In his youth James White was a school teacher. He later became a Christian minister in Maine. He accepted William Miller’s views on the second advent and was successful in preaching the doctrine of the soon coming of the Savior.
He was a talented and capable executive, missionary leader, and powerful public evangelist. Not only did he participate with William Miller, Joseph Bates, and scores of other preachers in announcing the advent of our Lord near in the 1840′s, but he outlived the Millerite movement to become the first great apostle of the Seventh-day Adventist cause.
White was the publisher of the first periodical issued by Seventh-day Adventists, Present Truth (1849); the first editor of the Review and Herald (1850), the Youth’s Instructor (1852), also the Signs of the Times (1874). He was president of the General Conference between 1865-1967, 1869-1871, and 1874-1880.
If there was a founder of the Review and Herald Publishing Association, it was James White along with his wife, Ellen. He was the sponsor and promoter of the Pacific Press Publishing Association.
He died August 6, 1881, when he was only sixty. He literally worked himself to death. The brethren leaned on him so heavily that his towering figure fell. His sixty years of life were spent unselfishly and sacrificially. No other Seventh-day Adventist minister did more than he to build high principle and efficiency into the life of our churches and institutions.