Helen Mar Kimball Whitney Papers, 1841-1900  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Whitney, Helen Mar, 1828-1896
Title
Helen Mar Kimball Whitney Papers
Dates
1841-1900 (inclusive)
Quantity
4 boxes, (1.5 linear feet)
Collection Number
USU_COLL MSS 179
Summary
Letters, diaries and miscellaneous papers belonging to the family of Helen Mar Whitney.
Repository
Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives Division
Special Collections & Archives
Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
Logan, UT
84322-3000
Telephone: 435-797-8248
Fax: 435-797-2880
scweb@usu.edu
Access Restrictions

No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Helen Mar Kimball Whitney was born August 22, 1828 at Mendon, New York the daughter of Heber C. Kimball and Vilate Murry Kimball. In 1832 the Kimball family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and moved to Kirtland, Ohio, becoming close associates of Joseph Smith, founder of the LDS Church. In 1835 Helen’s father was ordained an Apostle in the LDS Church and throughout Helen’s early life her father was away on church business or away serving as a missionary in various US states and in Europe. In 1838 the Kimball family moved to Missouri and shortly thereafter to Nauvoo, Illinois.

In 1841 Joseph Smith explained the principle of polygamy to the Kimball family and in 1842 Smith selected Helen’s father’s first polygamist wife, Sarah Noon. Heber C. Kimball was later married to a total of forty-four wives and had sixty-five children. Polygamy not only affected Helen’s family, but Helen was also married to Joseph Smith when she was fourteen years old. Helen described her marriage to Smith as a “sudden shock of a small earthquake.” However, their marriage was short-lived because Smith was killed in June 1844.

On February 3, 1846 Helen married Horace K. Whitney. Helen’s marriage to Whitney was not arraigned, as had been her marriage to Smith, but was a love match. In the spring of 1846 Helen and her new husband traveled, along with fellow church members, across the plains toward the Utah Territory. Helen settled temporarily at Winter Quarters while Horace traveled to Utah with the first company of pioneers. In 1848 the couple settled in Salt Lake City. Over the course of Helen and Horace’s marriage Helen bore eleven children, six of whom lived to adulthood. Their children were Orson Ferguson (1855), Elizabeth Ann (1857), Genevieve (1860), Helen Kimball (1862), Charles Spaulding (1864), and Florence Marian (1867).

In 1850 Heber C. Kimball advised Horace to take a second wife, which he did, marrying Lucy Amelia Boxham. However, Lucy died during childbirth in 1851. In 1856 Horace married another woman, Mary Cravath.

During the 1870s Helen began writing, with close friend Emmeline B. Wells, faith promoting articles about the LDS Church and about past experiences in Nauvoo, which appeared in the Women's Exponent and in the Deseret News.

Tragedy struck the family when Horace died in 1884, leaving Helen with many debts and no way to provide for her children. For the rest of Helen's life she struggled financially and with poor health. In 1890 she sold the family home and moved to a more “poor” area of Salt Lake City and built a new house. She lived in this home until her death in November 1896.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Helen Mar Whitney family papers represent a significant contribution to the study of early Mormon history, overland travel, Salt Lake City social history and the development of the Arizona territory. The collection consists of over 100 letters dating from 1841 to 1900. Letters were penned from Nauvoo, Winter Quarters, the Mormon Trail, Salt Lake City, Mesa, Arizona, St. David, Arizona and other places. Diaries from family members chronicle the 1860s, 1880s, and 1890s. Due to Helen Mar Whitney's family ties, the authors of these documents were often members of the upper echelon of the Mormon Church, thus making the collections' content even more significant. Her husband also associated with important members of the LDS Church and is reflected in his journals and correspondence.

The central figure in the collection is Helen Mar Whitney. Her correspondence begins with a letter written from Winter Quarters addressed to Horace at the "Pioneers Camp" on the Mormon trail in June of 1847. Her last letters were received in the 1880s. The two largest sets of correspondence are with her husband Horace and her son Charles.

