Wells Allen Ruble was a physician, college professor, college president, medical and health administrator, and medical superintendent.
Early Life and Career
Wells Allen Ruble was born in May 1868 in Aetna, Illinois, to Isaiah Ruble and Maria H. Ruble. He was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1893 at the age of 25.1 Between 1893 and 1897, Ruble attended Battle Creek College, preparing to become a physician. Following his graduation, he married Edith Davies in 1897. They had one daughter, Martha Jane.
In 1897, Wells and his wife, Edith, left for South Africa, where both of them taught courses at Claremont Union College (now Helderberg College) from 1897 to 1902. In 1901, Wells was appointed the third rector (president) of the college. The Rubles returned to the United States in 1902 so that Wells could study for the doctor of medicine degree at Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s American Medical Missionary College in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he graduated with a medical doctor degree in 1906.2
General Conference Medical Leadership
Dr. Ruble was called to Washington, DC, in 1906 to serve as secretary of the Medical Missionary Council at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which had recently been moved to Takoma Park, Maryland. Dr. Ruble also led the work of the Washington Branch Sanitarium on Iowa Circle in the District of Columbia as medical superintendent from 1907 to 1910. During this time, he was also a physician at the Washington Sanitarium in Takoma Park.
General Conference President Arthur G. Daniells became dissatisfied with the management of the Medical Missionary Council during Dr. Ruble’s tenure and believed that the doctor was not doing enough to promote Adventist health and medical ideas in the wider sphere of camp meetings, Chautauquas, and temperance conventions.3 Dr. Ruble was replaced as head of the council in 19104 but later called to lead the denomination’s fledgling medical school in Loma Linda, California.
During his four years in Washington, DC, Dr. Ruble wrote a seven-page pamphlet titled “Liquor, Poverty, and Crime” and collaborated with W. A. Colcord and K. C. Russell in writing a 16-page tract, “Prohibiting the Liquor Traffic,” which they presented to the District Committee of the United States House of Representatives in 1908.5
College of Medical Evangelists’ First President
In 1907, Dr. Ruble had heard Ellen White give a talk urging the church to establish a medical school in Loma Linda, California. He had serious doubts concerning the denomination’s ability to finance and staff such a school. However, he changed his mind three years later and was sent to establish the College of Medical Evangelists (now Loma Linda University) as a full-fledged medical school, serving as its first president from 1910 to 1914.
In 1911, Ellen White sent a letter to Wells A. Ruble, John A. Burden, and Irwin H. Evans, urging them to train more women in the medical profession, particularly as midwives.6 During his tenure as president of the College of Medical Evangelists, Dr. Ruble was appointed once again to head the General Conference agency devoted to medical work, which was renamed the Medical Missionary Department, serving from 1913 to 1915.
Service in England and New England
Following World War I (1914-1918), the Rubles went to England, where Dr. Ruble became the superintendent of the Stanborough Park Sanitarium (later renamed the Stanborough Nursing and Maternity Home) near London. During his nine years in England (1918-1927), he fostered the development of Adventist health institutions throughout Europe. Between 1917 and 1919, Dr. Ruble also wrote many articles and reports for the Review and Herald covering a wide range of topics such as: influenza, harvest ingathering, diet reform, general health principles, drugs, and the interrelationship of liquor, poverty, and crime.
Returning to the United States in 1927, Dr. Ruble served as medical superintendent of the New England Sanitarium (later the New England Memorial Hospital) in Stoneham, Massachusetts, from 1927 until his retirement in 1943 at age 75.
Between 1943 and 1957, Wells and Edith Ruble lived in Loma Linda, California. When the New England Sanitarium added a four-story brick building in 1952, it was named the Ruble Memorial wing to honor Dr. Ruble’s 16 years of service. In 1957, following his wife’s death, Dr. Ruble returned to Stoneham, Massachusetts, to live with his daughter, Martha Jane, whose husband, Dr. Roderick Carruthers, was a physician at the New England Sanitarium. Dr. Wells Allen Ruble died on June 26, 1961, in Stoneham at age 93.
