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


Working at Home in Denison, Texas

In Denison, the Whites were to occupy a home being built by the Bahlers. Just as soon as the plaster was dry they settled down for the winter. They had to secure furniture and furnishings, and assemble materials for their writing. It seems that Ellen White left Battle Creek in such haste that she did not have time or strength to assemble either adequate clothing for the winter or the writing materials and reference works she would need. 3BIO 102.2

The requests she addressed to Willie and Mary included bedding, materials for sewing—patterns for dresses for herself and pants for James—and some food items for the table. But of top priority were materials needed for her writing. Seldom do we get a picture of what she wished to have at hand with her literary work, so mention of particular items as she wrote to Mary is of interest. One paragraph in a letter written November 8 reads: 3BIO 102.3

Send me my feather bed, four pairs of sheets and pillowcases, all made. I need my writings the most. I care more for these than anything else. I want ten scratch books made just as long again as those we have. The same width will answer. Remember, just as long again as those we have used—fully one-half yard long. This is much more convenient than the small size. I want a supply of foolscap and note and letter paper, and good pencils. 3BIO 102.4

Please get me three of those five-cent coral pins at Skinner's. Please send me two of my calico nightdresses in wardrobe at office.—Letter 52, 1878. 3BIO 102.5

Another paragraph in the same letter also contains specific requests: 3BIO 103.1

Will you please get and mail the covered book History of Paul, and put in a red-covered book, Bible Antiquities—[a] sort of Bible dictionary. Also send all my writings in [the] secretary in the office and those at home. Look for a page, less or more, of my article on sanctification. I cannot find the end of it. I have a case made purposely for my writings. Send it also. Also my little box of writings. Take special pains to send the books I desire. There is one old book bought in Oakland—Sermons; also another book, Old Worthies of the Old Testament. You look over my books and send all I shall really need.—Ibid. 3BIO 103.2

On November 20 she was writing for more materials to be sent. The request discloses the particular lines of work she had in mind—testimonies, and books dealing with some phases of the great controversy story: 3BIO 103.3

Ask Brother Farnsworth in reference to that testimony sent to Iowa. I must have it and a copy of all my testimonies lately written, in manuscript or in pamphlet form in print. Father wants those we had in California. 3BIO 103.4

Whatever is lacking, search for them at the office or please send all the numbers in pamphlet form and the bound volumes. 3BIO 103.5

Also tell Will [WCW] to make no charges for these, as we use these in writing for the benefit of our papers. Send one copy of each of the three volumes [Spirit of Prophecy], for which charge two dollars. Send one copy each of the four volumes of the Spiritual Gifts,, for which make no charge. Volumes one and two you will find in one book. Send three or four copies of Henry's life in pamphlet. All my writings. [Also,] all my writings I want for Spirit of Prophecy, volume 4. 3BIO 103.6

I want all the books I have named to you before. These books and writings had better be sent by Sister Booth, as we shall need them at once. Be particular to get the writing for Elder Bourdeau and all the writings I have left there at home.—Letter 55, 1878. 3BIO 103.7

Writing November 22, she stated, “We intend to commence writing at once and to make the most of our time.”—Letter 56, 1878. And she did. A few days later she wrote to the children in Battle Creek: 3BIO 103.8

We sent an article last night upon missionary labor. Father heard it read before being copied and after it was copied [published in Review and Herald of December 12]. I have much personal matter to get off as soon as possible. I am doing my best to get through my writing.—Letter 58, 1878. 3BIO 104.1