On April 6, 1896, twin sons were born to William and Mary White in Cooranbong, Australia. Named Herbert Clarence and James Henry, the latter went by Henry from a young age. They left Australia as young children and grew up in California. With Ellen White as grandmother, "foreign mission service was ever kept before them as the most desirable life objective," as one of their friends later remembered, and both brothers responded to calls to serve as missionaries in China, Henry in 1921, Herbert in 1923, bringing their young families along with them. Herbert managed the church publishing house and did other administrative work, while Henry worked in education. Both families returned home in 1929. Sadly, both brothers died young, Henry in 1954, and Herbert in 1962.

Henry White was a keen amateur movie-maker and photographer. He sold photographs commercially, and he is the filmmaker behind the 16mm footage you see here. He took many movies in China, both of the local people and of missionaries. The footage was donated to the Adventist Archives last year by Henry's daughter, Daphne Odell, and her daughter, Marilyn Cook, and was recently digitized. We offer Daphne Odell and Marilyn Cook many thanks; their donation of this film with its rare footage has allowed us to make available the earliest known footage of an Adventist baptism in China.

Navigate to History Today

Navigate to Tell The Story