This collection consists of 10 letters Edward Jones Williams and his wife, Helen Burton Williams, wrote to their relatives in Wisconsin between 1908 and 1912. Helen wrote 4 letters and Edward wrote 6.
Helen Burton Williams first wrote her sister, Margaret Breese, on January 1, 1908, describing her surroundings and life in the Panama Canal Zone. She expressed some of her frustrations with housekeeping and the local cuisine, and provided detailed descriptions of the environment and the people, especially the women. In her other 3 letters - one dated December 9, 1909, and two undated letters - she discussed Christmas celebrations, travel plans, and news about the Williams' daughter, Charlotte Mary.
Edward Jones Williams wrote the remaining 6 letters in the collection to his mother-in-law, Abbie M. Burton, and to other family members, including three addressed to "Mother," and one to his sister, Mary Hooker of Wausau, Wisconsin. He described daily life in the Panama Canal Zone, including Fourth of July preparations (June 7, 1909), Christmas celebrations at the local YMCA (December 21, 1909), local military tensions (December 21, 1909), increasing tourism (December 21, 1912), and family news. In his letter of December 21, 1912, he mentioned preparations for a visit by President William Howard Taft.
Edward composed a 3.5-page letter to his mother-in-law Abbie M. Burton (July 23, 1909), in which he mentioned the finances of the Isthmian Canal Commission. This letter also contains thoughts on Theodore Roosevelt's upcoming visit to Panama.