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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    A Statement the Author Would Like to Have You Read

    The story of her life,” wrote F. M. Wilcox, “is the story of this movement. The two are identified in experience.”—The Review and Herald, February 27, 1913.1BIO 9.1

    Review and Herald editor Wilcox had just visited Ellen White in her Elmshaven home. Being a seasoned evangelist, a church executive, and now editor of the general church paper, he was in a unique position to make such an appraisal. This biography attests to the accuracy of his observation.1BIO 9.2

    It was a very full and fruitful life that Ellen White lived from 1827 to 1915. It produces a story not so fully told as now in this six-volume biography, Ellen G. White. True, biographical sketches and several books have been published down through the years. These began with the seven pages devoted to her experience printed in July, 1851, in her first book, a diminutive volume of sixty-four pages. They include the 480-page Life Sketches, hurried into the field on her death in 1915. It had to be limited in detail.1BIO 9.3

    In the Summer of 1950 the board of trustees of the Ellen G. White estate, recognizing the need of a definitive biography for the information and the edification of the church, authorized the production of such a biography. Shortly thereafter the board asked F. D. Nichol, the editor of the Review, to prepare the manuscript. Groundwork was begun in the offices of the White Estate. As nichol was about to take up the writing itself, with the assistance of Arthur L. White, the secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate, he died suddenly from a dissecting aneurysm. The board of trustees then, in October, 1966, asked arthur White to undertake the task. A beginning was made as his responsibilities as secretary of the White Estate allowed. That he might give full time to the biography, in 1978 he asked that another be called to fill his office.1BIO 9.4

    As white began writing he faced a number of decisions: what kind of biography would it be? For whom would it be written? How many pages would be devoted to treating the more than 25,000 days of Ellen White's active ministry in the United States, Europe, and Australia? How would her life story be divided in the projected volumes?1BIO 10.1

    The newly chosen author saw her life and ministry divided rather naturally into six eras:1BIO 10.2

    The early years—1827-1862
    the progressive years—1863-1875
    the lonely years—1876-1891
    the Australian years—1891-1900
    the early elmshaven years—1900-1905
    the later elmshaven years—1905-1915

    For three reasons, he chose to begin the writing with the elmshaven years:1BIO 10.3

    Other published works, mostly autobiographical, treat Ellen White's early life in considerable detail, while the later years are handled rather sketchily. In Life Sketches one third of the volume, or 160 pages, is devoted to the first years of her life and a decade of active ministry, while the major part of her life, sixty years of travels and ministry, are crowded into 320 pages.1BIO 10.4

    Second, there were, at the time the writing was undertaken, a number of persons living who knew Ellen White and who could be interviewed, to obtain interesting information.1BIO 10.5

    Finally, the issues that followed quickly after her return from Australia to the United States in 1900 had a particular interest and relevance to the church at present.1BIO 10.6

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