The letters and documents in this collection, including by many prominent Friends, shed light on several aspects of Quaker history and thought from religious to economic and cultural developments. Topics discussed include news of family and Friends, slavery and freedmen, Native Americans, Society of Friends affairs and controversies (e.g. Elias Hicks American Friends' Letters and the Separation of 1827-1828, the Wilbur-Gurney controversy, the Richmond Declaration of Faith), as well as women's suffrage, Japan, missionary work, ministers, spiritual matters, business, education, Friends and the military, etc. Among the letters are those of Phineas Pemberton, 1682, on education and temperance; Thomas Chalkley, 1742, on women's dress; Nicholas Waln, 1766, relating to commerce; Richard Partridge, 1749, on trade and Canada expedition; John Hunt, 1742, on shipping and privateers; John Woolman, 1763, on religious affairs; Isaac Zane, 1777, on iron works and Revolutionary War events; Henry Drinker and John Pemberton, 1777, relating to their exile in Winchester Va.
Correspondents include Moses Brown., George Churchman, Elijah Coffin, Elihu Grant, Stephen Grellet, Mary Coates Groth, J. Rendel Harris, Elias Hicks, John Hunt, Esther B. Jones, Jesse Kersey, Benjamin W. Ladd, Joseph Mendenhall, Lucretia Mott, William H. Nicholson, Robert Pleasants, James E. Rhoads, Elbert Russell, William Savery, Joseph Turner, John Greenleaf Whittier, John Woolman and others. Also includes papers of Masters and Sharpless families.