Fannie's Folly: Part 1 of the Unfinished Story of Fannie Bolton and Marian Davis
By Alice Elizabeth Gregg, Adventist Currents, October 1983
Had Ellen White been prescient, she would never have employed
Fannie Bolton or Marian Davis as her editors. Nor would she have
written the letters to Fannie and Marian that appeared in "The
Fannie Bolton Story: A Collection of Source Documents" released
by the Ellen G. White Estate in 1982. But she did not know the
end from the beginning; and as a result, the struggle over the
dark secret they shared was to belong irrevocably to the annals
of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
The barrage of words hurled from typewriter to typewriter, as
can be read in that collection, barely gives a clue that much
of the drama took place in the harsh and beautiful continent of
Australia - land of the outback, the billabongs, the coolabah
trees, and the koalas. The names of Cooranbong, Melbourne, and
Adelaide, dropped occasionally in the letters, are only incidental
to the conflict between the antagonists in the story.
The Story, a quasi biography of Frances Eugenia Bolton, cites
her birthday as August 1, 1859. Her death certificate indicates
that her birthplace was Chicago, Illinois.1 Her father was
a Methodist minister, and she had at least two brothers. Her picture
on the title page of The Story shows an attractive brunette with
the small, chiseled features that might please a cosmetologist.
Fannie was a June 18, 1883, graduate of the Preparatory School
(high school) of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois;
and she delivered one of the commencement orations, "The
Flight of the Gods."2 The Story indicates that she attended
"Lady's Seminary" and/or "Evanston College."
Whether she went beyond the preparatory school at that time has
not yet been substantiated. What is known is that after her schooling
she found work as a correspondent with the [Chicago] Daily Inter-Ocean,
one of the predecessors of the Chicago Tribune.
She was converted to Seventh-day Adventism in 1885 by George B.
Starr, a minister at the Chicago Mission. Fannie first met Ellen
Gould White, Seventh-day Adventism's messenger, at the Springfield,
Illinois, campmeeting in 1887 when she was reporting for the paper.
She was then twenty-eight years old. Because of her background
it was natural that she be asked to edit Ellen's sermons. According
to Fannie's account to a friend, Ellen was pleased with the way
she made the sermons over for the press, and she wished to employ
Ellen had recently returned from Europe filled with ideas for
writing books and articles. The Great Controversy was finished.
The Desire of Ages was a dream, and the Adventist periodicals
were constantly clamoring for articles. Marian Davis had been
working for Ellen since 1879 and editing for her since the death
of James White, her husband, in 1881. But with the numbers of
requests for articles, tracts, books, and letters, Marian was
staggering under the load. Ellen had to have more help, and Fannie
was a likely candidate.
William C. White, Ellen's son, and Dores E. Robinson, her grandson-in-law,
recalled many years later that Fannie "was recommended to
her as a young woman of rare talents, of good education, and an
earnest Christian." The arrangement for employment was beneficial
for both Ellen and Fannie, they wrote, and Fannie "proved
to be brilliant and entertaining, and, although somewhat erratic
at times, was loved by the other members of the family."
When Ellen left the campmeeting circuit to return to her home
in California, she arranged for Fannie to meet her and her party
at the Chicago depot so that they could travel together. Ellen
was "not with her party, so Elder Starr hunted around till
he found her behind a screen in the restaurant very gratified
in eating big white raw oysters with vinegar, pepper and salt,"
Fannie wrote; and on the same trip Willie White brought into the
car a "thick piece of bloody beefsteak" for Sara McEnterfer,
one of Ellen's valued employees, to cook on a small oil stove.
These incidents were shocking to Fannie, who had "lived up
to the testimonies with all faithfulness discarding meat, butter,
fish, fowl and the supper meal, believing that as the 'Testimonies'
say, 'no meat-eater will be translated.'"5
When the party arrived in California, Fannie was given specific
instructions regarding her assignment. She was told at the outset
that she was to work under the direction of Marian in preparing
letters, or "testimonies," as they were usually referred
to, and in editing articles for publication. She was told also,
according to White and Robinson, that the "matters revealed
to Mrs. White in vision, were not a word for word narration of
events with their lessons, but that they were generally flash-light
or panoramic views of various scenes in the experiences of men,
sometimes in the past, and sometimes in the future, together with
the lessons connected with these experiences."
