Handwritten daily diaries kept by Austin Wiley covering the years 1846, 1858, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877 and
1878. The first, written in 1846, is titled “Life and Adventures of the Author with a Sketch of the Mexican War.” This diary
describes leaving his home in Illinois with two of his older brothers to join the army and fight in the Mexican War. It chronicles
his day-to-day activities, army movements, health, training, and conditions. The following nine diaries have brief daily entries
on the weather, events and activities, and other various personal notes. They also include cash accounts. These take place
while the author was living in Eureka, California.
Born in Illinois in 1823, Wiley enlisted in the Mexican War of 1846. Afterward he found his first newspaper jobs at the St.
Louis Republic and the Cincinnati Times as a typesetter and reporter. He crossed the Plains to California in 1852. Austin
Wiley was the second owner of the Humboldt Times, but he was with the fledgling newspaper from its inception in 1854. Wiley
ran the hand press for the weekly publication during its first months of operation in Eureka. Owner Edwin Coleman soon moved
the paper to Arcata, but a year later was ready to sell. Wiley, along with partner Walter Van Dyke, then purchased the Times.
In 1858, it was Wiley who bought out his partner and moved the Times back to Eureka. Wiley sold the paper in 1860, and went
on to serve in the State Legislature from 1862 to 1864. In 1865, he purchased a quarter interest in the San Francisco Call
newspaper. Returning to Humboldt County, Wiley began working a logging claim, but printers ink was in his blood. In 1881 he
established the daily and weekly Telephone newspaper in Eureka. In 1883, the Times and the Telephone merged, and Wiley was
ready to move on again. That move led him back to Arcata, where he established the Arcata Union newspaper. Wiley’s sons would
eventually carry on with the newspaper after his tenure. Upon his death in April 1907, the Humboldt Daily Times stated: "Nearly
every Humboldter knew and respected him."
(10 handwritten diaries)
There are no restrictions on access.
Collection open for research.