The collection comprises:
Correspondence of Priscilla McLaren (née Bright), 1829-1885 (N Mc 1-3);
Correspondence of Sir Henry Norman, c.1875-1885 (N Mc 4);
Printed items including a published biography and diaries of John Bright (N Mc 5);
Album of photographs depicting the installation of John Campbell Boot, 2nd Baron Trent as the 1st Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, 1949. Lord Trent's page on the occasion, and shown in some of the photographs was Jeremy Norman (N Mc 6).
Priscilla McLaren's wide political, social and family contacts are evident in her correspondence which reveals her views on many of the contemporary issues of public debate, including the Corn Laws, the Home Rule Bill, and the policies of Gladstone and Palmerston. The series documents contacts between suffragist supporters, and demonstrates the significance of family connections among the social reformers of the mid to late nineteenth century.
Sir Henry Norman's correspondence is primarily with his parents during his student years. These letters are particularly interesting for their extensive personal commentary on American life and society. Norman was able to give detailed accounts of the 1876 presidential elections, of visits to the House of Representatives and a meeting at the White House with President Rutherford B. Hayes. Also preserved here is a letter of introduction by the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, together with Norman's first-hand account of the centennial celebrations of American independence.