Orson F. Whitney family papers, approximately 1847-1993
Scope and Contents
Materials include documents relating to the family and descendants of Orson F. Whitney. Materials include pedigree charts from the Whitney and Smoot families, Zina B. Smoot papers, items collected by Horace K. and Helen Mar Kimball, family writings, correspondence, blessings, Church documents, poems, and photographs. Dated approximately 1847-1900.
- approximately 1847-1993
- Whitney, Orson F. (Orson Ferguson), 1855-1931 (creator, Person)
- Whitney, Zina B. Smoot (Zina Beal Smoot), 1859-1900 (contributor, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Open for public research.
Conditions Governing Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Orson F. Whitney papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Biographical / Historical
Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931) was an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a writer, poet, and editor.
Orson F. Whitney was born on July 1, 1855, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Horace K. Whitney and Helen Mar Kimball Whitney. As a young man, Whitney wanted to be an actor and he spent many hours preparing for the stage by studying elocution, fencing, and grammar. However, during General Conference in 1876, Whitney was called to serve in the Eastern States Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His mother sold her land and used the money to fund Whitney's mission. While on his mission, Whitney discovered his interest in the Gospel as well as in writing and speaking. He started a regular column of his missionary experiences in the "Salt Lake Herald" under the pen name Iago. In 1878, twenty-three-year-old Whitney was called to serve as the bishop of the Eighteenth Ward, a calling he held for 28 years. In 1906, Whitney was called to be an Apostle in the Church. He also completed three more missions for the Church, including being the president of the European Mission in 1921.
In 1879, Whitney married Zina Beal Smoot and they had 9 children together. Whitney also had two more wives: Mary Minerva Wells and Emma Whitney Wells. During his life, Whitney edited the "Salt Lake Herald," served on the city council, participated in the Home Dramatic Club, engaged in politics, and wrote poetry and books. In 1890, he published his first book, a biography of his grandfather Heber C. Kimball. That same year, Wildford Woodruff and John O. Williams commissioned Whitney to write "History of Utah"; he produced two volumes of the work by 1894 and the third in 1898. He also published a biography of Lorenzo Snow, an autobiography, and several books of poetry including his lengthy epic poem "Elias: An Epic of the Ages."
Whitney died on May 16, 1931, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Biographical / Historical
Zina B. Smoot Whitney (1859-1900) was a writer, the wife of Apostle Orson F. Whitney, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Zina Beal Smoot was born on February 20, 1859, in Salt Lake City, Utah to parents Abraham Owen Smoot and Almira Emily Hill. She married Orson F. Whitney on December 18, 1879, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and together the couple had nine children. Her patriarchal blessings state that she was a very faithful woman with a strong testimony of the gospel. She was educated and intelligent; during her life she gave lectures and wrote poetry, biographies, and articles about women and religion.
She died on May 20, 1900, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Language of Materials
Arranged into two subseries: 1. Zina B. Smoot Whitney papers, approximately 1872-1906. 2. Horace K. and Helen Mar Kimball Whitney papers, 1847-1866.
Other Finding Aids
File-level inventory also available at: http://files.lib.byu.edu/ead/XML/MSS15.xml
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcription available in Box 5.
- Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- Apostles -- Archives
- Historians -- Utah -- Correspondence
- Home and Family
- Material Types
- Mormon Church -- Prayers and devotions
- Papers (Documents)
- Utah -- History
- Whitney, Orson F. (Orson Ferguson), 1855-1931 -- Archives