Our first century
A mandate to 'lighten' still drives the Monitor at the dawn of its second 100 years.
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The Monitor's achievements and reputation were built by hundreds of unsung individuals. Some were editorial workers. Some labored with equal dedication on the production and publishing staffs. Staff members' families made sacrifices, too. One Monitor wife said she viewed the difference between her husband's very modest salary and what he could have made elsewhere as "our gift to the Monitor."Skip to next paragraph
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The following recounting of notable moments in the Monitor's history only hints at the love and loyalty that Monitor staff – and their families – brought to the work.
Archibald McLellan's influence in setting the Monitor's course was second only to that of Mrs. Eddy. He was already running the church's weekly and monthly religious magazines and serving as a director of the church when Mrs. Eddy named him to oversee the Monitor's launch. The Monitor's first editor was a lawyer and a seasoned businessman who had not previously worked as a journalist. But he brought a genial disposition, strong business and organizational skills, an insatiable appetite for work, and Mrs. Eddy's complete confidence.
Since he was Mrs. Eddy's closest collaborator in the Monitor's founding, his view of the Monitor's mission carries special weight. "It will be the mission of the Monitor," McLellan wrote, "to publish the real news of the world in a clean, wholesome manner, devoid of the sensational methods employed by so many newspaper." The goal was a Monitor "which will appeal to good men and women everywhere who are interested in the betterment of all human conditions and the moral and spiritual advancement of the race," he said
McLellan and a young, high spirited managing editor named Alexander Dodds led the Monitor from its launch in 1908, through Mrs. Eddy's passing in 1910, and until 1914, when circulation was about 60,000.
No newspaper editor of the time had "more extensive, continuous, and intimate contact with leading world statesmen," Canham wrote. An experienced international reporter himself, Dixon spearheaded the development of a Monitor corps of foreign correspondents and gave the paper a scholarly and literary tone. Circulation grew to 123,000.
But Dixon also helped place the Monitor at the center of a battle within the Christian Science Church. He sided with the Board of Trustees of The Christian Science Publishing Society in a dispute with the Christian Science Board of Directors over ownership and control of the Publishing Society, the organization that operates the Monitor. In March 1919, the trustees sued the board in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The court placed the Monitor and the rest of the Publishing Society in the hands of the trustees until the conclusion of the case.
The sad episode brought the paper to the edge of collapse. Christian Scientists stopped subscribing, since they viewed the publisher as disloyal to the church's governing documents. The Court decided in favor of the board of directors in November 1921 and Dixon resigned as editor in January 1922 when control of the paper returned to the board.