The description of MSS/929-942 as Gibson Papers refers to the donor Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, but very few of the papers relate to him directly. In the introduction to his Catalogue of the archiepiscopal manuscripts in the library at Lambeth Palace, 1812, H.J. Todd stated that Archbishop Tenison (1636-1715) gave those of his papers now included in these volumes to Edmund Gibson, who was then his Librarian and Chaplain. Gibson in his lifetime directed his executors to deposit them at Lambeth, and this was done on Gibson's death in 1748 with the addition of further papers he had collected himself. Todd added that the papers continued 'in a confused state' until June 1758 they were 'methodized' by A.C. Ducarel at Archbishop Seeker's request. Ducarel numbered the items in each volume and appears to have made a limited effort to arrange some of them by subject, but his neglect of chronology prevented him from identifying the various groups of papers contained in the collection.
The largest part of the Gibson Papers consists of papers of Archbishop Tenison, and includes some concerning his Cambridge career and his tenure of the see of Lincoln. The rest of the collection consists of papers from four distinct sources. These are:
(1) Bacon. A quantity of papers are strays from the papers of Anthony Bacon, secretary to Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, whose papers are now MSS. 647-62. A complete volume of the papers of Francis Bacon (MS. 936) probably has a common origin with the Anthony Bacon papers.
(2) Murray. A quantity of papers concerning the reign of James I, many of them relating to events in the Palatinate, appear to be strays from the papers of Thomas Murray (1564-1623), secretary to Charles I as Prince of Wales and Provost of Eton in 1622, which have recently been identified as MSS. 663-9.
(3) Lambeth. A number of papers probably emanated from Lambeth, though their exact origin is not at present always certain. Amongst them are sixteenth-century documents concerning the Family of Love, and various documents relating to Tenison's predecessors Archbishops Whitgift, Laud, and Tillotson.
(4) Gibson. A small number of papers seem to have belonged to Gibson himself and concern the early part of his career.