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


Chapter 33—(1888-1889) Advances in Book Production

Should a new Adventist seek to purchase, in 1885 (the year Ellen White went to Europe), all the E. G. White books available, he would be able to secure the following: 3BIO 434.1

Early Writings, an 1882 republication of the first three E. G. White books issued in the 1850s. 3BIO 434.2

The Spirit of Prophecy, volumes 1-4, which told the great controversy story. The first three were four-hundred-page books, and the fourth, five hundred pages. 3BIO 434.3

Testimonies for the Church, volumes 1-4, a reprint of thirty testimony pamphlets issued between the years 1855 and 1881 in four volumes of about seven hundred pages each. 3BIO 434.4

Two Testimony pamphlets, Numbers 31 and 32. 3BIO 434.5

Sketches From the Life of Paul, a 334-page volume. 3BIO 434.6

Older Adventists might have had the little Spiritual Gifts,, Volumes I-IV, the forerunners of the Spirit of Prophecy series. The second volume is a biographical work issued in 1860. They might also have had How to Live, comprising six pamphlets on health, each with one feature article from Ellen White and the balance, related material selected and compiled by her; and a sixty-four-page pamphlet, Appeal to Mothers. 3BIO 434.7

At this time a far-reaching concept was emerging, with the use of The Great Controversy, volume 4 of the Spirit of Prophecy series, being successfully introduced by colporteurs to the general public. It was a popular book; ten printings of five thousand each had come from the presses of the Review and Herald and the Pacific Press in four years’ time. In 1886 its popularity was enhanced by the introduction of twenty-two illustrations, and it was printed on a larger page size. This, the sixth printing of the book, met with gratifying sale to the general public. Such a response broadened the vistas as to what could be done with the E. G. White books dealing with the controversy story. Attention was next focused on volume 1, which covered Old Testament history to the time of Solomon. 3BIO 434.8

Then there were the two volumes on the life of Christ in the heart of the four-volume Spirit of Prophecy set. From these was developed a single volume, translated and published in Danish-Norwegian, French, and German. Produced by the Review and Herald, it was an attractive colporteur book and enjoyed a good sale in Europe as well as in America. In this period of expanding concepts, there was some talk of issuing it in the English language, but this was not done, possibly because the book seemed to need some expansion in the area that dealt with the earlier years of Christ's ministry. 3BIO 435.1

When Ellen White and her son went to Europe, it was with the thought that if she should be detained there, volume 1 of the Spirit of Prophecy would be enlarged and adapted for the reading of the general public. When it was ascertained that the sojourn would be extended, Marian Davis was called to Basel to assist Ellen White in this and other projects. The objective was to make volume 1 similar in scope and format to the upgraded volume 4, The Great Controversy. The subjects of some of Ellen White's sermons in Basel reflected her application to this phase of Bible history. 3BIO 435.2

But not until late 1886 was Ellen White able to undertake seriously the revising and enlarging of this volume, working toward what is known today as Patriarchs and Prophets. Through January, February, and March, 1887, this work continued with intensity, with the hope that the revised and enlarged book could be ready for sale by Christmas. But plans took a sudden change. 3BIO 435.3