Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


Effective Use of the Public Press

At Ripon, the second camp meeting to be held in Wisconsin that year, inclement weather kept the weekend crowds at home, but many were reached through the public press. Ripon, said to be “quite a wealthy and aristocratic place” of some four thousand residents, was at first not too friendly toward the idea of an Adventist camp meeting being held there, but their attitudes changed as they read the Ripon Free Press. That paper, normally a weekly, ran a daily during the meeting. Smith reported that the space in these daily issues was devoted largely “to an account of the meeting as it progressed, and to a publication of those leading points of our faith which would best give the people an idea of what position we as a church, maintain.” Of the reporting he noted: 3BIO 40.6

Miss M. L. Clough, a niece of Sister White's who is traveling with them as reporter, furnished full and graphic accounts of each day's meetings for the Free Press, with a synopsis of all the sermons delivered. Besides these accounts, there were published in this series of dailies the fundamental principles of our faith, the sketch of the rise and progress of Seventh-day Adventists, “Which Day Do You Keep and Why?“and “Forty Questions on Immortality.” 3BIO 41.1

And right here we take occasion to mention what we have not before referred to, that is, the reports of these western camp meetings that have been furnished to the dailies of the different States. Miss Clough, with indefatigable industry, with great versatility of thought and felicity of expression, has given a full daily report of every meeting, stating all particulars, suffering no point of interest to pass unnoticed, but grasping all the salient features of the occasion, and producing the whole in a style pleasing to the popular reader, while it gave a very accurate representation of the meeting. 3BIO 41.2

In Iowa eight daily papers were furnished with these daily reports. At the Sparta meeting three dailies of Wisconsin and the Chicago Times were thus furnished. At the Minnesota meeting, one daily and several weeklies. And at the present meeting, three leading dailies of Wisconsin, besides the Free Press of this place already mentioned. These reports, we learn, have been and are being quite extensively copied into other papers, and thus are Seventh-day Adventists and their work brought before the people as they never have been before.—Ibid., July 13, 1876 3BIO 41.3

When we consider that all this was done without typewriters or carbon paper, the proportions of such a task of reporting loom large. 3BIO 41.4

One man at the Ripon meeting testified that he had come on foot sixty miles to attend the meeting; another walked seventy miles to do so. 3BIO 41.5

In a letter Ellen White wrote to her children, she reported that James was so “fearfully worn” that she took the principal burden through the meeting (Letter 34, 1876). 3BIO 41.6