FBC: History

History of the Foundational Book Company (FBC)

The Foundational Book Company developed from a so-called Printing Committee set up to answer the need to coordinate somewhat all the individual printing and publishing on the Science of Christian Science going on and foreseen during the early 1940s.

The FBC as such was set up in 1946 by five dedicated students of John W Doorly, including Peggy M Brook. These five students also acted as the directors of the FBC. John W Doorly very much supported the FBC, and freely gave of his time and advice, but did not wish to have any part in its structural setup and offices so as to leave him free for his teaching and writing. In due course the FBC operated in all respects as a small publishing company for publications on the Science of Christian Science.

The first two books published by this company in 1946 were “The Pure Science of Christian Science” by John W Doorly, and “Christian Government” by Dr. Max Kappeler.

However, later developments made it clear that the original setup needed to be changed, and John W Doorly eventually took the FBC back into his own hands, and, when he passed on, left Peggy M Brook as the sole director of the FBC.

When Peggy M Brook took over the FBC she very much felt that “at some time its form would probably change in conformity with what we are progressively understanding about individuality and inorganic being” (Confidential letter to FBC agents dated 15 February 1957).

The FBC progressively developed over the years answering the need for the work it did whilst simultaneously requiring less and less “business organization”, leaving more freedom and individuality to all involved to develop their spiritual sense rather than concerning themselves with “business affairs”. Even in these early days Peggy M. Brook came to feel more and more that the FBC’s work should eventually focus only on the works of John W Doorly as well as her own work. As from 1957, in a first step, The Foundational Book Company evolved into three self-governing entities:

(1) Peggy M. Brook continued with The Foundational Book Company purely as a publishing company for the publication of John W Doorly’s works and the works by Peggy M Brook. All other authors did their own printing and publishing but were allowed to use – if they so desired and the FBC agreed – the name of The Foundational Book Company as publishers.

(2) A new selling concern called The Foundational Bookstore was set up and run independently for The Foundational Book Company by Hilda and Cecil Colson as a general sale and distribution outlet for all publications by the FBC and other authors on the Science of Christian Science.

(3) The regular FBC publication Ideas of Today was to be run by Rosalie Maas as an independent journal, also acting as its own distributor, with Peggy M Brook assisting in an editing capacity.

This new set-up was seen to have seeds of freedom and individuality within it and yet allow all involved to work together very closely for the love of the idea and because all saw the value of true co-operation. So, from then on, The Foundational Book Company was a Publishing Company only and not a bookselling concern any more.

In September 1961 Hilda Colson wrote to Peggy M Brook to ask to be released from running the Foundational Bookstore by March 1963. This was communicated to all authors on 29/9/1961.

This set in train a development whereby sincere questions were asked again as to how to distribute publications in future without setting up “a new headquarters”, and how to support the development of the idea of the Science of Christian Science with the minimum possible level of organization.

In 1962 a general meeting of authors took place, and eventually new solutions with regard to book distribution and agents were found.

Peggy M Brook kept Dr. Max Kappeler fully informed about all these FBC developments in long letters, and he agreed with her on all these changes.

In keeping with this train of events towards “a greater sense of freedom and individuality “ for all concerned in the work of the FBC, it transpired more and more over the following two decades that authors should in future be wholly responsible for their own publication and printing needs, with the FBC focussing on the works of John W Doorly and Peggy M Brook only.

In News Items No. 99, dated February 1982, Peggy M Brook explains that the Foundational Book Company was “never intended to be a profit-making business nor a “headquarters”, but rather a service to the unfolding vision of the pure Science of Christian Science. Also, it has not constituted a monopoly – as a publisher for this line, of research, and many students – for various reasons – have elected either to publish their own books themselves, or have them published by an established commercial publisher.”

So, the FBC as it existed in 1982 was no longer the same set-up that had been formed in 1946. Rather, it had undergone much development and change over the intervening years, reducing the weight and burden of its “organization” so as to be fit to be a “a service to the unfolding vision of the pure Science of Christian Science”.

Over the years it had now become very clear that it would be wise for the FBC to focus on John W Doorly’s and Peggy M Brook’s works only. In News Items No. 100, dated May 1982, it was announced that Dr. Max Kappeler, who – as other authors also – had been published by the FBC from the very beginning, would now form his own publishing company as a result of the development of his work in Europe and the USA.

Based on the mutual positive vision and agreement by Dr. Max Kappeler and Peggy M Brook, this was the positive culmination and demand of progressive spiritual development over many decades leading to the Kappeler-Institute Publishing in the USA, and Kappeler-Institut Publikationen (Zürich, Switzerland) to come into being, and the setting up of the Kappeler Institutes in the USA and Zürich (Switzerland) as well as Berlin (Germany).

In 1982 the FBC thus arrived at the point Peggy M Brook had foreseen in her letter dated 29/9/1961 when she wrote: “Every step that has come to us to work out regarding the books seems to have been a freer one with less organization attached to it, and whenever a new move comes along, I am sure it is really nothing to do with persons, but the impulsion of Love’s plan.”

When The John W. Doorly Trust was set up in October 1991, its catalogues dated October 1992 only listed the works of John W Doorly and Peggy M Brook. All other authors did their own publishing. However, new titles etc from all authors continued to be announced in News Items, signifying a collective body of authors working together freely, independently, and individually – just as Peggy M Brook had envisioned in 1961.

Present day:

The Foundational Book Company, formed by John W Doorly in 1946, was dissolved by Peggy M Brook with effect from 17/05/1994.

However, in October 1991, well before the dissolution of The Foundational Book Company, Peggy M Brook and others founded The John W Doorly Trust. In January 1992 a letter was sent out to announce this fact, and also to inform everyone about the new developments with regard to the Foundational Book Company. In this letter (dated January 1992 and signed by herself) Peggy M Brook states:

With the creation of this [Trust], it has seemed a natural move for the Book Company’s activities to be incorporated into this Trust, but it will still distribute John Doorly’s and my books under the name of The Foundational Book Company as part of this Trust. … The Foundational Book Company will no longer be a Limited Company but its future publications will bear the imprint, “Published by The Foundational Book Company for the John W. Doorly Trust”.

In other words, although The Foundational Book Company was dissolved, the designation “The Foundational Book Company” (in the form established by Peggy M Brook) continues as the generic designation for all FBC publishing activities now integrated into The John W Doorly Trust, in keeping with the wishes of the founder of The John W Doorly Trust. It should also be noted that if  The John W Doorly Trust cooperates with Kappeler Institute Europe (Switzerland and Germany) to publish jointly e.g. a new translation of a book by Peggy M Brook such as “The Infinite Calculus”, or any other book for which either The John W Doorly Trust or the Kappeler Institute Europe (Switzerland and Germany) hold the rights, the imprint will show “The Foundational Book Company for the John W. Doorly Trust” as well as “Kappeler Institut Publikationen Zürich” as this reflects the truth of the two set-ups positively cooperating to publish the relevant book.

Let us remember in all respects what Peggy M Brook already saw in 1957:

“This seems to me to be the lovely thing about this set-up, that it has such seeds of freedom and individuality within it and yet we shall all work together because we love this idea and see the value of true co-operation.”

Peter A.W. Rosenthal, Chairman, The John W Doorly Trust, London, England

January 2019