As a religion generally associated with American culture, Christian Science nevertheless initially attracted a large minority of foreign-born members who had immigrated to the United States. By examining the roll books of about 30 branch, or local, Christian Science churches from coast to coast between 1880 and 1925, we can determine the birthplaces of several thousand members. The main research tool is ancestry.com, which provides scans of the manuscript United States Census from 1790 to 1940, plus many scanned city directories, local histories, etc. “The Ark: Christian Science Collection” provides searchable scans of the Christian Science periodicals, 1883–1922. Results show that while in some areas of the country local congregations contained relatively few foreign-born members, other branches, including Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, and New York City, had a significant number of immigrants. This finding has never been reported before. Specific foreign countries of origin will be identified and assigned percentages of the total number of members. Thus, we see that Mary Baker Eddy’s faith in the United States appealed to a wider spectrum of cultures than previous observations have allowed.
|Keywords:||Christian Science, Metaphysics, American Sects|
Professor, Social Sciences Bibliographer, Rosenthal Library, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, New York, USA