The Original Board:
When the board was organized in 1915, A. G. Daniells served temporarily as president, followed by F. M. Wilcox from 1915-1922. A. G. Daniells again served as president from 1922-1935. The secretaryship, after being held for a short time by C. C. Crisler, passed to W. C. White, the only member of the board devoting full time to the work of the trustees. He filled this office until his death in 1937. From 1915 to 1937 the work was carried on at Elmshaven in a rented office building with a vault that was used to house the Ellen G. White materials.
During the 19 years they worked together, the original members, in addition to routine tasks, (1) published 10 posthumous compilations (for an annotated bibliography of the Ellen G. White books, see White, Ellen G., Writings of, and Appendix D in the Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White); (2) produced an 865-page Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White,published in 1926; (3) carried forward the thorough indexing of the Ellen G. White manuscript files; and (4) in counsel with the leading officers of the General Conference in 1933 and 1934, laid the foundation for continuing the trusteeship in perpetuity. The steps taken to ensure the perpetuation of the trusteeship were: (a) in 1933 the trustees, as the constituency, formed a corporation under the laws of the state of California "to carry out and perform the provisions of the charitable trust created by the last will and testament of Ellen G. White deceased"; (b) the General Conference agreed to provide adequate financial support for the work of the trustees in the form of an annual budget; the trustees, in turn, assigned to the General Conference all royalty incomes produced by the Ellen G. White books; (c) it was agreed to move the property and work of the trustees at some appropriate future time to Washington, D.C., thus placing it close to the world headquarters of the church.
Period of Transition:
When three of the original trustees died--one in 1935 and two in 1936--the vacancies were filled in harmony with the provisions of the will and the bylaws of the 1933 corporation. The full-time secretary, W. C. White, died on Sept. 1, 1937. He was replaced by his son, Arthur L. White, who for nine years had served as his secretary and for four years as assistant secretary of the White Estate. The work of the White Estate was moved to the General Conference, Washington, D.C., in January, 1938.
With the demands upon them increasing steadily with the growth of the church and numerous constituencies to be represented, in 1950 the trustees increased the board's membership from five to seven, and in 1958 amended the bylaws of the corporation to provide for a constituency and board of nine, seven to be life members and two to be elected for a term corresponding to that of General Conference elected personnel (originally four years, but now five). In 1970 the board was increased to 11; in 1980, to 13; and, in 1985, to 15. The number of life members is currently five. At quinquennial meetings the board also elects the secretary and associate secretaries, as well as officers of the corporation, as provided for in the bylaws.
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