This collection is comprised of 53 letters addressed to Sophie Hoffman McLane, her daughter Sophie, and her husband Louis. Sophie received 12 letters from female friends between 1839 and 1849; her husband Louis received 3 letters in 1866; and her daughter Sophie received 9 letters from family members between 1871 and 1876. The collection also contains 29 undated letters addressed to either Sophie Hoffman McLane or her daughter of the same name, primarily from the elder Sophie's mother, E. Hoffman, and from female friends in Baltimore, Wilmington, and Philadelphia. Most letters concern the social and family lives of women in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware during the mid-19th century. One item is a set of "True Lovers Knots (in grass & in ribbon)."
The first 12 items, and most of the undated items, are personal letters Sophie Hoffman McLane received from female acquaintances prior to her marriage, mostly dated in 1839 and between 1847 and 1849. The writers discussed aspects of their lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, including family news, social events, and relationships between men and women. The women traveled in similar social circles and frequently mentioned the same mutual acquaintances. Among Sophie's most frequent correspondents were Mary A. Robeson (15 letters), Kate Milligan (6 letters), and her mother, E. Hoffman (8 letters). In the fall of 1866, her husband, Louis McLane, received 3 letters from friends in San Francisco, who wished him luck after hearing of his anticipated return to New York. Later letters, dated between 1871 and 1877, are primarily addressed to the younger Sophie McLane, including 4 letters from her father, Louis McLane, and 5 from her sister, Kate M. McLane (including letters from San Francisco). Both provided family news, such as updates on a newborn baby, and discussed traveling.
The collection's first letter is about the experiences of a woman named Ellen, who was visiting Paris (August 9, 1839). Two letters concern the birth of Charles McLane: Kate M. McLane's account (August 1, 1871), and Louis McLane's report of his health (August 17, 1871). Kate McLane wrote her sister Sophie about her experiences at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (November 3, 1876, 22 pages). Kate also drew a small diagram of a piece of machinery.