Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


Appendix B

The Settlement of Ellen G. White'S Estate

In late 1912, W. C. White, in responding to questions asked by a minister laboring in the midwest, gave, in general terms, a summary of those factors that yielded the state of Ellen G. White's financial affairs. He wrote: 6BIO 453.1

When father died in 1881, he left property worth from $15,000 to $20,000. Some of it was real estate, some of it was invested in books. Some of the books sold well; others shrank in value. 6BIO 453.2

During the next ten years following father's death, mother wrote several books that have had a large sale. Some were translated into three or four european languages. As a result of mother's earnest desire to get these books before the people, she shared with the publishers the initial expense by paying for the typesetting and the making of electrotype plates. The income from the sale of her books was not sufficient in many cases to cover these expenses. This work has gone forward until at present time mother has about $40,000 invested in book plates and copyrights, and she has borrowed and is paying interest on all the money thus invested. 6BIO 453.3

Mother's income from the sale of her books has been used from year to year: 6BIO 453.4

(A) In the education of teachers, ministers, and medical missionaries; 6BIO 453.5

(B) In the support of home and foreign missions; 6BIO 453.6

(C) In the building of meetinghouses, intermediate schools, And colleges, and in the establishment of sanitariums in various places; 6BIO 453.7

(D) in the translating, typesetting, and illustrating of her books in many languages. 6BIO 454.1

In these and in similar ways, mother has consumed her income in what she considered to be legitimate and effective ways of advancing the various branches of the work that Seventh-day Adventists are endeavoring to carry forward. 6BIO 454.2

In addition to these book properties which I have mentioned, mother owns her home here, two and a half miles from St. Helena, in the Little Valley just below the St. Helena Sanitarium. Her home consists of farm and orchard lands of about thirty-five acres, a well-built, comfortable house of eight rooms, an office of nine rooms and a vault, and a farmer's cottage of four rooms; also horse and cow stables, fruit shed, and tank house. This property, if estimated at full value, would probably be worth just about as much as what father left her when he died. 6BIO 454.3

Another feature of expenditure which I did not mention above is what mother has given to her sons and her grandchildren. When father died without a will, my brother and I signed off all claims to the property so that everything went to mother, and from time to time mother has given to us that which she considered to be our portion. She has also helped my two oldest daughters $700 each to help them in securing modest homes. And recently she gave my twin boys, 16 years old, a strip of mountain land which they are clearing and improving and selling with the intention of depositing the proceeds in the college to help them in their schooling. 6BIO 454.4

It is mother's desire, and she has made provision to that effect in her will, that after her death, 75 percent of the income from her publications shall go to the publishing and educational and missionary enterprises of the seventh-day adventist denomination, and that 25 percent of the net income shall be divided among her heirs.—WCW to L. H. Christian, November 3, 1912. 6BIO 454.5