The Childe family papers contain correspondence and documents primarily related to Zachariah Child of West Boylston, Massachusetts, and his son John; John later used the surname "Childe." Until 1844, most items relate to landholdings belonging to Zachariah and David Child in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, including three manuscript maps of tracts in Shrewsbury and Boylston, several official indentures, and two unofficial indentures made in 1822 between Zachariah Child and Dorothy Thurston, a widow. The collection also holds correspondence addressed to John Childe (formerly Child) in Troy, New York; West Boylston, Massachusetts; and Springfield, Massachusetts, in the mid-19th century. His brother Marcus, who lived in Stanstead, Quebec, discussed the family's farm in West Boylston, as well as other legal matters, and officially designated John Childe his attorney at law (April 25, 1844).
Later letters primarily concern John Childe's engineering career, including congratulations from William B. Trotter after a recent legal triumph (February 20, 1857) and a letter from Childe to Mobile & Ohio Railroad President Judge Hopkins about the effects of financial regulations on railroad construction in the West and Southwest (March 17, 1856). His second wife, Ellen Healy Childe, received several letters following his death, documenting biographical details of his life, for use in a biographical sketch. These cover his early life and time in the military and include a contribution from his brother, David Lee Child (July 22, 1859). John Healy Childe also received a letter from Henry Clark, who agreed that his daughter Jessie could marry Childe (August 5, 1889). An undated "Family Record" gives birth and death dates for the family of Zachariah and Lydia Bigelow Child, and a brief biographical sketch of John Healy Childe.