Stewart Edward White Biography

 

Stewart Edward White and Betty White

Betty and Stewart White

 

Birth: March 12, 1873 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Death: September 18, 1946 in Hillsborough, California, United States

BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

Author who published a number of books of "channeled'' material. Born March 12, 1873, at Grand Rapids, Michigan, he studied at the University of Michigan (Ph.D., 1895; M.A., 1903). In 1904 he married Elizabeth (Betty) Grant, and they settled in California where he became well known as an author of many books, articles, and short stories dealing with his experiences around the state in mining and lumber camps, and on exploration trips.

In 1922 he and Betty met a couple known in the literature as Joan and Darby. Several years earlier the couple had been playing with a Ouija board and made contact with a spirit entity, "Stephen,'' who became the source for a book they published in 1920 as Our Unseen Guest. Joan had become a full trance medium. Betty eventually followed a similar course and also became a medium in contact with a group of entities called simply "the Invisibles.'' Betty channeled numerous sessions with them. In 1937, after many years of quietly working with a very small group, Stewart told the story of Betty's development and repeated the basic teachings of "the Invisibles'' in what has become a classic work in the field, The Betty Book. White believed that these messages embodied a valuable philosophy and religious interpretation for daily life. Enough readers agreed and a second "Betty'' book was issued in 1939 as Across the Unknown.

Betty died in 1939, and in the months after her death, White received communication he believed to be from her through Joan. These were gathered into a book, The Unobstructed Universe (1940), which proved the most popular volume in the series and remains in print.

The continued response, possibly accelerated by the war, led to a number of further books. The Road I Know (1942) was an anthology of further selections from the material Betty had channeled. Anchors to Windward (1943) was a philosophical treatment of the Betty material. The Stars Are Still There (1946) grew out of specific questions sent to White during the war. With Folded Wings (1947), the last in the Betty book series, was published posthumously.

White died September 18, 1946, at Hillsborough, California. After his death, two manuscripts remained, both reflective of White's own development as a medium. One, The Job of Living, was published in 1948; the other, The Gaelic Manuscripts, was never published, though it circulated among White enthusiasts in mimeographed form.

Sources:

Joan and Darby. Our Unseen Guest. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1920.
Melton, J. Gordon. The Betty Book Literature of Stewart Edward White. Evanston, Ill.: The author, 1971.
White, Stewart Edward. Across the Unknown. N.p., 1939.
------. Anchors to Windward. N.p., 1943.
------. The Betty Book. N.p., 1939.
------. Gaelic Manuscripts - also here
------. The Road I Know. N.p., 1942.
------. The Stars Are Still There. N.p., 1946.
------. The Unobstructed Universe. N.p., 1940. (his most popular metaphysical work)
------. With Folded Wings. N.p., 1947.

The above writeup was reproduced by permission from "Stewart Edward White." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 5th ed. Edited by J. Gordon Melton, 2001.

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Earlier Philosophical Books

Before Stewart White came "out of the closet" about his wife's psychic abilities he produced two books in which he would discuss philosophical concepts without naming the source.

Credo, 1925
Why Be a Mud Turtle, 1928

More general biographies:

White, Stewart. Speaking for Myself . 1943.

White, Stewart. Dog Days: Other Times, Other Dogs: The Autobiography of a Man and His Dog Friends through Four Decades of Changing America, 1930.

Alter, Judy. Stewart Edward White. Boise, ID: Boise State University, 1975.

Leichtmann, Robert & Johnson, David Kendrick. Stewart White Returns. 1980 (channeled posthumous interview)

Olivia A. Haehn, "Stewart Edward White." Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 4: 1946-1950. American Council of Learned Societies, 1974 (Available online from Biography Resource Center. The Gale Group)

Eugene F. Saxton, "Stewart Edward White." Nat. Cyc. Am. Biog., Current Vol. F, 144-145

Tuska, Jon, and Vicki Piekarski, eds. "Stewart Edward White." Encyclopedia of Frontier and Western Fiction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. 352-54

Stewart Edward White (1873-1946)

T. Steward White - 1840-1915 (Stewart White's father)

Obituaries:

"Stewart E. White, novelist, is dead; author of stories of adventure and frontier life was 73--stricken after fabled career." New York Times, September 19, 1946

"Stewart White, Adventurer and novelist, dies; books captured thrills of own exciting life." Chicago Tribune, September 19, 1946

Other Works (Fiction, etc.)

In addition to metaphysical works, White wrote over thirty volumes, including novels, histories, juvenile works, travel and adventure books, essays, and short stories.