During the 1960s the White
Estate Branch Office and the Adventist Heritage Center developed under
the respective leadership of Hedwig Jemison and Louise Dederen. Through
the years these entities have aided Andrews University and the Seventh-day
Adventist Church in keeping the vision alive of God's leading in the advent
movement. The following is a brief outline of the respective histories
and the current arrangements.
ADVENTIST HERITAGE CENTER
The collection of historical resources began at Emmanuel Missionary
College (forerunner of Andrews University) during the early part of the
twentieth century. In 1959-1960, the Seventh-day Adventist Theological
Seminary Library moved to Berrien Springs from Washington, D.C., bringing
with it a strong collection of Seventh-day Adventist related materials,
including the Advent Source Collection, which greatly augmented the Heritage
Room collection. In 1966 Louise Dederen became the first Curator of the
James White Library Heritage Room.
She played a pioneering role in the development and organization ofthe
Adventist Heritage Center. Between 1966 and 1991, when Mrs. Dederen retired,
the Center grew from 1000 to over 5000 square feet. From 1991 onward under
the curatorship of James Ford the Center continued to add resources and
organize the collections.
WHITE ESTATE BRANCH OFFICE
Established in 1961, the White Estate office at Andrews University
was the first branch office of the Ellen G. White Estate. The establishment
of the branch office was for the purpose of preserving Ellen White related
materials in the event of a nuclear disaster in Washington DC and by 1965
to support the training program of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological
Seminary. A complete set of Ellen G. White letters and manuscripts, rich
in original copies, and many other important materials were transferred
to the Andrews office and became the core of the collection.
Hedwig (Hedy) Jemison was connected with the center from its inception
till her retirement in 1985. She served first as secretary and later
an associate director of the White Estate. She was followed by William
Fagal who directed the branch office until August of 2003.
In 1982 the White Estate Branch Office was relocated from the Seminary
building where it had resided since 1961 to a much larger location on
the first floor of the James White Library, near the Adventist Heritage
Center. The holding grew to include additional primary and secondary
related to Ellen G. White. Of particular importance was the greatly expanded
document file which contains extensive resources.
In 2000 the White
Estate Branch office and the Adventist Heritage Center were physically
integrated in the south end of the first floor of the James White library
. This allowed for a more efficient use of space and centralized access
to Adventist related materials. In November 2003, the Center for Adventist
Research was officially organized through an administrative integration
of the two entities under the leadership of Merlin Burt and Jim Ford,
respectively as director and associate director. With an integrated mission,
the new Center is positioned to be of greater service to the Church than
were the individual entities.