The bulk of the collection consists of around 1300 boxes of correspondence, covering the period 1914-1968 and containing letters from authors, agents, publishers, booksellers, individual book buyers, tax collectors, binders, paper suppliers, advertisers, printers etc.
There are also lists of manuscripts received 1914-1972; a selection of publishing journals and ledgers 1917-1957; around 150 volumes recording payments to authors 1914-1969, with records of stock figures, reader's fees, advertising costs, insurance, warehousing etc.; books of outgoing letters 1914-1920; minutes of directors' meetings 1914-1967; registers of members 1921-1941; stock valuations 1920-1929; stock and sales records 1935-1940; company expense ledgers 1923-1961; records of dividend payments 1938-1970; various salary and wage records 1932-1954; invoice and payment records for shipments to booksellers in South and Central America 1945-1958; documents relating to the formation and operation of the Indian subsidiary company 1966-1974; insurance papers; tax documents 1936-1943; balance sheets 1914-1965; and miscellaneous company papers 1966-1983.
In addition, there some records from associated or subsidiary companies. Material from George Allen & Co. consists of production and promotion records 1904-1914; authors' accounts 1904-1914; directors' minutes 1911-1914; expenditure ledgers 1911-1913; and the register of members 1911-1913. Swan Sonnenschein material includes directors' minutes 1895-1909 and accounts 1884-1903. There are also some files from the firm of Elkin Mathews and Marrot, acquired in 1941. These consist of correspondence, agreements and copyright permissions, chiefly dating from the 1930s. Material from Bemrose & Sons includes a publishing ledger covering the period 1887-1894, and agreements and stock records 1908-1909 relating to the sale of the business to George Allen. Other companies are represented only by one or two documents. These include Headley Bros Ltd, Museum Street Buildings Ltd, Educational Bulletins Ltd, John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd, W.J. Bryce Ltd, Messers Unwin Brothers Ltd, Williams & Norgate Ltd, Book Centre Ltd, and Thomas Murby & Co.