Anna Bowles Wiley Letters
Dates:  1922, 1936
Accession Number: Sm. D. C. 37C
Donor:  Unknown
Description: 3 file folders in a small document case


Anna Bowles Wiley (ca. 1875-1944) was editor of the society page for the Terre Haute Star (1915-1919) and the Terre Haute Tribune (1919-1944).  Wiley was born in Kansas, Illinois to Zachary and Mary Ellen Bowles.  In June 1891, she married J. Paul Wiley who was also from Kansas, Illinois.  According to her obituary, the couple moved to Terre Haute soon after their marriage but Paul Wiley's name does not appear in the Terre Haute City Directory until 1904.  The couple had one daughter, Florence who was born in 1894. 

Anna Bowles Wiley became society page editor of the Terre Haute Star in 1915 shortly after Florence, who was editor at the time, got married in June 1915 and moved to Indianapolis.  While Florence was editor, Anna contributed articles about fashion and under her own byline covered the proceedings of the Vigo County Federated Women's Club.  For seven months after Florence Wiley's marriage, the “News of Local Society” section appeared without a byline until Anna Bowles Wiley received credit in the December 19, 1915 edition of the Terre Haute Star.  As editor, she continued to report on the proceedings of women's club meetings and conventions as well as report on the social activities of Terre Haute's citizens. 

Wiley was a founding member of the Pen and Brush Club and a charter member of the Business and Professional Women's Club.  She was also a member of the Altrusa Club, the Woman's Department Club, the Arche Literary Club, the Terre Haute and Vigo County Federated Women's Clubs, the Indiana Press Women's Club and the Terre Haute Newspaper Guild. 

Wiley was very active in civic and charitable activities in Terre Haute, participa-ting in fund drives for the Tribune-Star Christmas Basket Fund and supporting the Flora Gulick Boys Club. As a private citizen, she provided food and clothing to families in need as well as elderly men and women. 

Wiley died at St. Anthony's Hospital in Terre Haute in April 1944 as a result of complications following injuries sustained in a fall while covering a World War II war bond dinner.  She is buried in Kansas, Illinois.

Content and Scope of Collection

This collection contains 3 letters to Anna Bowles Wiley. 

The first letter is from Louise Autey, apparently a member of the Blackfeet Indian tribe, who refers to Anna as “my dear daughter” and to herself at the end of the letter as “your good friend and mother”.  The letter primarily discusses an impending meeting of the Blackfoot tribe to discuss legislative developments from Washington, D.C.

The other two letters are from Lester C. Nagley who was one of Anna Bowles Wiley's many friends in the art world.  Nagley was the leader of the Volunteers of America which supplied impoverished citizens with coal in the winter and ice in the summer.  Wiley and Nagley met in 1935 when Nagley was recovering from the physical breakdown incurred from overwork in the oppressive summer heat.  Wiley visited Nagley in the hospital and wrote several letters to Nagley while he was hospitalized in Indianapolis. 

The first of two letters to “My dear ‘Orphan Annie'” is dated June 27, 1936 and was sent in response to Wiley's letters, briefly recounting his charitable endeavors and her visit to him in the hospital.  Nagley discusses his plans to travel to Brown County to resume his artistic endeavors.

In his second letter, dated July 6, 1936, Nagley discusses his life as an artist in Brown County.

Nagley later returned to Terre Haute in November 1936 to exhibit watercolors he painted in Brown County during his recuperation.  Wiley wrote an article announcing the exhibit for the Tribune.

Anna Wiley's obituary, a brief biography of Nagley and an article about the watercolors exhibit by Wiley is in the inventory folder for this collection. 

Document Case





Folder 1

Letter from Louise Autey
  to Anna Bowles Wiley

Nov. 5, 1922




Folder 2

Letter from Lester C. Nagley
  to Anna Bowles Wiley

June 27, 1936




Folder 3

Letter from Lester C. Nagley
  to Anna Bowles Wiley

July 6, 1936