The contents of this series have been drawn together chiefly from general, personal, and miscellaneous files accumulated in Solly Zuckerman's offices at Oxford and Birmingham Universities, the Zoological Society of London, and University of East Anglia (UEA). Some material from what is now Series SZ/CSA (The Chief Scientific Adviser) are included, as these were incorporated into current files at UEA on transfer to Norwich. With separate personnel operating independently in the running of SZ's empire, filing arrangements and classifications varied somewhat. There are therefore, inevitably, arbitrary separations from, or overlaps with, files within this series and other series - notably series SZ/BU (Birmingham University), SZ/CSA, SZ/PUB (publications, lectures etc), SZ/WF (Wolfson Foundation), and SZ/ZOO (Zoological Society of London) .
It is impossible to separate neatly Solly Zuckerman's social, scientific, and public lives; these files therefore contain correspondence with organisations as well as individuals, and deal with both public and private business. Similarly files of correspondence in other series will contain some material of a personal nature. The contents include correspondence with friends, other scientists, and colleagues in government circles. Family correspondence is conspicuously slight. Files also include related material, for example: photographs; press-cuttings; and drafts and copies of speeches, papers, and publications. The greater part of the pre-1960 material relates to Zuckerman's scientific research; that of the later period focusses on his multi-faceted public life, his later writings, or reflects his general curiosity about everything under the Sun. As with files of correspondence in other series, in particular SZ/BU and SZ/ZOO, Zuckerman's talent for picking the brains of all whom he met is evident.
The types of item to be found include: invitations - to official functions, to speak or lecture, to contribute to publications; exchanges of a social nature; correspondence relating to an individual's career and employment; nominations for honours; congratulations to Zuckerman on his honours or appointments; advice on the education of the offspring of friends and colleagues; medical advice; requests for his autograph; letters from victims of the Diaspora who claimed kinship with him; appeals for his support of activities, campaigns, or organisations; enquiries from postgraduate students and others conducting research into science or defence policy, or international relations; comments on his writings; correspondence on works of art and antiques; and unsolicited correspondence formerly assigned to folders variously marked Eccentrics or Nuts. In some cases files include photographic or other non-text material.
The size of file ranges from a single scrap of paper with an address or telephone number, as in the cases of Kevin Maxwell and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, to multiple sub-files sometimes extending over several boxes. Into the latter category fall the files relating to Edgar Kingston-McCloughry, Lord Mountbatten, Professor Charles Oxnard, and Prince Philip.