The Lacy family papers consist primarily of correspondence written by railroad engineer Robert L. Lacy to his parents and sister in Baltimore, Maryland, while he was a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and during the first years of his professional career.
The Correspondence series comprises the bulk of the collection. The first few letters are personal notes between Benjamin Lacy and Reverend Maltbie Davenport Babcock, both of Baltimore. The bulk of the material is dated between 1896, when Robert L. Lacy first moved to Boston, and 1907, when he was working at Oates Island, Tennessee, for the Southern Railway Company. In his letters from Boston, Robert told his parents of his daily life, and often shared stories about his landlady, fellow boarders, and other acquaintances; he also frequently reflected on his studies, a New Year celebration with the Technology Club, and on at least one occasion he shared his grades. Though predominately preoccupied by his social life, he occasionally mentioned politics, and in one letter mentioned placing a bet against the outbreak of war with Spain, which he discussed at length (March 14, 1898). Later, he explored the consequences of postwar United States actions in the Philippines and the effects of the Russo-Japanese War. After beginning his engineering career, he wrote mainly about his work and his places of residence, including South Carolina and Virginia; between 1905 and 1906, he spent most of his time on Oates Island, in southern Tennessee. Among the later letters was one written by Robert's future wife Dorothy about their upcoming wedding (April 5, 1925), and two written to the couple during their honeymoon in Bermuda that May.
The Ephemera series holds three greeting cards presented to Robert L. Lacy after 1925, celebrating the birth of a new baby (1928), Valentine's Day, and Easter. The series also contains a urinalysis report for "Mr. Lacy" from 1903, a photograph of a tree-lined river, and a printed poem entitled "The Lily of the Valley."