White, Stewart Edward (1873–1946)
Author who published a number of books of ‘‘channeled’’
material. Born March 12, 1873, in 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.
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., n.d.
———. Anchors to Windward. N.p., 1943.
———. The Betty Book. N.p., 1939.
———. The Road I Know. N.p., 1942.
———. The Stars Are Still There. N.p., 1946.
———. The Unobstructed Universe. N.p., 1940.
———. With Folded Wings. N.p., 1947.