Likewise she was told about Ellen's tendency to make errors of
mechanic (spelling, capitalization, punctuation) and of syntax,
to be repetitious, and to fall short of organizing her material
well - all of which the editors should correct, modify, or rearrange
for clarity and effectiveness.6
Fannie enjoyed working on articles for publication, according
to White and Robinson, but "she found the copying of letters
of reproof to be distasteful and revolting to her. She was heard
to say that she wished there were no such word as 'don't' in the
The first year of working with Fannie seemed a happy experience
for Ellen. She wrote on February 13, 1888: "Fannie Bolton
is a treasure to me. We are all harmonious, all working unitedly
and in love."8
Fannie, however, was finding some aspects of her work appalling.
Early during her employment she showed Marian some material she
was working on, and to her surprise Marian asked if she had compared
the chronology with Eidersheim or another standard religious writer.
When Fannie told her that the Lord was a correct historian, Marian
replied that Ellen was not. In recounting the story for his paper,
The Gathering Call, Edward S. Ballenger later wrote that Fannie,
on comparing, was "shocked and astonished to face a paragraph
exactly like the one in the articles she was copying, although
there was no sign in the articles of its being a quotation, and
on turning a page found a whole page which in the articles was
only changed enough to prevent its being an exact quotation."
Ballenger went on to explain that Marian tried to reassure Fannie
by saying that "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness
thereof." But Fannie was not satisfied.9
In the days that followed, Fannie found that many authors' works
were used without credit. Nor was credit given to Fannie or to
Marian for their original work incorporated in articles going
out over Ellen's name and, moreover, represented as inspired of
God. Thus Fannie found herself involved in something she believed
to be dishonest. Conscience-stricken and disillusioned, she brought
the matter up with Ellen, in the conviction that she ought to
uphold the "principle of ordinary justice and literary honesty
[and be] a martyr for truth's sake."10 There were golden
rules for writing that were not being followed, she told Ellen.
What Ellen said at that time is not known or included in The Story,
but evidently she was intractable, inasmuch as Fannie retired
to the typewriter and to doing the work assigned to her.
After the 1888 General Conference meeting in Minneapolis, Ellen
went to live in Battle Creek; and in December Fannie and Marian
were called from California. White and Robinson recollected that
"on the way to Battle Creek, Miss Bolton spent a week in
Chicago. There she met many of her former acquaintances, and found
many things to remind her of old time experiences and ambitions.
Soon after this she made it known to her fellow-workers that she
was not satisfied to spend all her life in handling the thoughts
and writings of another person. She had thoughts and ideas of
her own, and longed to give expression to them."11
Although Fannie went on working for Ellen, the situation continued
to deteriorate. At last, not yet two years after Fannie began
working, White wrote to Charles H. Jones of the Pacific Health
Journal on June 23, 1889, suggesting that it would be profitable
for him to employ Fannie. "I believe that Sister Bolton is
much better qualified for work on a journal like the Pacific Health
Journal," he wrote, "for in this she would have more
occasion for original work, and it would not demand the accuracy
which our work on the Signs must have."12
Since Jones obviously, for whatever reason, did not employ her,
Fannie continued working for Ellen, trying to "harmonize
what seemed to [her] an inconsistency in the work with a worldly
literary maxim that requires an author to acknowledge his editors
and give credit to all works from which he quotes" and holding
to "the position in [her] mind that Sister White should acknowledge
her editors and every source from which she obtained suggestion
Fannie must have kept the subject of crediting authors and editors
fresh before Ellen during those months, for by the autumn of 1890
she was fired. Having found some courses that she wanted to take
at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Fannie eased herself
out of her job, with the exception of a few of Ellen's manuscripts
that she took with her to edit. About this, Ellen wrote that Fannie
"asked for some articles of mine to take with her to Ann
Arbor, saying she loved the work. But I now think that she wished
to use the pretext that she was employed by me in order to gain
the confidence of others because I trusted her as my agent to
