The collection sheds light on the Kinglakes's family life, including the lavish amounts spent by William Kinglake on his children's education, and the support he gave his eldest son through his earliest and unsuccessful years as a barrister. They also show A.W. Kinglake developing a taste for the best society and its attendant expense (letters 1/38, 81 and 96)
Kinglake's love of travel is seen in letters written on journeys in Wales, 1833 (1/76-9); France, 1834 (1/81-2); North Africa and Spain, 1839 (1/103); Switzerland, 1843 (1/108); as well as his Eastern Tour of 1834-1835 (1/85-6). There are two leaves of a journal describing a visit to Algiers in 1845 to follow the French military campaigns (4/1-3), and to the Crimea in 1854 (5/1-2). The material on the Crimean War (section 5) includes additionally a series of letters, 1854-1856, from W.G. Romaine, who was attached to the British Headquarters staff as Judge Advocate.
The papers include some drafts of material intended for Eothen but not in the end included, principally a description of a visit to the Island of Scio (3/1-5). There are also articles by Kinglake produced for the Quarterly Review in response to the success of Eothen, and an article on the relations between Europe and the Turkish Empire (3/36) which was intended as a review of his friend Eliot Warburton's book The Crescent and the Cross, but which was never used.
Kinglake's interest in politics, particularly in foreign affairs, is represented by letters written to him as an M.P. (section 6), which give a few details of his participation in debates in the House of Commons, and include letters from Henry Drummond Wolff in 1863 (6/29-33) on the problems of transferring the administration of the Ionian Islands from Britain to Greece.
The final section of correspondence (7) contains letters to Kinglake from a wide variety of his friends, notably William Makepeace Thackeray, Caroline Norton, Lucie Duff Gordon, and her daughter Janet Ross.
1. Family letters (packets 1-6)
1-35 Kinglake brothers in boyhood, 1819-1828; 36-67 A.W. Kinglake at Cambridge, 1828-1832; 68-134 A.W. Kinglake in London, 1832-1859; 135-160 A.W. Kinglake late letters, 1886-1890; 161-177 Charles W. Kinglake in Edinburgh, 1829-1834; 178 Christina Kinglake, 1833; 179 R. Arthur Kinglake, 1840; 180-183 J. Hamilton Kinglake, 1830-1835.
2. Miscellaneous personal and family items (packets 7-10)
1-21 miscellaneous personal items; 22-24 proposed duel with E.M. Fitzgerald, 1846; 25-46 letters of condolence, etc., 1891; 47-99 Kinglake family bills, 1828-1829.
3. Eothen and magazine articles (packets 11-12)
1-5 unpublished drafts of Eothen; 6-17 correspondence with publishers; 18-30 reviews and letters of appreciation; 31-35 correspondence about Quarterly Review articles; 36 unpublished review of The Crescent and the Cross.
4. Journey to Algeria (packet 13)
1-3 notebooks, 1845.
5. Crimean War and its history (packets 14-18)
1-2 notebooks, 1854; 3-54 letters of W.G. Romaine, 1854-1856, and J. Missirie, 1853; 55-58 publication of The Invasion of the Crimea; 59-76 visit to Crimea, 1869, notes, memoranda; 77-135 letters about the history.
6. Political correspondence (packet 19)
1-33 letters to Kinglake as M.P. for Bridgewater.
7. General correspondence (packets 20-23)
1-127 letters from friends, etc.
8. Printed material (4 items)
1-4 articles on Kinglake, etc.