The collection comprises 186 picture postcards. About a third of them were written and sent, between 1908 and 1961; the rest are blank and may have been collected as mementoes. The postcards are black and white, colour or colourised.
The earliest postcards were sent to a Mrs Butler in Nottingham, whose relationship to the Bowler and Sharpe families is unknown. Numerous aunts sent postcards to 'Frankie' during his childhood in the 1910s-1920s. The bulk of the postcards were sent to Frank and Gertrude ('Gertie') Bowley in the 1930s-1950s, from family and friends on holiday. The family members who sent postcards included Gertrude's brother Albert and sister Annie, and Frank's brother George. The collection also includes postcards sent to Gertrude's mother Mrs Sharpe in Fiskerton, and postcards sent to Nancy or Nanny Judge who was living with the Bowleys in Bleasby in 1940-1941.
The cards depict a variety of images. Some, dating from the First World War period, give patriotic, romantic or even humorous images of soldiers in service (MS 192/167-170, 176-181). The majority of the cards depict towns (especially seaside towns), villages and churches in England. Postcards depicting Nottinghamshire include Thurgarton (MS 192/76, 77, 92, 93, 96, 125, 128, 130, 144), Southwell (MS 192/70, 73, 74, 158), and the churches of Cresswell (MS 192/86) and East Bridgford (MS 192/75). Other particularly well represented towns include Southampton in Hampshire, Bournemouth in Dorset and Skegness in Lincolnshire.