prepare copy for my books. I see my folly now."14
Writing an apology to Ellen, Fannie said "I can not help
writing to you because God has helped me so much since I last
saw you. I did feel so sad about being severed from your work
when I had just become so reconciled, so anxious to do it; but
I cast all my perplexity on God."15
A year later, in the autumn of 1891, the General Conference asked
Ellen White to go to Australia. When Sara McEnterfer unfortunately
became ill with malaria, Ellen, to the surprise of others in the
inner circle, invited Fannie to go with her as a replacement for
Sara. Ellen acknowledged later that "Fannie pleaded hard
and with tears to come with me [to Australia] to engage with me
in the work of preparing articles for the papers. She declared
she had met with a great change, and was not at all the person
she was when she told me she desired to write herself and could
not consent that her talent would be buried up in the work of
preparing my articles for the papers and books. She felt she was
full of the matter and had talent she must put to use in writing
which she could not do connected with me."16
Once in Australia, Fannie settled into the work with her usual
speed and efficiency. In a letter of October 7, 1892, she wrote
that she had copied forty-two pages of the mail, had sent off
seven articles for the Review and six for the Signs, and had prepared
four articles more since the mail had gone.17 On May 4, 1893,
she wrote that she had rushed down town the day before and mailed
eleven articles to Ellen - seven or eight for the Youth's Instructor,
one for the Signs, and one for the Review.18
When campmeeting time came in 1894 (January 5-28), Fannie was
ready for a vacation. Campmeetings were times for refreshing and
exchanging experiences and views; and Fannie, a workaholic by
nature, looked forward to them. While she was there, it is likely
that friends told Fannie how wonderful it must be to work for
such an inspired and brilliant writer as Ellen; and Fannie would
have thought it was important to put the record straight. "She
talked much to friends and acquaintances in Melbourne about the
difficulties attending her work, and the faulty way in which some
of the manuscripts were written," recalled White and Robinson
of the occasion. "Her estimate of the great improvements
made by the editors was dwelt upon, and the work of Mrs. White
was belittled. Again she expressed her decided conviction that
the talents of the copyists and their work should receive public
At the same time she told Merritt G. Kellogg, half-brother of
John Harvey Kellogg and William K. Kellogg, that she was "writing
all the time for Sister White." Furthermore, she said that most of what she wrote was "published in the Review and Herald...as
having been written by Sister White under inspiration of God...I
am greatly distressed over this matter, for I feel that I am acting
a deceptive part. The people are being deceived about the inspiration
of what I write. I feel that it is a great wrong that anything
which I write should go out under Sister White's name as an article
specially inspired of God. What I write should go out over my
own signature[;] then credit would be given where credit belongs."
The essence of her complaints, as Fannie would express it to Ellen
later when she looked back, was: "I thought as I have always
thought before, that you did not see my perplexity, or comprehend
my trouble, that IT WAS YOUR WITHHOLDING OF THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR
WRITINGS in not acknowledging your editorial help, that was at
the bottom of all the perplexity, and that your work was not as
you say the work of God ought to be, 'AS OPEN AS SUNLIGHT'"
When Ellen found out that Fannie was revealing her working methods,
she had a vision, according to what she told George B. Starr:
"There appeared a chariot of gold and horses of silver above
me, and Jesus, in royal majesty, was seated in the chariot....
Then there came the words rolling down over the clouds from the
chariot from the lips of Jesus, 'Fannie Bolton is your adversary!
Fanny Bolton is your adversary!' repeated three times."22
Ellen wrote Marian also that she was "warned" that Fannie
was her adversary.23
On February 6, 1894, Ellen wrote Fannie: "Now, my sister,
I do not want you to be any longer connected with me in my work.
I mean now, for your good, that you should never have another
opportunity to do as you have done in the past."24
The only reference Ellen made in that letter to the matter of
her "copying" from other authors was: "SHOULD I
ATTEMPT TO VINDICATE MY COURSE TO THOSE WHO DO NOT APPRECIATE
THE SPIRITUAL CHARACTER OF THE WORK WHICH IS LAID UPON ME, IT
WOULD ONLY EXPOSE MYSELF AND THE WORK TO MISCONCEPTION AND MISREPRESENTATION.
