a century later, the collection has grown to encompass several rooms of material. That collection greatly served to enhance the research for this book.
This work has taken over ten years, with trips all over the country, not the least of which include the three locations of Quimby papers (Library of Congress, Boston University, and Houghton Library at Harvard), the Quimby family papers at the Belfast [Maine] Historical Society, the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity in Boston, the Longyear Museum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, the Daystar Foundation in Oklahoma City, the Addington INTA Archives in Mesa, Arizona, the Arthur Corey collection at Bridwell Library at SMU in Dallas, TX, in addition to important private collections. The research achieved at these locations, along with computerized searches and broadened capabilities via the Internet, allow this subject to be explored at a depth and breadth never before possible.
The goal has been to finally give a detailed history of the Quimby-Eddy debate along with several other controversial historical points. This is only Part One of what is planned as a two-part chronological history.