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Christian Science

Mary Anne Norman General Entry

The earliest evidence of the appearance of Christian Science in Texas came in the 1889–90 Christian Science Journal, which, although it listed no churches in Texas, did mention two cities where Christian Science services were held, Austin and Galveston. The Texas Christian Science Institute in Galveston, managed by Ladd M. Waters, advertised for students that year. By 1899 there were ten Christian Science churches in Texas, including two each in Dallas and Houston. Christian Scientists in El Paso were holding regular Sunday services but were not incorporated as a church. There were also fifty-two practitioners (authorized healers) and three teachers in Texas. The Galveston school no longer existed, but Austin supported the Southern Christian Science Institute. Like its predecessor, this institute taught Christian Science, treated patients "both present and absent," and sold periodicals.

In 1908 seventeen different Texas cities, mostly east of what is now Interstate Highway 35, were the sites of Christian Science churches. Fifty-eight practitioners and eight teachers, the majority of whom were concentrated in the large cities, operated in the state. By 1955 there were sixty-five churches and thirty-eight societies in Texas. Since services were segregated in the 1950s, two "colored" societies, located in Dallas and Houston, existed to serve the religious needs of Black Christian Scientists. A total of 228 practitioners, including four Blacks, and seven teachers resided in Texas. In 1983 a total of sixty-six churches and thirty-two societies existed in eighty Texas cities and towns, Dallas and Houston having the greatest numbers. Christian Science college organizations held meetings on fourteen campuses including both public and private institutions. The Leaves, a Christian Science sanatorium in Richardson, provided practical but nonmedical health care for Christian Science patients. Christian Scientists were permitted to reside at the Leaves temporarily for the purpose of religious study. Although there was no official Texas committee on publication, Peter Vanderhof monitored the media and the legislature with regard to the interests of Christian Scientists and wrote The Legal Rights of Christian Scientists in Texas (1983).

Christian Science Journal 7, 17, 26, 73, 101.


  • Religion
  • Christian Church
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mary Anne Norman, “Christian Science,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 14, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 9, 2020