To present the matter before other minds would be useless, for
there are but few who are really so connected with God [who] see
beneath the surface appearance as to understand it. This work
is one that I cannot explain."25
Since she could not explain the copying - because to do so would
disclose it - Ellen wrote ad hominem on Fannie's character, about
which she could say much: "You are not a safe and capable
worker. Your mind is subject to changes; first it is elated, then
depressed. The impression made by this frequent change is startling.
Self-control is not brought into your life. You choose a life
of change, crowded with different interests and occupations, therefore
you cannot possibly put your life, as you suppose you have done,
into this work; you are most wonderfully deceived in thinking
you do this.... All you engage in tastes so strongly of the dish
that it is not acceptable to God."26
On the same day Ellen wrote to her son Willie: "Her love
of ambition, her love of praise, and her idea of her own ability
and talent was the open door Satan had entered to not only ruin
her soul, but to imperil the work given me of God.... I am in
a very grave perplexity and when I see how Satan works to take
the very ones who ought to be intelligent and sharp as steel to
understand their position before God, and their privileges and
honor to have a part in the work, become disloyal, surmising,
and whispering evil and putting the same into other minds, it
is time decisive measures are taken that will correct the disaffection
before it shall spread farther."27
Ellen spared no rhetoric in her invective during this period.
She wrote to O.A. Olsen, the General Conference president: "Her
ardent love for praise and ambition was very similar to that presented
to me in regard to the workings of Satan in the heavenly courts
to bring disaffection among the angels."28
To Marian, she wrote: "She becomes at times as verily possessed
be demons as were human beings in the days of Christ. And when
these paroxysms are upon her, many think she is inspired of God.
She is fluent, her words come thick and fast, and she is under
the control of demons."29
"If she were converted," she wrote to George A. Irwin,
soon to become the General Conference president, "she would
have a clear understanding of the influence of her past misrepresentations
of the work she has done for me, and would confess some of her
misstatements regarding it, which have been used by the enemy
to unsettle and undermine the faith of many, in the testimonies
of the Spirit of God."30
To Willie, Ellen likened Fannie to Aaron and Miriam: "Aaron
had been mouth-piece for Moses, and Miriam was a teacher of the
women. But now come whisperings between the brother and sister
in murmurings and jealousies against Moses, and they were guilty
of disloyalty, not only to their Leader appointed of God but God
Himself.... Those who give place to Satan's suggestions in their
desperate efforts in panting for recognition of talents they flatter
themselves that they possess, will be so blinded by the enemy
that they will not discern sacred things in distinction from the
common." In the same letter to Willie, she said that Fannie
was like Eve: "Again the warning came, 'Fannie is your adversary,
and is misleading minds by entertaining the suggestions of Satan
as did Eve in Eden.'"31
To Fannie on the same day she wrote, in the third person singular,
about Fannie's likeness to Saul: "My prayer is that God will
convert the poor child [Fannie], that she may understand the leadings
of His Holy Spirit. The character of Saul is a marked one. There
was strength and weakness combined. Gifts of talent were bestowed
upon him, and had he consecrated these gifts wholly to God, he
would not have dishonored himself by his own transgression."
Impaling Fannie thus on her sharp pen, Ellen was able to divert
attention from the copying problem to Fannie's character. Nowhere
in the record does Ellen say to Fannie, "Let's give credit
where credit is due. Let's do the right thing." The red herring
assault on Fannie's personality was the perfect tactic.
Fannie was remorseful, to say the least, having just lost her
job, and she wrote to Ellen: "I can see just how Satan has
come and has always found something in me whereby he could work
to harass and distress those with whom I was associated. Self
has never died fully and therefore a door was left for the entrance
of the enemy. The bottom of all my trouble has been self, and
that is Satanic.... In doing the work, I have looked at what was
perplexing, and handling it day after day, have lost the real
sense of its sacredness, and began to look upon it from a literary
standpoint alone. I don't know that it is quite just to put it
in that way either; for I have had a sense of what it was to me,
and to all, above that of a mere literary matter.... My faith
in the testimonies is stronger today than ever, and I feel that
I want to put my whole influence on the side of upbuilding the
faith of God's people in this great and sacred work."33
Ellen wrote back to Fannie the next day, on February 10, 1894:
"I received and read your letter, and assure you that my
heart is deeply touched by its contents. I accept your confession.