The letters to and from her husband mostly occurred between 1860-1861 and 1869-1870. The text is rich with information about events in Salt Lake City and the Utah area. The letters also allude to the relationship between Horace's plural wife, Mary Cravath, and Helen. Helen also carries on a lively correspondence with her youngest son Charles. Charles moved to the Arizona Territory in 1883 and stayed their through December of 1884. During this period Helen and Charles exchange letters on almost a monthly basis.

Finally, Helen Mar kept a daily diary from 1885-1896. These diaries are rich with the social and political affairs that affected her life. While these diaries were transcribed and published by Charles M. Hatch and Todd M. Compton in 2003 as A Widow’s Tale; The 1884-1869 Diary of Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, Helen’s correspondence and the other family documents in this collection were not included in this publication.

In addition to the Helen Mar Whitney material, the collection also contains a significant number of letters and diaries from Charles S. Whitney. Charles' correspondence from his two and 1/2 years in Arizona is enlightening. He moved from Mesa to St. David and his work carried him throughout the territory. His letters describe haying, freighting and logging, as well as local Mexican celebrations and the local Indian populations.

Charles also kept a daily diary from 1881-1884. The diary began in Salt Lake City and continued through his stay in Arizona. Charles was 17 when he penned his first entry. He described his life in Salt Lake City in the early 1880s. Entries include work, home life, night life and camping trips.

Of further importance are the letters and diaries of Horace K. Whitney. Horace wrote many letters to Helen. Two of these letters were written to her while he was traveling across the Mormon Trail in 1847. Horace also received one letter from his father, Newell K. Whitney during this overland journey. He also corresponded with his son Charles when the young man was in Arizona. Finally, the collection has four journals kept by Horace K. Whitney. Two of these journals are photocopies and two are original. The earliest journal is a photocopy of an account book kept between 1850-1852. This volume recorded events in the LDS Church printing office, and with Horace's work with William Clayton in the tithing office from 1851-1852. The other photocopy is of a Horace K. Whitney notebook, 14.5 cm x 18 cm that contains both a journal from 1869-1872 and financial entries from the same time.

Finally there is a short diary of Horace's trip to southern Utah in the spring of 1863. This diary meshes with a group of letters that Horace sent to Helen while on the tour. The last item is a memorandum book covering the years 1860-1861.

The other significant material in the collection belongs to Orson F. Whitney. Two handwritten reminiscences about his life and a number of letters make up this material. In addition letters written by Fanny Murray and Vilate Kimball in the 1840s are noteworthy.

This collection is unusual in that both outgoing and incoming correspondence exists, in original, for most of the Helen Mar Whitney letters. Because of the large block of letters to and from Helen it was decided to arrange this collection around her. These letters were arranged in alphabetical order for the outgoing material and in chronological order for the incoming. This arrangement was used for the Charles Whitney and Horace K. Whitney letters that did not involve Helen Mar, as well as the non-family correspondents.

Due to the size of some letters and their fragility they have been encapsulated and placed into an oversized Box, Box 4. The items have been listed in the finding aid both in their appropriate place and in Box 4.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the Helen Mar Kimball Whitney Papers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Preferred Citation

Initial Citation: Helen Mar Kimball Whitney Papers, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.

Following Citations:USU_COLL MSS 179, USUSCA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Correspondence, 1846-1888Return to Top

