Despite forthrightly proclaiming its link to a sometimes-controversial church, the Monitor has earned its stripes in academic, political, and diplomatic circles. When it was not yet 10 years old, its second editor, Frederick Dixon, met frequently with President Woodrow Wilson. Monitor editors Roscoe Drummond and Canham were notable for their access to subsequent American presidents. And Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton, as well as five vice presidents and countless other government officials, were guests at Monitor-sponsored Washington newsmaker breakfasts Godfrey Sperling Jr. launched in 1966. Some 3,600 such gatherings have been held so far.
While in many ways a remarkable journalistic success, the paper has almost always required a subsidy from church coffers. This phenomenon caused considerable concern among top officials of the Monitor's parent organization. Given its cost and prominence, it is not surprising that the Monitor has twice been at the center of major battles within the Christian Science Church.
Controversy aside, the Monitor inspired fierce love and devotion from its workers. One sign: In 100 years, the Monitor has never missed a scheduled day of production, a remarkable feat in the newspaper industry, where protracted strikes are common.
The Monitor's achievements and reputation were built by hundreds of unsung individuals. Some were editorial workers. Some labored with equal dedication on the production and publishing staffs. Staff members' families made sacrifices, too. One Monitor wife said she viewed the difference between her husband's very modest salary and what he could have made elsewhere as "our gift to the Monitor."