As far as yourself and your connection with me personally is concerned,
I have and do freely forgive you."34 Fannie was rehired
on the spot.
Whether this was startling to Ellen's cadre is not known. They
knew that Fannie was good help, and Ellen needed her help. Willie's
letter to Edson, his brother, on October 25, 1895, confirmed that:
"She [Fannie] has remarkable talent and handles mother's
matters very intelligently and rapidly, turning off more than
twice as much work in a given time as any other editor mother
has ever employed."35
But not all was well with Fannie. She was in the process of forming
a near-adulterous relationship with a married man. Ellen had hired
a youngish man by the name of W.F. Caldwell in 1893 to help Fannie
with the typing. He had been separated from his wide and two children
for three years. Caldwell took to the cloistered life and showed
"a fondness for the society of young girls and [was] full
of gaiety, conducting himself like a boy," as Ellen later
wrote pejoratively to I.N. Williams, president of Caldwell's home
conference.36 Although Caldwell's wife later divorced him,
this had not been done before Fannie and he had formed "the
attachment and love and had been pledged to one another, Fannie
to Caldwell, and Caldwell to Fannie." Ellen reported to John
As meliorist, Ellen pointed out to Fannie the less-than-heroic
character of Caldwell: "The Lord has a controversy with Brother
Caldwell. His love of self, his love of self-gratification, and
his determination to have his own way, have made him unreasonable,
overbearing, dictatorial. His practice of over-eating has taxed
his digestive organs, distended his stomach, and taxed his nature
to endure a burden that has reacted upon the brain, and his memory
Fannie denied at first that there was any affection between them.
"She stood before me in my tent," Ellen wrote to her
friends the Tenneys, "and declared that there was nothing
to the reports. For one year after this, she was good for nothing
to me, only a dead, heavy load." Fannie finally admitted
that she loved Caldwell with all her heart and the "three
times has this cup of bliss [engagement] been presented to me,
and then been snatched away."39
Although Ellen was able to nip the romance in the bud, she continued
over a period of two years to write to various people about the
unseemly liaison: "It is not the work connected with me that
has prostrated her [Fannie's] nervous system," Ellen wrote
to Willard A. Colcord. "It is practicing a course of secrecy
and deception and wrong-doing. It is not the requirements made
upon her, but it is kindling a fire and walking in the sparks
of her own kindling in connection with her wonderful desire for
another woman's husband; lovesick sentimentalism."40
Rummaging in the past, Ellen brought out Fannie's dead second
romance to couple with this third incident. In Ann Arbor Fannie
had met a Californian named Blakley (first name not given) and
had fallen in love with him.41 When she went to Australia,
Ellen told Colcord, "she expected he [Blakley] would write
her, renewing his attentions to her, but no letter was received,
and she almost blasphemed God because of His providence."
42 Ellen wrote to John Harvey Kellogg also about the Blakley
matter, saying that Fannie "acted at times as if possessed
of an evil spirit, and she set in to make us all miserable...
[and] was sometimes impudent and accusing."43
When campmeeting time rolled around in 1895 (October 17 to November
11), Fannie was there to meet her Waterloo. Again she told her
secret. Ellen wrote that she stood "like a sheep bleating
about the fold."44 The bleating and the romantic entanglement
were too much for Ellen. Kellogg wrote Ballenger of Fannie's report
that she and Marian Davis had to go over the material copied from
the books of other writers "and transpose sentences and change
paragraphs and otherwise endeavor to hide the piracy," and
as a result of Fannie's objections, Ellen not only dismissed her
but slapped her face.45
Finally, on November 12, 1895, Ellen wrote to Marian: "I
have given nothing into Fannie's hands, and never expect to give
her another chance to seek to betray me and turn traitor. I have
had enough of 'talent' and 'ability' to last me a lifetime."
