This collection is comprised of 3 letter books containing copies of business and personal letters written by Daniel H. B. Davis, who owned a shipping firm that conducted business in New York City and in Lima, Peru. Davis's private correspondence relates to business affairs and, particularly in the later volumes, the politics of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile during the War of the Pacific.
Davis wrote the earliest letters in Volume 1 (January 10, 1871-May 10, 1875, 482 pages) from Lima, Peru, regarding the local affairs of Davis Brothers. After his return to New York, Davis wrote about his social life and commented on business. Volume 2 (June 9, 1879-April 19, 1881, 301 pages) also relates to business affairs, and contains letters to James B. Davis and to B. H. Kaufmann ("Harry"), a business associate in Lima. Davis discussed South American politics as conflicts between Peru, Chile, and Bolivia escalated into the War of the Pacific. This volume also contains several letters inserted between its front cover and first page, which were written by James B. Davis and B. H. Kaufmann between 1880 and 1881 and concentrate on South American politics. Davis lived in Lima, Peru, while composing Volume 3 (May 25, 1881-April 2, 1884, 493 pages) and continued to discuss politics and business; he occasionally described other aspects of life in Peru and commented on news from New York.