Ellen G. White Estate
The Ellen G. White® Estate, Incorporated, is an organization created by the last will and testament of Ellen G. White to act as her agent in the custody of her writings, handling her properties, "conducting the business thereof," "securing the printing of new translations," and the "printing of compilations from my manuscripts." Her will, dated Feb. 9, 1912 (printed in its entirety as Appendix N in Messenger of the Lord, by Herbert E. Douglass) named five church leaders to serve as a board of trustees: Arthur G. Daniells, president of the General Conference; William C. White, her son; Clarence C. Crisler, a secretary; Charles H. Jones, manager of the Pacific Press; and Francis M. Wilcox, editor of the Review and Herald. Four of the five were members of the Executive Committee of the General Conference.
Appointment of the trustees was for life, Ellen White providing that "if a vacancy shall occur for any reason among said trustees, or their successors, a majority of the surviving or remaining trustees are hereby empowered and directed to fill such vacancy by the appointment of some other fit person"; or if this provision were to fail, the General Conference Executive Committee should appoint someone to fill such a vacancy. The will dedicated the major portion of the existing and potential royalty incomes from her books to the work of the trustees. (For additional information, see Appendix B, "The Settlement of Ellen G. White's Estate," in volume 6 of A. L. White's biography of Ellen White, Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years.)
At the death of Ellen White, July 16, 1915, this self-perpetuating board began to function. It soon sold Ellen White's real estate, consisting mainly of Elmshaven, her home property near St. Helena, California, then began the continued care of her literary properties. Under the terms of the will, such responsibilities fell into three areas: (1) possession of the copyrights to her writings and the care and promotion of her books in the English language; (2) preparation of manuscripts for, and the promotion of the translation and publication of her writings in other languages; and (3) custody of the files of manuscripts and other files, and the selection of matter from the Ellen G. White manuscript files for publication. The board now carries a fourth responsibility, which has developed naturally through the years--acquainting Seventh-day Adventists and others with Mrs. White and her work.