Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]


MR No. 663—Pictures in The Desire of Ages

I wish to say to you that I am sadly disappointed in the cuts prepared for such a book as the Life of Christ. I consider that if Brother A accepts such figures that his eye and taste has lost its cunning. You cannot expect me to be pleased with such productions. Look at these figures critically, and you must see that they are either made from Catholic designs or Catholic artists. The picture of Mary has a man's face, the representations of Christ with the two fingers prominent, while the others are closed, is wholly a Catholic sign and I object to this. I see but very little beauty in any of the faces, or persons. There is the scenery of nature, landscape scenery, that is not as objectionable, but I could never rest my eyes upon the face pictures without pain. 8MR 456.1

I would much prefer to have no pictures than representations that are not representations, but disfigurements of the true. This is my opinion. Where is the discerning eye? Better pay double price, or treble, and have pictures, if pictures must be had, that will not pervert facts. I wish there had not been an attempt to make one representation, but send out the book and let it make a place for itself. I call these faces in the pictures and scenes so poorly represented that it is a perversion of the facts. 8MR 456.2

If this is A's work, I cannot accept him as a designer, and if he can accept such pictures I cannot respect or honor his judgment. Do not spoil my book by disfigurements which lower the facts and the matters they represent. Brother A needs the sanctification of the senses to understand the spirituality of truth. He may study European artistic skill, but there will be seen in nearly all designs the Catholic features.—Letter 81a, 1897, p. 1. (To C. H. Jones, Manager of the Pacific Press, December 20, 1897.) 8MR 456.3

I write to you, having received your letters concerning the book now in your hands. I advise that the book be not delayed. It is greatly needed in the field, and I would hasten it out, with the cuts you deem suitable. 8MR 457.1

I have just received my American mail, and sorry enough I am that the letters were not opened at Sunnyside, so that Willie [W. C. White] could have read them. But they were sent without being opened, and neither Willie nor Marian [Davis] have seen them. But I say, put in your cuts; for it is not possible for you to hear anything from W. C. White or Marian till next mail. Close up the book, and put it in circulation as soon as possible. I am sure that W. C. White and Marian would give this advice. 8MR 457.2

These delays are most painful to me. We are losing time that we can ill afford to lose. Whatever the cuts may be, if they are essential to the sale of the book, put them in, and afterwards, if we have a chance to make improvements, we will do so. But we must have the book, so please hasten its completion. May the Lord give you all wisdom and counsel, is my prayer.—Letter 19, 1898, p. 1. (To C. H. Jones, Manager of the Pacific Press, March 25, 1898.) 8MR 457.3

Released November 13, 1978.