The William Brunton journal contains an autobiographical sketch and diary notes that Brunton, a Unitarian minister from Boston, composed for his son, Herbert Rogers Brunton ("Bertie"), about the boy's childhood. He described his son's temperament and daily activities during his first 10 years of life.
The volume, entitled "Remembrances of The Early Days of Herbert Rogers Brunton," is approximately 100 pages long. Its first 17 pages consist of William Brunton's autobiographical sketch about his childhood in England and first years in the United States. He described his schooling, his early entry into the work force, his alcoholic father, and his early religious training in Manchester, England. William moved on to an examination of Herbert's personality and kept semi-regular diary entries from April 4, 1880-December 31, 1885. The diary concerns Herbert's development, primarily through anecdotes. Herbert, described by his father as a "Mother's boy," frequently traveled to the family's farm near his grandparents' home in Braintree, Vermont (purchased in March 1880), and often voiced a dislike of schooling despite frequently excelling in his studies. The diary also recounts the family's health and activities, such as Nellie's many illnesses and annual Christmas celebrations. Several personal letters, written to Herbert and to Nellie by her parents, have been bound into the second half of the volume, along with a receipt for a suit and cap from a clothing company. A few poems are posted into the later pages. Additional material includes two children's sketches, sketches "done by Mamma when you had the scarlet fever 1885," and a manuscript poem, "For His Grave."