White, Ellen Gould (Harmon), 1827–1915, leader of the Seventh-day Adventists, b. Gorham, Maine. Converted at the age of 15 to the beliefs of the Adventists, she began to receive visions accepted as prophetic by many members of that sect. In 1846, she married James White, a minister of Adventist convictions with whom she founded the Seventh-day Adventists. After her husband's death in 1881, she traveled widely as a missionary. By the time she died, the Seventh-day Adventist movement had grown from a few adherents to a worldwide congregation of over 130,000 members. The church carried out her ideas long after she died, including her activism and charismatic preaching. Her voluminous writings are the primary source of church doctrines. The church had over 5 million members worldwide during the late 1980s. Her numerous writings include The Ministry of Healing (1942) and The Desire of Ages (1944).
See biography by R. E. Graham (1985).