Again on November 29 she wrote to Marian, "I have served
my time with Fannie Bolton."46
This was to have been the end of Fannie's term of service. Off
and on, for a period of seven and a half years, Fannie had worked
for Ellen. Now, the once "Christlike," "brilliant,"
"entertaining," "talented," "educated,"
and "productive" Fannie had degenerated, according to
Ellen's recriminations, into a "poor, shallow soul,"
a "flashing meteor," a "practicer of deception,"
a "lovesick sentimentalist," a "pretentious actor,"
a "poor, deluded, misshapen character," and a "farce,"
and said she had become "trying," "provoking,"
"one-sided," "impulsive," "fickle,"
"unbalanced," depressed," "vacillating,"
Incredible as it may seem, Fannie was invited to work for Ellen
a fourth time. As Fannie quoted Ellen's words back to her later,
Ellen said that she had been told by an "unseen presence
on March 20, 1895," that Fannie was to be taken back into
the work: "If she [Fannie] separates now from you,' said
the spirit, 'Satan's net is prepared for her feet. She is not
in a condition to be left to herself now to be consumed of herself.
She feels regret and remorse. I am her Redeemer, I will restore
her if she will not exalt and honor and glorify herself. If she
goes from you now, there is a chain of circumstances which will
bring her into difficulties which will be her ruin.'"48
In 1900 Ellen wrote to Irwin giving the reason for asking Fannie
back a fourth time: "I now see why I was directed to give
Fannie another trial. There are those who misunderstood me because
of Fannie's misrepresentations. These were watching to see what
course I would take in regard to her. They would have represented
that I had abused poor Fannie Bolton. In following the directions
to take her back, I took away all occasion for criticism from
those who were ready to condemn me."49
But Fannie was broken in body and in spirit. The years of overwork
and stress had taken their toll of her less than robust physical
and emotional health, leaving Fannie in no condition to work,
and she decided to return to America. Her ship sailed on May 10,
The conflict might have died there, but Fannie talked again and
again, wavering between loyalty to her literary maxims and to
Ellen and her work. In 1897 Ellen was still smarting from the
reports when she wrote to Fannie in April: "I will cut off
the influence of your tongue in every way I can,"50 and
to the Tenneys in July: "Her imagination is very strong,
and she makes such exaggerated statements that her words are not
Fannie had given the reason for her conflict in 1894. "I
felt that you were the servant of God," she wrote to Ellen,
"and that I should be with you, there would be more hope
of my salvation, than if I remained in any other branch of work.
I thought that were I editing your writings, I should be found
in the time of judgment giving meat in due season."52
Finally, in 1901, to the great relief of Ellen's supporters, Fannie
wrote what they considered to be her true confession: "I
thank God that He has kept Sister White from following my supposed
superior wisdom and righteousness, and has kept her from acknowledging
editors or authors; but has given to the people the unadulterated
expression of God's mind. Had she done as I wished her to do,
the gift would have been degraded to a common authorship, its
importance lost, its authority undermined, and its blessing lost
to the world."53
The last letter Ellen wrote to or about Fannie, according to The
Story, was the one to Irwin in 1900. She was nearing age seventy-three,
and Fannie was in her forty-first year. Perhaps Willie took over
the controversy at that time. He wrote to Stephen N. Haskell:
"It is no doubt a relief to you to write a few lines in each
letter about Sister Bolton [to Ellen], but unless there is some
obvious good to be accomplished, something definite to be done
in response to what you write, it would be much pleasanter for
Mother and greatly for the advancement of her work if such unpleasant
things were not mentioned. The loss of two or three night's sleep
over such a matter may deprive Mother of the strength which might
have been used in bringing out some very important general matter
for the instruction of the churches."54
In 1911, when Fannie was fifty-two years of age, her emotional
health broke, and she was admitted to the Kalamazoo State Hospital.
She was released after thirteen months (February 20, 1911, to
March 18, 1912). Less than two years before she died, she was
admitted again for three months (October 9, 1924, to January 21,
1925). To Fannie's detractors, this was an indication that divine
retribution was being meted out in the here and now, and positive
proof that she had been unbalanced all along.
