The Abiding Gift of Prophecy


Chapter 29—Meeting a Publishing Work Crisis

En route from her home in California to attend the General Conference of 1901, in Battle Creek, Michigan, Mrs. White stopped at various places in the Southern States. For many years she had carried a burden for this section of the country, and had written many pages of counsel regarding the great needs of the Southern field, and the best way of carrying forward the work there, for both the colored and the white people of that region. AGP 322.1

On April 2, 1901, the day that the Conference opened, she wrote a manuscript, entitled “An Appeal for the Southern Field.” In this manuscript she spoke of the need of schools and sanitariums. Then she said: AGP 322.2

“There is need also of a well-equipped printing press, that books may be published for the use of the workers in the South. I have been instructed that the publication of books suitable for use in this field is essential. Something in this line must be done without delay….

“At Nashville I was surprised to find a printing office filled with busy workers. This office, with its furnishings, has been purchased at as little cost as possible. Everything about it is neat and orderly. The countenances of the workers express intelligence and ability, and the work they do is a valuable object lesson.

“But a larger building is needed; for many lines of business will open up as the work is carried forward….

“The Lord has placed means in the hands of His people to be used in this work. I call upon my brethren and sisters to give of their means to provide a suitable publishing house for the Southern field.” E. G. White MS. 40-1901. (Italics mine.)

During the sessions of the General Conference, Mrs. White made a number of appeals for means and facilities for the laborers in the South. Following the Conference, she continued to carry the burden upon her heart, making calls for money from congregations whom she addressed in various places. AGP 322.3

This counsel to establish and equip a publishing house in the South was one of the first of the perplexities that I faced in undertaking the general oversight of our denominational work in 1901. AGP 323.1

We had two large publishing houses,—the Review and Herald in Michigan, and the Pacific Press Publishing Association in California. Both these houses were in a state of marked depression. There seemed to be little demand for our literature. Only a comparatively few colporteurs were in the field, and they were meeting with but fair success. AGP 323.2

In order to keep the presses running, and to hold the office force together, our publishing houses were accepting a large amount of commercial work. The Pacific Press had a contract for printing the Paragon counter check books for the territory west of the Rocky Mountains. The Review and Herald was printing many catalogues and other types of printing for the business world. AGP 323.3