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1-5 unpublished drafts of Eothen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36 unpublished review of The Crescent and the Cross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 1854-6 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.
Although there is not much detail, the letters do give a picture of the attitudes and pursuits of a well-to-do family of the period. They show that William Kinglake lavished a great deal of money and care on the education of all his children, and continued to support his eldest son through his early 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, 96) and cultivating a mildly cynical and world-weary attitude to life.
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 1834-5 (1/85-6). There are two leaves of a journal describing a visit to Cadiz in 1839 (2/11), and notebooks containing journals of his 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 1854-6 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). The success of Eothen led to requests for articles in the Quarterly Review, and Kinglake drafted 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 had a lifelong interest in politics, particularly in foreign affairs. The letters written to him as an M.P. (section 6) 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 Thackeray, Caroline Norton, Lucie Duff Gordon and her daughter Janet Ross. The last-named summed up Kinglake, after his death, as "that marvellous mixture of pride and humility, of daring and intense shyness, of affection and cynicism, the brilliant talker who often never spoke, the most loveable of men."