Ada was born in Hudson, Illinois, to George and Josie Lentz on July 19, 1898. She married Stephen Eugene (Gene) Finley on September 8, 1920. They had two sons and lived in Lexington. She was a member of several community organizations: Women’s Welfare Home Extension of Lexington, Thursday Coffee Club, DAR, and the Lexington Historical and Genealogical Society. Every year starting in 1960 she kept a diary, one for the trips she took and one for day-to-day life. On September 8, 1970, Ada and Gene Finley celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by taking a month-long trip with their friends Russell and Anna who were celebrating their 48th anniversary. Ada kept an extensive diary of the trip and expenses. Gene died in December 1974. She kept her diaries through July 1987. Ada died on October 22, 1987.

The collection includes 31 diaries, her obituary, souvenirs, brochures, and postcards from her trips. An extensive account of the 50th anniversary trip in 1970 is separate along with the diary for that trip. Her diaries include every year from 1960 (except 1961 and 1986) through mid-1987. All are records of daily life, and many of the years have a separate diary for trips taken and their travel expenses.