The Gardner family papers consists of 7 letters, 2 drafts of letters, and 1 financial document. The financial document is a note for £1103 with interest, addressed to John Gardner. The next six items are letters sent to Joseph's eldest brother Theophilus Gardner, who was the "heir at law" to the estate.
Items include the following letters: James White of Savanalamar, Jamaica, who informed Theophilus of his brother's death (1780); Andrew A. Robinson of Kingston, Jamaica, who warned that the estate was being mismanaged (1784); John Wedderburn, temporary manager of the estates, who described the production of and debts accrued by the estate and looked into having the property sold (1785 and 1786); and John Cunningham of Montego Bay, Jamaica, who took over the estate management (1789). The final three items are letters from Theophilus Gardner while he is in Jamaica with his daughter Betsy, including a letter and draft to his wife Peggy in New York, in which he described in detail his efforts to settle the estate (1789). The final item is a draft of a letter, written by Theophilus Gardner, that further details dealings with the estate (1789). These documents provide insight into plantation management and the difficulties of estate transfers in 18th-century Jamaica.