This collection consists primarily of letters received by Polly Carpenter Jones between 1814 and 1865, as well as two letters addressed to her husband, Austin Jones of Harford, Pennsylvania. The first items in the collection chiefly concern Polly's schooling in Harford, Pennsylvania, and include advice on the importance of an education, among other topics. Thomas Sweet specifically addressed the art of writing to a woman, admitting his own inexperience (December 4, 1816). Another early letter, written by William Torrey on December 29, 1818, concerns the administration of Sabbath schools and addresses Polly as the leader of such a school in Mt. Ararat, Pennsylvania. After 1857, much of Polly's incoming correspondence originated from her daughter Sarah, who wrote about her experiences teaching school in Canandaigua, New York, and who, in the collection's final letter, mentioned the recent fall of Richmond, Virginia, at the end of the Civil War (April 5, 1865). Another late correspondent, Hannah T. Ride, wrote a nostalgic letter about old friends in Harford and provided advice on medicinal plants (May 13, 1858). Undated material includes several similar letters from family and friends, including one from Polly's sister Betsey, who also taught school.
In addition to Polly's incoming correspondence, the collection holds one letter addressed to Ann Jones and two addressed to Austin Jones, Polly's husband; one of these, written by Polly weeks before their wedding, asked him to confirm his feelings for her (September 3, 1824), and another provided news of family members and acquaintances of Lydia W. Jones (March 10, 1855).