The Present Truth
Volume 1, Number 1
July 1849

On November 18, 1848, Ellen White was shown in vision that her husband, James, should start a little paper. Like "streams of light," it would eventually go "clear round the world." That was quite a challenge considering he had no money, and there were fewer than 200 Sabbath keepers.

The next year, 1849, despite such unpromising conditions, James White determined to begin publishing that little paper. To raise money, he decided to find work such as farm labor, which he had done successfully in the recent past. But in vision Mrs. White was shown that he was not to do this now. Rather, "he must write, write, write, and walk out by faith" (Life Sketches, 1880 ed., p. 260). James began to write, and soon he had the articles for the first issue of The Present Truth. What he didn't have was the money.

While he was still preparing the copy, James White walked about eight miles (13 km) to Middletown, Connecticut, to find a printer. He presented his case to Charles H. Pelton, asking if Pelton would be willing to print the paper and be paid when funds came in. Pelton agreed, and in July of 1849 the first issue of The Present Truth came from the press. Its subject was the Sabbath, and James White invited its readers to support the paper with their funds. A thousand copies were printed. (Click here for a larger picture of it [87Kb]; this may take some time to load.)

The Whites and the few other Advent believers in that region gathered around the copies and prayed that God would "let His blessing rest upon the feeble effort of His servant" (ibid.) They addressed the papers to people they thought might be interested and sent them out.

Two more issues followed in August, and by the time another issue had been published in early September, Mr. Pelton wrote a receipt to James White for $64.50, "being in payment in full of all demands to this date." The Lord had rewarded their faith. (Click here to see the handwritten receipt.)

After publishing eleven issues of The Present Truth, and five issues, plus two "extras" of The Advent Review in 1849 and 1850, James White decided to combine the two publications. He named his new publication the Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. Both its name and place of publication have changed several times since the Review and Herald, now the Adventist Review, was first printed in Paris, Maine. The paper now circles the globe both in printed and electronic form. And the publishing work which had such a humble beginning now encompasses 56 publishing houses around the globe, printing and distributing Bible-based literature in more than 300 languages. The "streams of light" have indeed gone "clear round the world" (Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 125).

Images from the church record books where the Harmons had their membership in Portland, Maine, before being excluded because of their Millerite views.
Many of Ellen White's articles and letters were first written in large blank diary/journals. This is an image of a page from one of those journals.
A fascinating account by Otis Nichols, an eyewitness of some early experiences of Ellen Harmon, before her marriage to James White. Besides a transcript of Nichols's account, graphical images of the pages of his handwritten manuscript are also available for viewing here.
James White's Paper The Present Truth. On November 18, 1848, Ellen White was shown in vision that her husband, James, should start a little paper. Like "streams of light," it would eventually go "clear round the world."