(1 box, 25 folders)
Container(s) Description Dates
Outgoing correspondence
1847, 1869
Box Folder
1 1
Horace K. Whitney
1847 June 4
1 1
Horace K. Whitney
1869 November 28
1 1
Horace K. Whitney
1869 December 14
1 1
Horace K. Whitney
1869 December 30
Outgoing correspondence
1870
Box Folder
1 2
Horace K. Whitney
1870 January 2
1 2
Horace K. Whitney
1870 January 14
1 2
Horace K. Whitney
1870 January 31
1 2
Horace K. Whitney
(One and a half page letter added to a letter written by Orson F. Whitney to Horace K. see Box 1, Fd 19).
1870 February 17
1 2
Horace K. Whitney
1870 February 27
1 3
Orson F. Whitney
1882 June 13
1 3
Orson F. Whitney
1883 June 14
1 4
Charles S. Whitney
1883 November 5
1 4
Charles S. Whitney
1883 December 6
1 4
Charles S. Whitney
1883 December 14
1 4
Charles S. Whitney
1884 January 29
1 4
Charles S. Whitney
1884 March 17
1 4
Charles S. Whitney
1884 July 30
1 4
Charles S. Whitney
1884 August 20
1 5
Charles S. Whitney
1884 October 19
1 5
Charles S. Whitney
1884 November 19
1 5
Charles S. Whitney
1884 December 11
1 5
Charles S. Whitney
1884 January 1
1 5
Charles S. Whitney
1885 January 14
1 5
Charles S. Whitney
1885[?] Tuesday the 19th
Incoming correspondence written to Helen Mar Whitney
Box Folder
1 6
A.H. Cannon
1887 June 1
1 6
A.H. Cannon
1887 August 18
1 6
Angie Frink
1870 July 3
1 6
Vilate Kimball
1862 September 7
1 6
Vilate Kimball
1862[?] September 17
1 6
Vilate Kimball
1863 June 6
1 6
Vilate Kimball
1863 July 27
1 6
Eliza Sk[?]
1874 March 8
1 7
Charles S. Whitney
1881 July 31
1 7
Charles S. Whitney
1883 November 4
1 7
Charles S. Whitney
1883 November 21
1 7
Charles S. Whitney
1883 December 16
1 8
Charles S. Whitney
1884 January 20
1 8
Charles S. Whitney
1884 February 16
1 8
Charles S. Whitney
1884 April 30
1 9
Charles S. Whitney
1884 May 14
1 9
Charles S. Whitney
1884 July 6
1 9
Charles S. Whitney
1884 July 13
1 10
Charles S. Whitney
1884 August 2
1 10
Charles S. Whitney
1884 August 19
1 10
Charles S. Whitney
1884 August 31
1 11
Charles S. Whitney
1884 September 3
1 11
Charles S. Whitney
1884 November 11
1 11
Charles S. Whitney
1884 December [?]
1 11
Charles S. Whitney
1884 Christmas
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
Written from Horace K. Whitney while he was on the Mormon Trail en route to Utah.(Because of size, see Box 4, Fd 1)
1847 April 15
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
Written from Horace K. Whitney while he was on the Mormon Trail en route to Utah.(Because of size, see Box 4, Fd 2)
1847 May 4
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
Concerns issues of spouse relations upon the entering of a plural marriage.
1849 April 17
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
1849 February 26
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
1858 June 24
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
1862 September 22
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
1862 September 28
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
1862 October 6
1 12
Horace K. Whitney
1862 October 12
1 13
Horace K. Whitney
[Four letters from Horace K. Whitney to Helen Mar Whitney were penned while he was on a journey with the church leadership to southern Utah. These letters coincide with a journal that he kept of the trip. (See Box 3, volume 19)]
1863 April 25
1 13
Horace K. Whitney
1863 April 29
1 13
Horace K. Whitney
1863 May 3
1 13
Horace K. Whitney
(letter fragment)
Undated
1 14
Horace K. Whitney
[1868 or 1869] November 24
1 14
Horace K. Whitney
1869 February 12
1 14
Horace K. Whitney
1869 November 26
1 14
Horace K. Whitney
1869 December 7
1 14
Horace K. Whitney
1869 December 24
1 15
Horace K. Whitney
1870 January 19
1 15
Horace K. Whitney
1870 February 2
1 15
Horace K. Whitney
1870 March 6
1 15
Horace K. Whitney
1875 November 16
1 15
Horace K. Whitney
1877 March 2
1 15
Horace K. Whitney
1877 October 27
1 15
Horace K. Whitney
[?] November 23
Incoming to Charles S. Whitney
Box Folder
1 16
Dean Caine
1882 April 18
1 16
Dean Caine
1882 April 24
1 16
Dean Caine
1882 May 31
1 16
Dean Caine
1882 June 21
