| Ellen G. White Estate

Was a picture of Ellen White wearing a necklace “doctored”?

There is a 1913 family picture in which Ellen White appears, which was treated this way when it was first published, probably in the 1930s or so. The airbrushing, however, was not done on Mrs. White but on one of her granddaughters—Ella White Robinson.

I have seen the picture both “before” and “after.” In the original picture, Ella appears to be wearing a necklace of small shells, similar to the kind of thing our family bought as a souvenir when we were in Hawaii, where such a string of shells or flowers is called a lei and is often worn even by Adventist women there.

Ella, a daughter of W. C. White, had lived in Australia during some of the years Mrs. White was there, 1891–1900. Whether the necklace—or lei—came from Australia or from one of the island stops on their voyage home, I don’t know. But a published report that Mrs. White bought it for her has no documentation that I am aware of to back it up. So that’s the story of the “airbrushed necklace.”

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