Fannie was heard from off and on during the years following her
employment with Ellen. As late as 1914 she wrote: "I was
with Mrs. White for seven and a half years like a soul on a rock,
because of all kinds of inconsistencies, injustices and chicaneries."
Three songs for which she had composed the music, one with words,
were published in Christ in Song.56 In her possession when
she died, according to Hattie L. Porter, "were a lot of poems,
some finished, and some not. She had thought to get them out in
book form, but was too near the end of life to finish the work.
Some of these poems were worthy of a place in our papers, and
some showed her physical powers had weakened, and her mentality
could not operate. These she knew were incomplete, and she called
There was an Adventist man, Hattie wrote, who had wanted to marry
Fannie; "but she could not see light in such a course with
her health gone, but he visited her often, paid for her room and
board and care, and funeral expenses, together with the sustentation
check sent."58 (Whether the man was Blakley or Caldwell
or someone else is not known.)
Fannie died in 1926 at Battle Creek, according to the Review,
on June 28. She was not yet sixty-seven years of age. Her friend
Hattie wrote the obituary for the Review: "The peaceful expression
on her face told us she felt ready to meet her Master." One
of Fannie's own compositions was sung - "Not I but Christ."
She was buried at Eureka, Michigan.59
Ironically, her death certificate gives her occupation as "letter
writer," the part of her work for Ellen that she disliked
the very most.
1. The Calhoun Country, Michigan, death certificate (213-3126) filed 1 July 1926 for Frances E. Bolton, 36 Manchester Street, Battle Creek, notes that the informant for the "personal and historical particulars" was Josephine Huffman, of 68 Oaklawn Street.
2. Fannie's attendance years, graduation date, and the commencement oration title were provided 12 May 1983 by Northwestern University Library archivist, Patrick M. Quinn, who noted in passing that June 1983 was the hundredth anniversary of her graduation. The registrar's office at the University of Michigan certified in a letter of 26 May 1983 that Fannie was a full-time student in the liberal arts school there at Ann Arbor for the term September 1890 to June 1891, eight years after leaving Northwestern.
3. Ellen G. White Estate, comp., The Fannie Bolton Story: A Collection of Source Documents (Washington, D.C.: General Conference of SDA, 1982), Fannie Bolton to Mrs. E.C. Slawson, 30 December 1914; p. 108. (This compilation is hereafter referred to as The Story. Mrs. White is referred to as EGW. Unless another source is stated, the quotations in this Part 1 article are from The Story. The numbers shown for letters written by EGW refer to the file numbers at the White Estate. The page numbers are those in The Story collection.)
4. William C. White and Dores E. Robinson, The Work of Mrs. E.G. White's Editors (St. Helena, CA: Elmshaven Office, 30 August 1933), p. 3. (Hereafter referred to as The Work; Mr. White hereafter referred to as White or Willie.)
5. Bolton to Slawson, 30 December 1914; pp. 108-9.
6. White and Robinson, The Work, p. 3.
7. Ibid., p. 4.
8. EGW to Stephen N. Haskell and Mr. And Mrs. William Ings, 13 February 1888 (Letter 25); p. 1.
9. Edward S. Ballenger, ed., The Gathering Call, February 1932, pp. 16-22. Quoted in The Story, pp. 113-16.
10. Fannie Bolton, "A Confession Concerning the Testimony of Jesus," ca. April 1901; p. 102.
11. White and Robinson, The Work, p. 5.
12. White to Charles H. Jones, 23 June 1889; p. 2.
13. Bolton, "A Confession," ca. April 1901; p. 102.
14. EGW to Marian Davis, 29 October 1895 (Letter 102); p. 44.
15. Bolton to EGW, 30 April 1891; pp. 2-3.
16. EGW to White, 6 February 1894 (Letter 88); pp. 28-29.
17. Bolton to EGW, May Lacey, and Emily Campbell, 7 October 1892; p. 8.
18. Bolton to EGW, 4 May 1893; p. 12.
19. White and Robinson, The Work, p. 12.
20. Merritt G. Kellogg statement [March 1908], The Story, p. 107.
21. Bolton to EGW, 5 July 1897; p. 81.
22. George B. Starr, "The Watchcare of Jesus over the Writings Connected with the Testimony of Jesus," 2 June 1915, The Story, p. 110.
