Ellen G. White — Messenger to the Remnant


Brochure IV — The Custody and Use of the Ellen G. White Writings

Chapter 1—A Visit To “Elmshaven” *

In the beautiful Pratt Valley, just below the St. Helena Sanitarium, and only a short distance from the town of St. Helena, California, there lies a property known as “Elmshaven.” It was here that the chosen messenger of God, Mrs. Ellen G. White, made her home the last fifteen years of her life, during which time she brought out in book form many of the precious messages which had been entrusted to her. And it is here that the work in connection with the handling of her writings was carried forward for twenty-two years following her death. EGWMR 69.1

This property was selected after weeks of diligent search to find the “refuge,” of which the Lord had assured her on the ship when she was returning from Australia. Here, this untiring laborer for God found quiet, restful surroundings favorable to the prosecution of her bookwork. With no inclination to enshrine any earthly spot, one is nevertheless solemnized at the thought of the angel messengers from heaven who frequently here appeared to Mrs. White, to give instruction and counsel to the church through the prophetic gift. EGWMR 69.2

The modest estate, consisting of a few acres of farm and hill land at the time of Mrs. White’s death, has since been diminished to about half its former size, and has been purchased and at the present time is the property of one of our evangelists. EGWMR 69.3

As we enter the home, a two-story frame building, we note that, though substantially built and roomy, it represents no elegance and no extravagance. EGWMR 69.4

Two rooms on each floor are of special interest to the visitor. We go first to the second floor, climbing the winding stairs, and turn to the left to enter Mrs. White’s sleeping room—a fair-sized chamber, which is well lighted and has opportunities for good ventilation. Moving through the hall, we next enter the study, or writing room, as it was called, and find it to be a large pleasant room, heated with a fireplace, and well lighted, particularly the southeast corner, where stood the comfortable armchair with footrest, and the convenient lapboard on which many pages of manuscript were written. We notice that this room is equipped with bookshelves, file drawers, and cupboards, where were kept Mrs. White’s library, her manuscripts and writing materials. In the bedroom and the study may be seen the furniture nearly as it was when she was living here. EGWMR 69.5

As we gaze down the hall, a picture comes to mind of the small figure hurrying to the study, carrying some important message to be communicated through her to the church, or possibly a bundle of manuscripts for a new book. Perhaps the eye catches sight of the threshold to the study where on Sabbath moring, February 13, 1915, she fell, and it was found later she had suffered a fractured hip. We will then be reminded that the cheery study became a chamber of helplessness, in which on July 16, after she had been confined to her bed for five months, the long life of service came to a peaceful end. EGWMR 69.6

Returning to the stairway and descending to the ground floor, we pass into the sitting room, with an ample fireplace to the right, and to the left, sliding doors opening to the dining room. As we pause for a moment by the fireplace, we are reminded of the precious seasons of worship enjoyed here, and of Mrs. White’s earnest supplication for grace, guidance, health, and strength for service. EGWMR 70.1

As we step into the dining room, we think back to the time when Mrs. White presided at the head of the table, around which the family, and frequently leading workers, gathered to enjoy a well-prepared meal, and to spend a pleasant hour in talking of the day’s activities or recounting interesting experiences in travel and labor. EGWMR 70.2

Leaving the house and walking under the wide-spreading live oak, we step into the square two-story frame office building, and passing through a narrow hall with offices to the right and to the left, we enter the library at the back. Here, before us, on the farther side of the room, we see the doors opening into the fireproof vaults which for many years protected the writings and historical treasures pertaining to Mrs. White’s life and work. EGWMR 70.3

Had we made our visit to the office before December 31, 1937, we would have found this building busy with activity and the manuscript vaults crowded with important documents, many of them in bound form on shelves and others stored in various filing cabinets. EGWMR 70.4

Early in 1938, long-standing plans for moving the files, and the work conducted at “Elmshaven,” to the office of the General Conference, at Takoma Park, Washington, D.C., were carried out; so today the office building serves only as a dwelling. “Elmshaven” continues, however, to hold a place in the hearts of Seventh-day Adventists, as is evidenced by the many visitors who annually call for a brief visit. EGWMR 70.5