Larger font
Smaller font

101 Questions on the Sanctuary and on Ellen White

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    92. Marian Davis, My Bookmaker

    What was the nature of Marian Davis’ work in the preparation of The Desire of Ages?QSEW 98.3

    Marian Davis’ work on The Desire of Ages included not only the routine responsibilities of Ellen White’s “copyists” (see question 86), but also the gathering and organizing of pertinent E. G. White materials into chapters. In a letter to G. A. Irwin, the General Conference president, Mrs. White described Marian’s work in contrast to that of Fanny Bolton:QSEW 98.4

    “My copyists you have seen. They do not change my language. It stands as I write it. Marian’s work is of a different order altogether. She is my bookmaker. Fanny never was my bookmaker.QSEW 98.5

    “How are my books made? Marian does not put in her claim for recognition. She does her work in this way: She takes my articles which are published in the papers, and pastes them in blank books. She also has a copy of all the letters I write. In preparing a chapter for a book, Marian remembers that I have written something on that special point, which may make the matter more forcible. She begins to search for this, and if when she finds it, she sees that it will make the chapter more clear, she adds it.QSEW 98.6

    “The books are not Marian’s productions, but my own, gathered from all my writings. Marian has a large field from which to draw, and her ability to arrange the matter is of great value to me. It saves my poring over a mass of matter, which I have no time to do.”—Letter 61a, 1900. (See Selected Messages 3:91).QSEW 98.7

    In similar vein Ellen White informed Dr. Kellogg:QSEW 98.8

    “Marian greedily grasps every letter I write to others in order to find sentences that she can use in the life of Christ. She has been collecting everything that has a bearing on Christ’s lessons to His disciples, from all possible [E. G. White’s] sources.”—Letter 41, 1895; Selected Messages 3:117.QSEW 98.9

    Marian mentions certain letters which she found to be especially helpful in supplying material for the book on Christ’s life. She wrote Ellen White:QSEW 99.1

    “I have been using matter gleaned from late letters, testimonies, etc. Have found some of the most precious things, some in those letters to Elder Corliss. They have been to me like a storehouse of treasures. There’s something in these personal testimonies that are written with deep feeling, that comes close to the heart. It seems to me the things gathered in this way give a power and significance to the book that nothing else does.”—November 25, 1895, White Estate Received Correspondence File.QSEW 99.2

    Marian was deeply involved in the overall plan of the book, in the arrangement of material within each chapter, in the chronological sequence of the chapters, in the choice of chapter titles, and in correspondence with the Pacific Press in Oakland when the type was being set.QSEW 99.3

    In 1897 when the book was nearly completed, Marian laid it aside for awhile, and then took a fresh, critical look at it. She and Ellen White agreed that many adjustments of an editorial nature still needed to be made. In describing these improvements, she explained to W. C. White:QSEW 99.4

    “I see that neither in Brother Jones’ letter nor in yours have I stated definitely just what I am doing on the manuscript and why. In the first place, I have worked for a better opening to the chapters. As to the success of the effort, let any canvasser who examines the pages I have sent to Brother Jones bear testimony.QSEW 99.5

    “The chapters of the old manuscript began too often with some notice of Jesus going here or there, until the book seemed almost like a diary. That has been corrected. Then I have tried to begin both chapters and paragraphs with short sentences, and indeed to simplify wherever possible, to drop out every needless word, and to make the work, as I have said, more compact and vigorous.QSEW 99.6

    “On some chapters I had fresh, live matter that will add greatly to the interest of the book. If you would offer me, personally, a thousand dollars for the work that has been done on the book during the past few weeks, I would not look at it. I never realized the power of simplicity and compactness, as since I began this work.” (Emphasis hers.)—April 11, 1897, White Estate Received Correspondence File.QSEW 99.7

    Even after the manuscript had been sent to Oakland and typesetting had begun, Marian was still adding new material. She wrote Mrs. White:QSEW 99.8

    “I have been gathering out the precious things from these new manuscripts on the early life of Jesus. Sent a number of new pages to California by the Vancouver mail, and shall send more for later chapters by the next mail. Two of those new articles on Christ’s missionary work I let Brother James have to read in church. Last Sabbath he read the one which speaks of the Savior’s denying Himself of food to give to the poor. These things are unspeakably precious. I hope it is not too late to get them into the book. It has been a feast to work on this matter.”—March 1, 1898, White Estate Received Correspondence File.QSEW 99.9

    That Marian enjoyed Ellen White’s complete confidence is evident from a letter written by Mrs. White to her daughter-in-law some years earlier. She stated:QSEW 100.1

    “Mary, Willie is in meeting early and late, devising, planning for the doing of better and more efficient work in the cause of God. We see him only at the table.QSEW 100.2

    “Marian will go to him for some little matters that it seems she could settle for herself. She is nervous and hurried and he so worn he has to just shut his teeth together and hold his nerves as best he can. I have had a talk with her and told her she must settle many things herself that she has been bringing Willie.QSEW 100.3

    “Her mind is on every point and the connections, and his mind has been plowing through a variety of difficult subjects until his brain reels and then his mind is in no way prepared to take up these little minutiae. She must just carry some of these things that belong to her part of the work, and not bring them before him nor worry his mind with them. Sometimes I think she will kill us both, all unnecessarily, with her little things she can just as well settle herself as to bring them before us. Every little change of a word she wants us to see. I am about tired of this business.”—Letter 64a, 1889. (See Selected Messages 3:92, 93.)QSEW 100.4

    Whatever changes Marian made in wording eventually received Ellen White’s approval (see question 94).QSEW 100.5

    Marian regarded her contribution to The Desire of Ages to be strictly that of an editor. When C. H. Jones urged that the manuscript be completed immediately, Marian wrote W. C. White:QSEW 100.6

    “Sister White is constantly harassed with the thought that the manuscript should be sent to the printers at once. I wish it were possible to relieve her mind, for the anxiety makes it hard for her to write and for me to work. Sister White seems inclined to write, and I have no doubt she will bring out many precious things. I hope it will be possible to get them into the book. There is one thing, however, that not even the most competent editor could do—that is prepare the manuscript before it is written.”—August 9, 1897, White Estate Received Correspondence File.QSEW 100.7

    In 1904, four weeks before Marian’s death, Ellen White reminisced on the beautiful working relationship that she and Marian had enjoyed for so many years. In her manuscript, “A Tribute to Marian Davis,” she wrote:QSEW 100.8

    “Marian, my helper, faithful and true as the compass to the pole in her work, is dying. My soul is drawn to the dying girl who has served me for the last twenty-five years we have stood side by side in the work, and in perfect harmony in that work. And when she would be gathering up the precious jots and tittles that had come in papers and books and present it to me, ‘Now,’ she would say, ‘there is something wanted [lacking]. I cannot supply it.’ I would look it over, and in one moment I could trace the line right out.QSEW 101.1

    “We worked together, just worked together in perfect harmony all the time. She is dying. And it is devotion to the work. She takes the intensity of it as though it were a reality, and we both have entered into it with an intensity to have every paragraph that shall stand in its right place, and show its right work.”—Manuscript 95, 1904. (See further Selected Messages 3:115-120.)QSEW 101.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font