23. EGW to Marian Davis, 29 October 1895 (Letter 102); p. 42.
24. EGW to Bolton, 6 February 1894 (Letter 7); pp. 20-21.
25. Ibid., p. 27.
26. Ibid., p. 21.
27. EGW to White, 6 February 1894 (Letter 88); pp. 29, 32.
28. EGW to Ole A. Olsen, 5 February 1894 (Letter 59); pp. 19-20.
29. EGW to Davis, 29 October 1895 (Letter 102); p. 44.
30. EGW to George A. Irwin, 23 April 1900 (Letter 61; revision of 61-a; pp. 92-4); p. 95.
31. EGW to White, 6 February 1894 (Letter 88); pp. 31, 29.
32. EGW to Bolton, 6 February 1894 (Letter 7); pp. 20, 27-28.
33. Bolton to EGW, 9 February 1894; pp. 32-33.
34. EGW to Bolton, 10 February 1894 (Letter 6); p. 34.
35. William C. White to J. Edson White, 25 October 1895; p. 41.
36. EGW to I.N. Williams, 12 April 1896 (Letter 104); p. 70.
37. EGW to John Harvey Kellogg, 20 December 1895 (Letter 106); p. 60.
38. EGW to Bolton, 26 November 1895 (Letter 115); pp. 52-53.
39. EGW to Mr. And Mrs. George C. Tenney, 1 July 1897 (Letter 114); pp. 79-80.
40. EGW to Willard A. Colcord, 7 January 1896 (Letter 21); p. 62.
41. EGW to Kellogg, 20 December 1895 (Letter 106); p. 60.
42. EGW to Colcord, 7 January 1896 (Letter 21); p. 62.
43. EGW to Kellogg, 20 December 1895 (Letter 106); p. 60.
44. EGW Manuscript 12-d 19[20?] March 1896; p. 64.
45. John Harvey Kellogg to Edward S. Ballenger, 9 January 1936. Quoted in The Story, p. 120. Full paragraph:
Fannie Bolton was with her at that time. A year or two later she returned to Battle Creek. She left Mrs. White who incorporated in one of her books something she had herself written and without giving credit. She said Mrs. White was in the habit of doing this, copying from various other books, so that she and Mary Ann Davis had to go over the material and transpose sentences and change paragraphs and in otherwise endeavor to hide the piracy. She spoke to Mrs. White about it and objected to having her own manuscript used without credit. Mrs. White was very angry and slapped her face. She mentioned the circumstance to one of the preachers and was forthwith dismissed from Mrs. White's employ and came back to America.
46. EGW to Davis, 12 November 1895 (Letter 103); 29 November 1895 (Letter 22-a); p. 49 and pp. 53-54.
47. The Story, passim.
48. Bolton to EGW, 5 July 1897, quoting from EGW Manuscript 12-c (1 April 1896; 20 March dateline [see p. 65]); p. 85.
49. EGW to Irwin, 23 April 1900 (Letter 61; revision of 61-a, pp. 92-94); pp. 95-96.
50. EGW to Bolton, 11 April 1897 (Letter 25); p. 74.
51. EGW to Tenney, 5 July 1897 (Letter 115); p. 80.
52. Bolton to EGW, 9 February 1894; pp. 32-33.
53. Bolton, "A Confession," ca. April 1901; p. 106.
54. White to Stephen N. Haskell, 13 July 1900; p. 101.
55. Bolton to Slawson, 30 December 1914; pp. 108-9.
56. The hymnal Christ in Song (first published by the Review and Herald in 1908) contained three songs copyrighted by Fannie: No. 197, "Come Out in the Sunshine," words and tune; No. 209, "The Dove of Peace," tune only (words by S. H. Bolton, perhaps her father?); No. 230, "Not I, but Christ" (words adapted from Galatians 2:20).
57. Hattie L. Porter to William A. Spicer, 25 July 1933; p. 117.
58. Ibid., p. 118.
59. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 103:41 (5 August 1926), p. 22.
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