Edward Mayne Wilson was born August 16, 1866, in Dale Township, McLean County. His parents were Adoniram Judson Wilson and Ellen E. (Cornell) Wilson. He was the third of nine children.

From an early age, Wilson showed great interest in writing and recording events in and around Dale Township and greater McLean County. In 1881, at the age of 15, he began writing a journal he called The Times. This journal, like all that followed, was written newspaper-style using banners, headlines, and columns. He continued with The Keystone Monthly, The News, The Dale, and last, The Daliete. He was an accomplished amateur artist, and these journals include wonderfully detailed pencil and pen sketches of landscapes, buildings, and humorous scenes of college life.

The collection materials consist of Wilson’s journals written from the age fifteen until 1903, the year of his death. The collection also contains articles he wrote for The Pantagraph, newspaper articles and genealogy information.