The documents in this series consist of private papers of all kinds, delivered into the court of Chancery by plaintiffs and defendants as evidence in their suits.
Most of the papers were delivered back to their owners, but those that remain form a major source for social, economic and business history. Some of the collections contain intimate correspondence, and family papers, including diaries and wills; others include estate papers and accounts covering several centuries.
Business, professional and trade papers are very well represented. There are important holdings relating to the army, individual artists, the book and newspaper trades, the building trades, charities, chemists, churchwardens accounts, the cloth trades, coachmakers, collieries and the coal trade, the diamond, gold and silver trades, hospitals, mining, naval officers and seamen, prize agents, privateers, schools, shipping, the slave trade, street lighting, undertakers, waterworks, and the wine trade.
There is also a considerable amount of material relating to the East India Company, India, the West Indies and North America, and foreign trade.
The exhibits in this series include many which originated in suits begun on the equity side of the Exchequer.