Chiefly letters to Nicholas Kilburn, together with a few letters to his wife Alice, and several miscellaneous items.
The letters are largely concerned with amateur music making, particularly in the North East of England, but also include accounts of music heard during travels on the continent and in America, news of Elgar, and a letter from Eva Wagner settling a point about the correct staging of her father's opera Parsival. They illustrate both the vigour of Kilburn's contribution to the musical life of the North East and the wide range of his contacts among contemporary composers and musicians, both English and American. Kilburn's correspondents include the British composers Sir Frederick Bridge (1844-1924), Sir George Henschel (1850-1934), and Hamish MacCunn (1816-1916), and the Americans Horatio Parker (1863-1919) and Bertram Shapleigh (1871-1940). Correspondents from outside the musical world include Sir Willam Eden (1849-1915), soldier and amateur artist, Samuel Smiles, author of Self-Help, two bishops of Durham, Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) and H.C.G. Moule (1841-1920), and Thomas Carlyle's daughter, Mary.