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Herbert and Anna White with baby Kathryn, c. 1923.

Photo courtesy of the Ellen G. White Estate, Inc. Shared by Adventism in China Digital Image Repository.

White, Herbert Clarence (1896–1962) and Anna Louise (Johnson) (1892–1984)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: May 9, 2022

Herbert and Anna White were Adventist missionaries to China.

Early Life

Herbert Clarence White (怀欧勃特) was one of the twin boys born April 6, 1896, to William Clarence White and his wife, Ethel May (Lacey), at Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia. His twin brother was James Henry. The twins’ younger siblings were Evelyn Grace (b.1900), Arthur Lacey (b.1907) and Francis Edward (b.1913).1 Their half siblings were Ella May (b.1882) and Mabel Eunice (b.1886).2

When the White family transferred from Australia to California in 1900 Herbert went with them and settled at St. Helena. He was baptized by Elder John Henry Behrens in 1906. He attended the St. Helena Sanitarium Intermediate School and advanced to Pacific Union College (PUC) where he spent six years studying theology and completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1921.3

As a teenager Herbert and his twin brother, Henry, learned to operate a small printing press at the home of their grandmother, Ellen White, at her home “Elmshaven.” When the two boys began their studies at PUC the press was transferred and became the College Press, an adjunct of the Industrial Department where some students learned the printing trade and earned their tuition fees.4 During his theology studies Herbert served as the official superintendent of the enterprise and instructed the trainees from 1915 to 1921, in conjunction with Henry.5

Prior to his college graduation Herbert married Anna Louise Johnson (b. 1892) of Swedish heritage, an elementary school teacher. The Federal Census of February 11, 1920, locates them at St. Helena with brother Henry as a boarder.6

Overseas mission Service

In 1923 Herbert, Anna and infant daughter, Kathryn Marie, sailed for China in answer to an appointment for Herbert to be the superintendent of the Signs of the Times Publishing House in Shanghai. In this capacity he served until 1929.7 The establishment printed two main English language periodicals, the newsletter Far Eastern Division Outlook and the China Christian Educator. In addition, the presses delivered two Chinese language papers, Shi Djao Yueh Bao (Signs of the Times) and Wenli (Sabbath School Helper).8 During their term in Shanghai their second daughter, Dorothy Mae, was born in 1924. They returned to San Francisco in July 1929 aboard the “Shinyo Maru.”9

Back in the Homeland

On his return to California Herbert and his family first lived at “Elmshaven” with his parents, two brothers and their families and his sister. There were nine adults and five children in the one spacious household.10 Herbert eventually established his own printing business at Riverside, California, engaged in some public lecturing11 and issued a series of photographic studies such as Peking the Beautiful and Romantic China, all portraying his own photographic work that he had pursued as a hobby while in China. In his later years he was an advocate for organic gardening and wrote articles for the health and preventive medicine magazine Let’s Live.12

Herbert passed away on October 22, 1962, at Arlington, California, and was laid to rest in the Crestlawn Memorial Park, Riverside, California.13 Anna was about ninety-two when she passed away in 1984. She was interred alongside Herbert in Crestlawn Memorial Park.14

Sources

“Anna Louise (Johnson) White.” Find A Grave Memorial, 2022. Accessed March 16, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/205811502/anna-louise-white.

“Herbert Clarence White.” ARH, January 3, 1963.

“Herbert Clarence White.” Ellen G. White Estate, 2022. Accessed March 2, 2022. https://ellenwhite.org/people/1238.

“Herbert Clarence White.” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2022. Accessed March 3, 2020. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/LHP9-NY5.

“Herbert Clarence White.” Find A Grave Memorial, 2022. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/205811475/herbert-clarence-white.

Herbert Clarence White. General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland. Work Service Records. Versatile Box 7303. Folder: Herbert Clarence White. Document: “Biographical Information Form.”

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1924-1928.

Notes

  1. “Herbert Clarence White,” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2022, accessed March 3, 2022, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/LHP9-NY5.

  2. “Herbert Clarence White,” Find A Grave Memorial, 2022, accessed March 3, 2022, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/205811475/herbert-clarence-white.

  3. Herbert Clarence White.” General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland. Work Service Records. Versatile Box 7303. Folder: Herbert Clarence White. Document: “Biographical Information Form.”

  4. “Herbert Clarence White,” ARH, January 3, 1963, 25.

  5. E.g., “Pacific Union College,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1918), 198-199.

  6. “Herbert Clarence White.” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2022, accessed March 3, 2022, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/LHP9-NY5.

  7. “Herbert Clarence White,” ARH, January 3, 1963, 25.

  8. E.g., “Signs of the Times Publishing House,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1925), 243-244.

  9. “Herbert Clarence White.” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2022, accessed March 3, 2022, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/LHP9-NY5.

  10. Ibid.

  11. “Herbert Clarence White.” Ellen G. White Estate, 2022, accessed March 2, 2022, https://ellenwhite.org/people/1238.

  12. “Herbert Clarence White.” Find A Grave Memorial, 2022, accessed March 16, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/205811475/herbert-clarence-white.

  13. Ibid.

  14. “Anna Louise (Johnson) White.” Find A Grave Memorial, 2022, accessed March 16, 2022, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/205811502/anna-louise-white.

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Hook, Milton. "White, Herbert Clarence (1896–1962) and Anna Louise (Johnson) (1892–1984)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 09, 2022. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AJGB.

Hook, Milton. "White, Herbert Clarence (1896–1962) and Anna Louise (Johnson) (1892–1984)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 09, 2022. Date of access May 28, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AJGB.

Hook, Milton (2022, May 09). White, Herbert Clarence (1896–1962) and Anna Louise (Johnson) (1892–1984). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 28, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AJGB.