The collection is mostly personal correspondence and diaries, chiefly 1895-1968, collected and written by Mary Davidson Caley, her two daughters, Maybelle Caley Barker and Hilda Caley Noble, and Hilda’s daughter, Nadine Noble Sondergard. The Caley’s were white middle class women who lived in Sierra Madre, California for the majority of their lives. The personal letters and diaries of three generations of women contain topics related to the household operations, Spanish Flu 1918, farm operations in Ohio 1918, family finances, health concerns, local and national issues (Kennedy Assassination (1963), Watts Riots (1965) as well as social and religious activities.
Maybelle’s, Hilda’s and Nadine’s diary entries and letters on Nadine and Ray Sondergard’s courtship and early years together reflect the different perspectives of the women and their family interpersonal relationships and dynamics. Nadine married late in life for the time (36 years old) and it was her husband Ray's (45 years old) second marriage. He had an uneven employment history. They had at least one son. The Caley women lived and traveled up and down the US northwest coast from California to Oregon and frequently visited Ohio for extended periods. The women's diaries span from 1951-1966 while the letters are from 1895-1968. Mary Davidson Caley and Maybelle Caley Barker have a few individual diaries and notebooks from earlier years. Correspondence from over 80 friends and relatives of the Caley’s addressed to the women is included as well as 87 photographs of family, friends and landscapes. The correspondence is filed and organized by receipent rather than sender.