The diaries of Helen Mar Whitney contain many prosaic days. But they also include moments of high drama, starting with the grueling, beautifully described death of Helen’s husband by dropsy in 1884. When Charles Whitney, Helen’s teenage son, shot himself in 1886, Helen again recorded the event in detail in her journal, a harrowing few pages. Almost as traumatic to Helen was her daughter Gen’s marriage to a non-Mormon later that year. In both these events, Helen grappled with existential agony, then tried to make sense of the experience through her perception of the gospel.
Todd Compton, Robert H. Briggs