Whaley Family Archives
An intimate look into the lives of the Whaley family
Shortly after the historic 1857 Whaley House in Old Town was saved from demolition and purchased by the County of San Diego in 1956, a descendant of Thomas and Anna Whaley loaned the contents of two old trunks to the museum. What the trunks held was a treasure trove of history, both about the Whaley House and about early San Diego: over 13,000 letters, as well as nineteenth century theater programs, invitations, notebooks and ledgers, invoices, books, advertising handbills, and photographs. The collection, which came to be called "The Whaley Papers" was partially transcribed and duplicated onto microfilm.
The Whaley Papers, many over 150-years-old, document San Diego's business life, politics and government affairs, weather, Indian troubles, townspeople, and the rivalry between Old Town and New Town, as well as the personal correspondence, notebooks, photos and journals of Thomas and Anna Whaley and their family. These important documents were tightly guarded with only a few select researchers granted access, and even then to only parts of the collection. They have never been available to the general public... until now.
Now, through the generosity of the family, historians, scholars, and Whaley House enthusiasts are able to view these papers in their entirety for the first time ever right here at whaleyhouse.org. We hope that you will find the collection as fascinating as we do.
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HISTORY & RESTORATION