The collection consists of extensive transcripts, notes and original items relating principally, though not exclusively, to the history of Cambridgeshire and its parishes. Among the primary material are a journal of an Italian tour kept by Peter Cowling in 1786; a diary of M.F. Dayrell of Camps Park, 1866; the journal and sketch book maintained by Peter Cowling of Fenstanton on a round trip from Fenstanton to Oxford in 1810; a day book of John Davey of Hadstock, carter, dung and straw merchant, 1818-1834; and a prescription book of Thomas Frewen, the Sussex apothecary and physician, 1750-1755. The papers are divided into 4 main sections:
A. Main series of notebooks, box files and folders, mostly labelled by Palmer.
B. Supplementary series of files, folders, bundles and other papers, containing notes and other writings, mainly by Palmer, as well as miscellaneous matter.
C. Original documents, such as a diary, plans, journals, a sketch book, a day book, land surveys, a prescription book, an account book and a commonplace book.
D. Various printed items.