The Gibbons family papers consist of 180 items, dated from 1858 to September 10, 1941, though the bulk falls between July 11, 1868 and September 10, 1941. The collection contains letters, financial papers, documents pertaining to land ownership, lecture outlines and notes, and miscellaneous papers.
These papers reveal many difficulties confronted by a middle class family during this time period, such as obtaining education and employment. The letters also periodically mention notable historical events such as a new draft law (August 21, 1918), the undeclared war on Germany (September 10, 1941), and the lowering of Canadian lumber tariffs by Roosevelt. Among the more local concerns is the mention of a classmate's tuberculosis (August 9, 1940).
The 44 financial papers consist mostly of receipts and cashed checks. The land documents include deeds and indentures for land in Ohio, Kansas, and Oregon. The lecture outlines, notes, and drafts are primarily those of Thomas Gibbons in Ohio. They discuss subjects such as biology, classical history, education, and physiology. The miscellaneous papers include documents such as teaching certificates, a memorial, and letter fragments.