HOW IT ALL BEGAN

* The Christian Science Monitor is an idea that evolved over many years in the thought of its founder, Mary Baker Eddy. A few years after writing her major work, ``Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,'' Mrs. Eddy founded The Christian Science Journal, noting in the first issue: ``At this date, in 1883, an organ from the Christian Scientists has become a necessity.''

In 1896, when she revised the article for republication, she changed the word ``organ'' to ``newspaper.'' And although the monthly Journal was to become the official organ of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, it also carried news of general interest. When the Christian Science Sentinel (then the Christian Science Weekly) was first published in 1898, it also contained many news items.

That same year, a group of Christian Scientists developed a plan to buy a Boston newspaper. But Mrs. Eddy, apparently feeling that the time for such a publication was not right, disapproved of the idea.

Meanwhile, muckraking and yellow journalism were in full swing. In 1906, the New York World and McClure's Magazine published a series of articles that included fabricated charges against Mrs. Eddy and serious distortions of her life and teachings. Several other newspapers rushed journalists to Concord, N.H., where Mrs. Eddy lived, and published stories refuting the allegations. Then, in 1907, the New York World sponsored a lawsuit in an attempt to take control of her church away from Mrs. Eddy and her church officials.

Mrs. Eddy triumphed easily when the case was dismissed, but the experience was a bitter one, and shortly thereafter she returned to the Boston area. Soon she began work on a new project that would one day rank as one of her greatest achievements: the establishment of an international daily newspaper.

Events moved swiftly. In a note probably written in March 1908, Mrs. Eddy first named her newspaper The Christian Science Monitor. On May 3, she dictated another letter, one she never sent: ``The time has come when we must have a daily newspaper entitled Christian Science Monitor.''

Mrs. Eddy wanted to wait until the new church publishing house was paid for. But on July 28, 1908, she informed the Christian Science Board of Directors: ``So soon as the Pub. House debt is paid I request The C.S. Board of Directors to start a daily newspaper called Christian Science Monitor. This must be done without fail.'' On Aug. 8 she sent similar instructions to the Trustees of the Christian Science Publishing Society.

In an amazing feat, the two boards organized a newspaper, including purchasing all the printing equipment, building a new wing on the publishing house, and gathering a staff, within 100 days. The first issue of The Christian Science Monitor appeared Nov. 25, 1908.

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