This collection primarily consists of 44 letters exchanged between members of the Hunter family of Wiseburg, Maryland, in 1859. Eliza Hunter ("Lida") received 19 letters from her parents, Margaret and Pleasant Hunter, when she was studying at Linden Hall Seminary in Lititz, Pennsylvania; she responded with 4 letters and 1 brief note. Other letters between female cousins and sisters concern various aspects of their lives, such as education, travel, and family news. Also included are 2 newspaper clippings and a receipt. With the exception of 1 letter written in 1856, 2 written in 1866, and 2 undated items, the letters all date between January 16, 1859, and December 8, 1859.
The Hunters provided Eliza with family and social news from their home in Wiseburg, Maryland. They often commented on health issues, deaths, and correspondence with cousins and other family members. In her letter of May 27, 1859, Eliza's mother described two deaths caused by railroad accidents. Eliza discussed some of her experiences while in school, and included details about her studies and about her social life.
Other female cousins and family members also wrote to unidentified members of the Hunter family, commenting on education, social news, visits to Baltimore, and other aspects of their lives. Eliza Hunter's cousin Annie wrote a letter from Natchez, Mississippi, about her upcoming journey home and about the recent explosion of the steamboat Princess (March 13, 1859); she also mentioned an African American man who wanted to return home with her. In 2 letters to her sister (September and December 1859), a woman named Clara mentioned her five miscarriages, her elderly mother's affairs, and the cost of feeding herself and her household (which included a nurse and food for her "woman" and 4 slaves).
Eliza also received brief letters from female acquaintances she knew from Linden Hall, who wrote of their journeys home from the school in the summer of 1859. Two newspaper clippings, one of which is dated 1866, discuss Byron Sunderland, former chaplain to the United States Senate, and a political speech by Frederick Douglass.