Pathfinder History Summary

Ellen G White named Among Most Significant Americans by Smithsonian Magazine

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"A leading scholar on Ellen G. White welcomed a decision by Smithsonian magazine to name the cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as one of the 100 most significant Americans of all times.

The magazine places White in a group that includes the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Helen Keller in its Spring 2015 issue. The individuals were chosen with the use of an algorithm that measures data taken from Wikipedia pages and Google book scans.

“It is good to see an institution of Smithsonian’s caliber giving proper acknowledgement to Ellen White,” said William Fagal, associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate, a depository of White's writings.

The cover of the Spring 2015 issue of the Smithsonian magazine that profiles its list of the 100 most significant Amercians of all time.

The cover of the Spring 2015 issue of the Smithsonian magazine that profiles its list of the 100 most significant Amercians of all time.



The Smithsonian, the main publication of the Smithsonian Institute, the world's largest museum and research complex, does not rank the 100 people. Instead, it divides them into 10 categories of 10 people each, and White appears in the category “Religious Figures.” But the magazine did give White the distinction of being the most interesting religious figure in U.S. history by, as it explained in a preface to the list, providing her with more space than the other 10 choices—a full-page article illustrated with a full-page drawing.

The non-bylined article focuses largely on the some 2,000 visions and dreams that White said she experienced from the age of 17 in 1844 until she died 70 years later. It offers a detailed description from White and eyewitnesses about the visions, and it notes that skeptics later hypothesized that the visions might have been caused by epilepsy or mercury poisoning. The article also suggests that White herself connected the visions with a serious childhood head injury that she suffered when she was struck with a stone."

 

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