An exhibit that presents the life of Mary Baker Eddy, a leader in the women’s rights movement of the 19th century, is on display at Gelman Library through October.
Baker Eddy was an author and the founder and president of a teaching college. She was a publisher and editor of magazines and a Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper.
The exhibit, whose theme is “Healer. Thinker. Doer.,” depicts Mary Eddy’s life in posters, listening stations and a seven-minute video.
University Librarian Jack Siggins said he has been cautious about displaying exhibits in the library’s limited space. But Siggins said the relevance of the Mary Baker Eddy exhibit to GW makes it unique.
Eddy’s force and strength as a leader within the women’s movement makes her a model for the Mount Vernon Women and Power Program, which is similar to the living and learning program on the Foggy Bottom campus, Siggins said.
The exhibit, which is touring the county, emphasizes her influence on leadership and as “a dynamic woman who was significant as a reformer and a leader,” Siggins said.
Freshman Jaimee Jaroff said she was impressed with the exhibit, which made her think about the women’s movement in a new light.
“She found a way around the traditional role of women.and redefined what a woman could do,” Jaroff said.
Despite Baker Eddy’s strong influence on the women’s movement, there was some hesitation in the decision to accept the exhibit. Administrators feared that Baker Eddy’s belief in biblical healing and discovery of the Church of Christ could create controversy around campus, Siggins said.
Siggins said the exhibit is meant to highlight Baker Eddy’s accomplishments as a leader, author, public speaker and pioneer.
An informative reception will be held Sept. 28, before the exhibit moves on to The Lynn Library in Massachusetts.