Documents from the earlier period are largely confined to the series of deeds, which begin in the late 13th century and relate to the Talbot estates in Dublin, Louth, Meath and Waterford. Other estate papers are few and such as survive are chiefly for the Malahide estate itself between 1880 and the Second World War, although there are some relating to the family estates in Scotland and Somerset.
Few personal papers exist before the late 18th century but the collection is rich in the correspondence and papers of 19th-century members of the family. It includes an important series of letters and papers of James Talbot, 3rd Baron, while on diplomatic service in the Swiss Cantons and Sweden, 1796-1801; and a large quantity of papers, including many copies of documents in the public records, amassed by his elder brother Richard Wogan Talbot, 2nd Baron, in connection with two legal disputes with the Crown in the 1830s. The correspondence of their brothers and sisters and of the descendants of the 3rd Baron also survive in quantity and includes series of letters home from William Talbot while on service in India and the Crimea, 1849-55, and from Milo Talbot in India and Afghanistan, 1876-88, and in Egypt, 1916-17. There are also good series of personal and estate correspondence of the 4th and 5th Barons from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries.
The collection also includes some strayed business records of Dillons, the Dublin solicitors, who were agents for the Malahide estate from 1861 to 1919.