1 16
Will Richards
1883 April 24
1 16
Will Richards
1883 November 25
1 17
Horace K. Whitney
1884 April 21
1 17
Florence Whitney
1884 July 29
1 17
Horace K. Whitney
1884 August 12
1 17
Julie Kimball
1884 August 15
1 17
Solomon Kimball
1884 September 15
1 17
Will Richards
1884 October 25
1 17
Will Richards
1884 November 21
Correspondence to and from Horace K. Whitney
Box Folder
1 18
Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Winter Quarters to Horace and Orson Whitney, Camp of the Pioneers
(Written to both Horace K. and his brother Orson when they were at Winter Quarters)
1846 April 13
1 18
Newell K. Whitney, Winter Quarters, to Horace and Orson Whitney, Camp of Israel in the West
[Written to both Horace K. and his brother Orson when they were at Winter Quarters (see Box 4)]
1847 June 14
1 18
Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Winter Quarters, to Horace and Orson Whitney, Camp of Pioneers
(Written to both Horace K. and his brother Orson when they were at Winter Quarters)
1847 October 7
1 19
William Clayton
1862 April 29
1 19
John S. Gleason
1870 January 29
1 19
Mary E. Kimball
1870 February 5
1 19
Orson Whitney
(with a postscript from Helen Mar Whitney)
1870 February 17
1 19
John S. Gleason
1870 February 20
1 19
Emerson D. Gleason
1870 February 20
1 20 1868 August 24
1 20 1881 December 18
1 20 1882 May 28
1 20
Orson F. Whitney(click to view)
(also a one page note from Charles)
1883 January 21
1 20 1871 September 20
Incoming correspondence to Orson F. Whitney
Box Folder
1 21 1877 June 12
1 21 1877 June 28
1 21
Genevieve Whitney(click to view)
(also a note from Helen Mar)
1883 May 17
1 21 1883 May 18
1 21
Genevieve Whitney(click to view)
(also a note from Helen Mar)
1883 June 21
1 21 1888 November 1
1 21 1888 November 5
1 21 1888 November 10
1 21 1888 November 15
1 21 1888 November 18
1 21 1889 April 11
1 21 1900 June 22
1 21 [?] August 1
1 21 n.d.
Letters involving George T. Bourne
Three letters are addressed dear George, and are signed Hent. or H. These most likely were written by Helen Kimball Whitney to George Bourne. The April 1883 describes a train trip to Logan, where Helen went to see the temple during its construction.
Box Folder
1 22
H.S. Beatie
[?] August 21
1 22
Helen Whitney(?)
1882 July 4
1 22
Helen Whitney(?)
1882 December 9
1 22
Helen Whitney(?)
1883 April 25
1 22
Helen Whitney(?)
1885 August 18
Letters from the Kimball side of the family
Includes items from William Kimball, son of Heber C. and Vilate Kimball, while on his mission. As well as correspondence from Fanny Young Nurray, Vilate's stepmother and Brigham Young's sister.
Box Folder
1 23
Fanny Murray, Winter Quarters, to Mr. Roswell Gould Murray
(This letter describes life at Winter quarters for Fanny, Vilate and Helen while the latter two husbands were with the pioneers. The bottom of one page contains a note in Helen Mar Whitney's hand to Mr. Tullidge commenting about the letter. This letter has been removed to Box 4.)
1847 July 5
1 23
Vilate Kimball, Nauvoo to Fanny Murray
(Also two poems by Helen Kimball on the back leaf of the letter. This letter has been removed and placed into Box 4, Fd 5.)
1841 February 16
1 23
Vilate Kimball to Brigham Kimball
Undated
1 24
William Kimball, London to Roswell G. Murray
(while on an L.D.S. mission in England)
1855 August 9
1 24
William Kimball, London to Heber C.Kimball
(while on an L.D.S. mission in England)
1855 April 3
1 24
William Kimball London to Wife and Children, Father and mother Brothers and Sisters
(while on an L.D.S. mission in England)
1855 October 4
Miscellaneous correspondence
Box Folder
1 25
Unknown author to mother and father
(on mission in Geneva, Switzerland)
1865 July 12
1 25
Abbie W(?) to Cousin Charlie
1866 June 18
1 25
Cousin Helen, Richmond, Virginia. to Vilate M. Whitney
1871 February 10
1 25
No addressee or author. Written from Logan City
(Describes a camping trip taken into Logan Canyon. Might be written by Helen Kimball Whitney.)
1880 August 17
1 25
Genevieve Whitney, to Zina Smoot Whitney, Salt Lake City
1886 March 8

