Emil White was one of Henry Miller’s closest friends and confidants. Miller, in fact, dedicated Big Sur and the “Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch” to White, describing him as “One of the few friends who has never failed me.”
While he is known primarily for his association with Miller, White was one of Big Sur’s most colorful characters, a brilliant painter (we sell many of his prints on our online store), and a remarkable person in his own right.
After Miller died in 1980, Emil decided to maintain his property as a memorial to his friend and as a gallery where local artists could show their work. In 1981, with the assistance of the Big Sur Land Trust (BSLT), he converted his home into the Library. Emil spent the rest of his life as director of the new institution, which evolved into a local center for the arts.
At his death in 1989, White bequeathed the “Henry Miller Memorial Library, Founded by Emil White,” to the BSLT. “With this bequest,” White wrote in his Last Will and Testament, “I am encouraging support and maintenance of said Library, and to promote and enhance the scholarly research and worldwide enjoyment of Henry Miller’s literary and artistic works.