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Online Historical Adventist Photos

November 15, 2006

There are a number of sites with databases of historical photos relating to Adventism currently in existence. The most comprehensive are those based at the Heritage Room of Loma Linda University:

  • The first is focused specifically on Ellen G. White and contains over 1200 photos from the Ellen G. White Estate that focus on White, her family, associates, and events & places associated with her life. (The Ellen G. White Estate itself offers only 7 photos on their website.) Access the database here.
  • The second database contains approximately 2,000 photos (with more being added) on a wide variety of subjects. Access this database here.

A third site is that of the British Union Conference (BUC) Historical Archive. It contains nearly 600 photos and may be accessed here.

timeoftrouble.com has pictures scanned in from various SDA publications including: J. N. Loughborough’s Rise and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventists (1892), and M. Ellsworth Olsen’s A History of the Origin and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists (1925) here.

The Center for Adventist Research (CAR) at Andrews University has recently established its own database of historical photos online here. OK, great, the more photos available online for research and teaching purposes the better. HOWEVER, to put it bluntly, the CAR approach sucks. As an example, a search for “africa” lists 21 photos—some of them of great interest to me in my research and teaching—such as a picture of students at the first SDA church school in South Africa in 1893. The problem is the database only offers tiny thumbnail-sized photos—so small in fact, that it is difficult sometimes to make out the content of the photo (the picture at right is exactly what the CAR site gives you!)—with the option to purchase a full-sized photo at higher resolution. Now I certainly believe that any photo used for commercial purposes—such as a published book—should be paid for, but to deny church members (not to mention researchers and teachers) like myself, free and open access to such material is just plain wrong. The fees charged are not inconsiderable when converted to currencies other than USD. C’mon CAR, surely you can do better than that!

I have emailed CAR at: car@andrews.edu and will report back on any reply received.

Just out of interest, a search for “Africa” on each of the above sites reveals:

Loma Linda 1 (EGW): 5 results.

Loma Linda 2 (General SDA): 3 results.

BUC Archive: 18 results.

EarlySDA.com (no search capability): c10 results.

CAR: 21 results (with Moslem/Muslim spelled as Mosleum twice).

4 comments

  1. […] Hobbes’ Place An Exploration of Adventist History and Culture « ASDAH Part 3 Ebay History #2 May 24th, 2007 Currently there are a number of interesting articles related to the early history of Adventism for sale on eBay. Perhaps someone with more money than me will purchase them and donate them to the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University or the Heritage Room at Loma Linda University. (On second thoughts, donate to the Heritage Room at Loma Linda University, as the Center for Adventist Research still has not responded to my emails concerning the free availability of heritage photos from their collection–see my post here. […]


  2. I read with interest your comments on the size of our photos. I agree they are too small. I was Chair of the Heritage Room at Loma Linda for 10 years and was responsible for the design of their photo database. I am now director of the Center at Andrews. We have recently hired a person who has the technical ability to improve our photo database. At Andrews (or Loma Linda) it was never our desire to make money off users unless they are making money from the picture themselves. We hope by the end of the year to have the redesign completed with a better format and larger images (actually, I think they will be a little larger than those at Loma Linda). They will also be available directly through the catalog. We are very agressively scanning pictures. We have a student assistant working full time this summer. We currently have in excess of 7,000 images available. Part of our problem with the change to have larger pictures is the number of corrections needed and the existing database. Anyway, here is my answer.


  3. That is cool news Merlin Burt. Great to see Hobbes’ Place having an impact.
    Cheers!


  4. Woo Hoo!!!! I’m a force for good! Thanks for the update Merlin, I look forward to the new and greatly improved database. Keep up the good work.



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