Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)


A Place to Write at the Publishing House

And so it was from day to day. On Monday, April 7, she had an interview with the physicians at the Health Institute and noted in her diary: 2BIO 379.3

I read forty-eight pages of manuscript, testimony for the physicians and helpers. This was a severe task to me, a work I did not love.—Manuscript 6, 1873. 2BIO 379.4

The Health Institute and its interests were close to Ellen White's heart. This stemmed back particularly to a time of crisis in the history of the institution mentioned in August by James White: 2BIO 379.5

About four years since [i.e., ago], by bad management, the Health Institute and the Reformer were brought into most discouraging circumstances; so much so, that we at one time decided in our own mind that the property must be sold, and after paying heavy debts, a small percent be refunded to stockholders. The prospect was most gloomy. Mrs. White had made important statements, upon high authority, relative to the institute and its work, the fulfillment of which seemed doubtful. 2BIO 379.6

But at the very time when the prospect looked the most doubtful, when we were bowed at the family altar, the Spirit of the Lord came upon us, faith revived, and with a clear presentiment of the future prosperity of the institute, we gave this testimony in the hearing of our family, while still bowed on our knees, “God will yet vindicate all that His Spirit has testified of the prosperity and usefulness of our Health Institute.”—An Earnest Appeal, pp. 42, 43. 2BIO 379.7

After mentioning specific measures taken to save the institution, including upgrading the Health Reformer, which would help to draw guests to fill its rooms, he stated: 2BIO 380.1

We also united our efforts at the Health Institute as counselors, and often spoke to the patients in the parlor as we could steal a half hour from other pressing duties.—Ibid., 43, 44. 2BIO 380.2

This describes well a phase of their activities in Battle Creek following the General Conference session, but Ellen White concluded that if she were to get much writing done she must have a place of seclusion away from their home. A room was found at the Review office that she could use, and this was soon carpeted and fitted up nicely for her work. On Friday, April 11, Willie White—who had just completed his six months’ course of studies at Dr. Trall's Hygeo-Therapeutic College at Florence Heights, New Jersey, with his brother Edson—returned home. They brought with them diplomas inscribed on sheepskin, conferring the “Degree of Doctor of Medicine,” with the “rights, privileges, and immunities pertaining to the legalized practice of medicine” (DF790, W. C. White historical papers). Their parents, who had sent the two young men to the medical school, advised them that this was a good start, one that Dr. M. G. Kellogg had taken, but they should not venture into the practice of medicine without further training. They did not disregard this counsel. 2BIO 380.3

James and Ellen did not intend to remain long in Battle Creek. At the time they owned two houses there, one close to the institute, mentioned as the old one on the corner, which they thought they had sold when they moved to Greenville in 1867, and the newer one built for them right after the Wright camp meeting when they were persuaded to return to Battle Creek and make their home there. On April 1, 1873, they sold their home on the corner to C. W. Comings, one of the “picked” businessmen who had moved his family to Battle Creek to assist in the work at headquarters. 2BIO 380.4

On Monday, April 21, as the Comingses moved in, they arranged to let the Whites temporarily have a bed in the parlor. But that evening, after attending a meeting of the literary society and a meeting of the directors of the Health Institute, the Whites decided to occupy a room in the institute. The next morning, April 22, the ground was covered with four and a half inches of snow. James and Ellen White had breakfast at the Abbey home and then walked to the office. They were to have dinner at the Ginleys. 2BIO 380.5