Little is known about Helen Curtis Annan, beyond the few clues found in this volume. She lived in St. Louis with her husband, Roberdean Annan, who was often away from home. In the fall of 1842, Helen noted that they had finally moved into a house of their own again, after living with all sorts of people for the past six years. It is unclear what her husband's profession was, or whether or not he accompanied Helen when she traveled.
Helen made a couple trips to Cincinnati, once going on to Virginia, but she did not record who she was visiting. At one point she mentioned that "Curtis" was at school in Jeffersonton, Va., which indicates that she might have been visiting relations who still lived in the east. She also took a couple steamboat trips up and down the Mississippi River, apparently for pleasure.
Helen was a devout Presbyterian. She initially attended the Second Presbyterian Church, where William S. Potts served as pastor from 1839 to 1852. The Presbyterian separation in Missouri occurred in 1841, and Potts was the recognized local leader of the old school. In 1844, a fourth Presbyterian Church was organized by 32 members of the Second Church, and they chose Alexander Van Court as their pastor. He was well loved, and deeply mourned by church members, including Helen, when he died during the cholera epidemic of July 1849. Samuel Anderson succeeded him as pastor, and served until 1868. Nathan Rice succeeded Rev. Potts at Second Presbyterian Church in 1853. Helen recorded the sermons of these pastors, and several more, suggesting that she attended services at more than one church.
Helen was involved with charitable work, serving as secretary of an organization that was incorporated in 1853 as the Home of the Friendless. She also served as manager of the Orphan Asylum and House of Industry, and helped with various poor relief efforts.