Dr. Wells Allen Ruble’s primary contributions to the Seventh-day Adventist Church lay in two areas. First, in the field of education, he served as a college professor and president at Claremont Union College in South Africa from 1897 to 1902 and at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California, from 1910 to 1914. Second, in the health field, he served as a medical and health administrator directing the Medical Missionary Council from 1906 to 1910 and the Medical Missionary Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists from 1913 to 1915 and was also the medical superintendent of Stanborough Park Sanitarium in England from 1918 to 1927 and of the New England Sanitarium in Stoneham, Massachusetts, from 1927 to 1943.
McArthur, Benjamin A. Arthur G. Daniells: Shaper of the Twentieth-Century Church. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2015.
Report of the Hearings on H.R. 1730 to Prevent the Manufacture and Sale of Alcoholic Drinks in the District of Columbia, Part III, Hearing Granted to Proponents of the Bill, April 1, 1908. Accessed May 20, 2019. https://books.google.com.
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1907-1911. Online Archives, Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/Forms/AllItems.aspx.
The graduating class of 1906, American Medical Missionary College (photo with caption). American Medical Missionary College Collection, Loma Linda University Digital Archives. Accessed May 20, 2019. https://cdm.llu.edu/digital/collection/ammc/id/8/.
“Wells Allan Ruble obituary.” ARH. August 3, 1861.
White, Ellen G. Correspondence to Brethren W. A. Ruble, J. A. Burden, and I. H. Evans. May 7, 1911. Letter 22, 1911. Center for Adventist Research, James White Library. Andrews University.
Illinois. Aetna, Logan County. 1870 United States Census. Census Place Image: 222016.
McFarland, Kenneth, and W. Augustus Cheatham, eds. Railway to the Moon: The Impossible Dream. Boise, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2005.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “After Influenza, What?” ARH. October 31, 1918.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “Conservation of Life and Living.” ARH. November 22, 1917.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “Diet Reform from a Scientific Standpoint.” ARH. November 15, 1917.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “Former Director of New England Sanitarium Speaks at Capping Ceremony.” ARH. October 3, 1957.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “From the Midnight Cry to the Loud Cry.” ARH. July 7, 1949.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “Institute of War-time Nursing.” ARH. September 19, 1918.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “Institute of War-time Nursing.” ARH. November 14, 1918.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “Institute of War-time Nursing.” ARH. December 12, 1918.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “Liquor, Poverty, and Crime.” Life and Health Leaflets #2. n.d.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “The Next Epidemic: Are We Prepared for It?” ARH. November 28, 1918.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “The Past Year at the New England Sanitarium.” ARH. February 14, 1918.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “A Propitious Occasion.” ARH. December 6, 1917.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “Rational Treatment versus Drug Medication.” ARH. November 29, 1917.
Ruble, Wells Allen. “The Relation of Our Medical Work to This Movement.” ARH. January 2, 1919.
“Ruble, Wells Allen.” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Volume 2: M-Z. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996.
Strayer, Brian E. Eds. Denis Fortin and Jerry Moon. “Ruble, Wells Allen.” The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2013.
“Wells Allan Ruble obituary,” ARH, August 3, 1861, 26.↩
The graduating class of 1906, American Medical Missionary College (photo with caption), American Medical Missionary College Collection, Loma Linda University Digital Archives, accessed May 20, 2019, https://cdm.llu.edu/digital/collection/ammc/id/8/.↩
Benjamin McArthur, Arthur G. Daniells: Shaper of the Twentieth-Century Church (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2015), 312-313.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1907-1911), Online Archives, Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, accessed May 20, 2019, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/Forms/AllItems.aspx.↩
Report of the Hearings on H.R. 1730 to Prevent the Manufacture and Sale of Alcoholic Drinks in the District of Columbia, Part III, Hearing Granted to Proponents of the Bill, April 1, 1908, 71-81, accessed May 20, 2019, https://books.google.com.↩
Ellen G. White to Brethren Ruble, Burden and Evans, May 7, 1911, Letter 22, 1911, Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University.↩