Miscellaneous family documents from Charles S. Whitney, Helen Mar Whitney, and Orson F. Whitney, 1840-1893Return to Top

(1 box, 21 folders)
Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1-4
Charles S. Whitney school essays
2 5
Charles S. Whitney tithing receipts and a letter of recommendation for Charles from R.S. Waldron
1886
2 6
Small ledger, 19cm x 31cm, with nine pages of entries, belonging to Charles Whitney
The entries appear to be a merchandising business
1885-1886
2 7
Helen Mar Whitney tithing receipts
1886-1893
2 8
Two notes from Helen Mar Whitney
(One is a poem for Horace K. Whitney and includes a lock of Helen's hair tied into an elaborate pattern. The other note is a greeting for Horace's 60th birthday
Horace K. Whitney documents
Box Folder
2 9
Document establishing a school with Horace K. Whitney as the teacher, Commerce, Illinois
The item has the names of four parents and enrolls 7 "scholars." This item has been placed into the oversized Box number 4, Fd 3
1840 November 22
2 9
Horace K. Whitney's call to a mission
Signed by Brigham Young, George A. Smith, and Daniel H. Wells
1869 October 11
2 9
Horace K. Whitney's printed invitation to a party at the Social Hall
1862 July 24
Box Folder
2 10
A photocopy of a journal kept recording events in the printing office, one or two accounts and Horace Whitney's work with William Clayton in the tithing office
The title on the cover reads "Account Book of work done in the Printing Office," 1850 - 1852, kept by Horace K. Whitney
1851-1852
2 11
A photocopy of a Horace K. Whitney notebook, 14.5cm x 18cm that contains both a journal and financial entries
(140 pages)
1869-1872
2 12
A photocopy of Newell K. Whitney's Masonic Lodge Master Mason certificate from the Cainesville, Ohio Lodge
2 13
2 14
2 15
Orson F. Whitney family record book
2 16
Whitney and Smith family genealogy
2 17
Two pieces of band music
2 18
Almanac
1876
2 19
One ledger, 18.5cm x 30.5cm
(The ledger consists of 307 pages, but only 13 pages have entries
1872-1873
2 20
Two tickets to the dedication of the Manti Temple and a program for the 90th birthday celebration of Wilford Woodruff
2 21
Envelopes

Diaries of Helen Mar Whitney, Charles S. Smith and Horace K. Whitney, 1863-1896Return to Top

