Last week I watched “The Last Station” — a 2009 movie starring Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, and Paul Giamatti — about Leo Tolstoy and the final days before his death, in November 1910. It dramatizes the battle between the so-called Tolstoyans and Count Tolstoy’s wife over his legacy.
The movie brought to mind two excerpts I’d read in a remarkable collection entitled, Tributes from the Press, comprising approximately 175 articles and editorials published in newspapers from 38 states plus the District of Columbia and from beyond our borders, in Canada, England, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, immediately following the passing of Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, a month later, in December 1910.
From the New York American:
So wide-spread is the fame of Mary Baker Eddy that there is no country in the world that will not take note of her death. Her extraordinary influence upon her generation will everywhere suggest comparisons or contrasts between her work and that of the seer who died in Russia a few days ago. Count Tolstoi spoke to the intellect and Mrs. Eddy to the heart.
And from the World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska):
In some respects, at least, Mrs. Eddy seems, from the perspective of to-day, one of the world’s great women. It is possible that she will some day be generally accepted as the world’s greatest woman. She was the “Discoverer” of a religion and Founder of a church…. Philosophically it rests on the doctrine of pure idealism, morally on the gospel of love…. There can be general agreement as to the rare qualities of heart and mind and personality of Mrs. Eddy…. Like Tolstoi, she is one of the unique figures of universal history.