In this Book

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Volume 6, Life Writings of Frontier Women series, ed. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher

Mormon culture has produced during its history an unusual number of historically valuable personal writings. Few such diaries, journals, and memoirs published have provided as rich and well rounded a window into their authors' lives and worlds as the diary of Helen Mar Kimball Whitney. Because it provides a rare account of the widely experienced situations and problems faced by widows, her record has relevance far beyond Mormon history though.

As a teenager Helen Kimball had been a polygamous wife of Mormon founder Joseph Smith. She subsequently married Horace Whitney. Her children included the noted Mormon author, religious authority, and politician Orson F. Whitney. She herself was a leading woman in her church and society and a writer known especially for her defense of plural marriage. Upon Horace's death, she began keeping a diary. In it, she recorded her economic, physical, and psychological struggles to meet the challenges of widowhood. Her writing was introspective and revelatory. She also commented on the changing society around her, as Salt Lake City in the last decades of the nineteenth century underwent rapid transformation, modernizing and opening up from its pioneer beginnings. She remained a well-connected member of an elite group of leading Latter-day Saint women, and prominent Utah and Mormon historical figures appear frequently in her daily entries. Above all, though, her diary is an unusual record of difficulties faced in many times and places by women, of all classes, whose husbands died and left them without sufficient means to carry on the types of lives to which they had been accustomed.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-36
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  1. Helen Mar Whitney’s Family
  2. pp. 37-42
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  1. 1884 Horace Has Spent a Dreadful Night
  2. pp. 43-60
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  1. 1885 Oh! How I Feel My Loss—My Widowhood
  2. pp. 61-128
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  1. 1886 It Seemed Like a Dream That I Must Awake From
  2. pp. 129-212
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  1. 1887 I Woke Myself Sobbing Three Times
  2. pp. 213-276
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  1. 1888 This Valley Is Covered with Thick Fog Today—Very Dreary
  2. pp. 277-338
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  1. 1889 A Beautiful White Cof.n Held the Little Lamb & All Pronounced Him Beautiful
  2. pp. 339-387
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  1. 1890 A “Liberal” Gang of the Scum & Boys Passed Up Our Street
  2. pp. 388-427
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  1. 1891 E. M. Wells Came to See Us, & the House, at Evening—Thought It Lovely
  2. pp. 428-483
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  1. 1892 We’ve Got to Do Something to Keep Ourselves Out of Debt
  2. pp. 484-526
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  1. 1893 Mary . . . Gone to Chicago . . . We Can’t Afford to Go to the Saltair
  2. pp. 527-580
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  1. 1894 They Were the Best & Firmest in the Cause of Truth
  2. pp. 581-638
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  1. 1895 She . . . Proposed to Have All Lay Hands on My Head & Rebuke My Af.ictions
  2. pp. 639-687
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  1. 1896 I Couldnt Talk Right—After One Word All Was Mudled
  2. pp. 688-718
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 719-810
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 811-830
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  1. Register of Names in the Diary
  2. pp. 831-874
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 875-887
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780874214857
Related ISBN
9780874215571
MARC Record
OCLC
53924717
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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