(1 box, 21 volumes)
Container(s) Description Dates
Diaries of Charles S. Whitney
1881-1884
Box Volume
3 1
Charles S. Whitney diary
1881 August 28 - 1881 September 9
3 2
Charles S. Whitney diary
1882 May 3 - 1882 November 16
3 3
Charles S. Whitney diary
1882 November 17 - 1883 February 24
3 4
Charles S. Whitney diary
1883 February 24 - 1883 April 25
3 5
Charles S. Whitney diary
1883 April 26 - June 4
3 6
Charles S. Whitney diary
1883 June 5 - November 27
3 7
Charles S. Whitney diary
1883 November 26 - 1884 August 22
Diaries of Helen Mar Whitney
Volumes 9 and 10 have been place into Box 4 Fds 7 and 8
1885-1896
Box Volume
3 8
Helen Mar Whitney
(partial volume)
1885 September 11 - December 11
3 9
Helen Mar Whitney
1885 December 13 - 1886 June 26
3 10
Helen Mar Whitney
1886 June 27 - September 23
3 11
1886 October 25 - December 10
3 12
Helen Mar Whitney
(The back of this volume contains 26 pages of Horace K. Whitney's journal dating June 9, 1884-September 14, 1884)
1888 May 18 - 1889 February 22
3 13
Helen Mar Whitney
1890 February 22 - 1891 May 24
3 14
Helen Mar Whitney
1892 May 25 - 1893 April 14
3 15
Helen Mar Whitney
1893 May 13 - 1894 September 1
3 16
Helen Mar Whitney
1894 September 26 - 1895 July 1
3 17
MISSING: SEE : A Widow's Tale: the 1884-1896 Diary of Helen Mar Kimball Whitney 920 W613
1895 July 24 - 1896 July 13
3 18
Helen Mar Whitney
1896 July 14 - October 21
Box Volume
3 19
Horace K. Whitney's diary of a trip to southern Utah with Brigham Young and other high ranking members of the L.D.S. Church
1863 April 20 - May 19
3 20
Horace K. Whitney's memoranda book
1860-1861
3 21
Zina Smoot Whitney's diary of a trip to San Francisco
1888
3 22
Zina Smoot Poems
1879

Oversized items removed from the above boxes, 1863-1896Return to Top

(1 box, 7 folders)
Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
4 1
Helen Mar Whitney to Horace K. Whitney
(See Box 1, Fd 12)
1847 April 15
4 2
Helen Mar Whitney to Horace K. Whitney
(See Box 1, Fd 12)
1847 May 4
4 3
Newell K. Whitney, Winter Quarters, to Horace and Orson Whitney, Camp of Israel in the West
(See Box 1, Fd 18)
1847 June 14
4 4
Horace K. Whitney to Brigham Young
(See Box 1, Fd 20)
1871 September 20
4 5
Vilate Kimball, Nauvoo to Fanny Murray
(Also two poems by Helen Kimball on the back leaf of the letter)
1841 February 16
4 6
Fanny Murray, Winter Quarters, to Mr. Roswell Gould Murray
(See Box 1, Fd 23)
1847 July 5
4 7
Document establishing a school with Horace K. Whitney as the teacher, Commerce, Illinois
(The item has the names of four parents and enrolls 7 "scholars.")
1840 November 22

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Mormon Church--Missions--England.
  • Mormon Church--Missions--Ohio.
  • Mormon pioneers--Utah--Archives.
  • Mormon pioneers--Utah--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Mormon women--Utah--Archives.
  • Mormons--Diaries.
  • Personal Names :
  • Clayton, William, 1814-1879
  • Kimball, David Patten, 1839-1883.
  • Kimball, Heber Chase, 1801-1868
  • Whitney, Charles Spaulding, 1863-1886
  • Whitney, Genevieve, 1860-1886.
  • Whitney, Helen Mar, 1828-1896
  • Whitney, Orson F.(Orson Ferguson), 1855-1931
  • Whitney, Whitney, Horace K.(Horace Kimball), 1823-1884.
  • Young, Brigham, 1801-1877
  • Family Names :
  • Whitney family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Arizona--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Commerce (Ill.)--History.
  • Logan (Utah)--History.
  • Logan (Utah)--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Mesa (Ariz.)--History.
  • Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
  • Nauvoo (Ill.)--History.
  • Salt Lake City (Utah)--History
  • Salt Lake City (Utah)--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • St. David (Arizona)--History.
  • Utah--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Winter Quarters (Neb.)--History.
  • Winter Quarters (Neb.)--History.