This catalogue lists papers used or collected by the first nine Secretaries of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the course of their employment. The catalogue provides details of 162 volumes and files for the period 1846-1956.
Only one element of the collection, the rough agenda and minute books kept to record Council and Committee meetings, were kept and preserved with any regularity or consistency between Secretaries. This aside, most of the earlier papers are chance survivals of documents, since Institutional letter books were destroyed during the First World War (pulped in aid of paper shortages). So, for example, much of the material relating to Alfred Bache's work consists of a single bundle of personnel papers. The documents were discovered misfiled, hence their preservation.
The collections are necessarily incomplete, but are important to the extent that they give some idea of day-to-day administration of the early Institution of Mechanical Engineers.