The collection is divided into papers and correspondence. The first section comprises 12 boxes of miscellaneous teaching and research notes; public addresses and speeches; lecture material, including Royal Institution lecture notes and lectures to learned societies and other bodies; drafts of published works; laboratory notebooks; biographical material, such as memberships cards and obituaries; and photographs and miscellanea.
The correspondence consists of original letters and xeroxed copies of several hundred Rutherford letters held elsewhere, mostly addressed to Rutherford. The greatest number of letters relate to the period 1906-1915. There are fewer for the period after his return to Cambridge in 1919. The letters cover Rutherford's relations with the Royal Society, the Royal Instutition, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Board of Invention and Research, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, the Solvay Foundation, and other organisations. Some of the principal individuals represented in the correspondence are B.B. Boltwood, N. Bohr, R.W Boyle, W.H. Bragg, J. Chadwick, J. Cockcroft, M. Curie, A.S. Eve, K. Fajans, H. Geiger, O. Hahn, G.E. Hale, G. Hevesy, J. Joly, L.V. King, J. Larmor, G.N. Lewis, E. Marsden, S. Meyer, J.N. Pring, O.W. Richardson, H.R. Robinson, A. Schuster, F. Soddy, and J.J. Thomson.