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


The Work for the Winter

To James White, the return to California meant picking up his work as editor of the Signs of the Times. He would be assisted by his daughter-in-law, Mary Kelsey White, who at the age of 20 was serving as managing editor and would soon have her name on the masthead as such. It was to return to the newly established publishing house efficiently managed by his son William, now 22, reaching out for the aid of experience in the publishing business. It was to encourage George Manual, foreman of the plant, who had taken charge at the age of 21, “being master before he was apprentice,” as James White put it, but who “called books and genius to his aid,” and was gaining a reputation for the excellence of his work” (The Signs of the Times, December 14, 1876). “Thank God for children,” expostulated James White, as he reflected on the words of a “tramp” printer who, visiting the plant, commented that the work was conducted by children. 3BIO 51.4

To Ellen White, to return to California, was, in part, to return to their Oakland home and their two married sons in the West, but mainly to pick up the work of writing on the later events in the life of Christ for volume three of the Spirit of Prophecy, and for the Signs. Regarding the latter, James White explained: 3BIO 51.5

Mrs. White designs to furnish matter for each number of the Signs which will deeply interest all our readers. Her expositions of Scripture truths, practical appeals, and her life sketches will add great importance to this volume of our paper.—The Review and Herald, December 28, 1876. 3BIO 52.1

Added to this was the selecting of suitable reading for children and youth. This feature of work can be traced back a full year to December, 1875, when the Pacific Press published twenty little booklets of children's stories. 3BIO 52.2