There has never been a social history of Christian Science, a distinctive and controversial new religious group that emphasized metaphysical healing. The group appeared in the United States in the 1870s and 1880s under the leadership of Mary Baker Eddy. This article examines the early rapid growth of Christian Science on the Pacific Coast, for the religion flourished to a greater degree in this health- conscious and socially fluid region than in any other section of the world. Analysis of the occupations of more than 1,000 members and spouses of six Christian Science churches in California, Oregon, and Washington for the years 1905-1907 provides detailed conclusions at variance with previous conjecture. The new evidence shows that Christian Scientists on the Pacific Coast were an ethnically homogeneous, uprooted, and energetic lot from all social levels, with a surprisingly large contingent from the working classes.

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