The Laurence Barrett family papers consist primarily of correspondence written between Laurence Barrett and his siblings during the World War II era, while Barrett served in the United States Navy. The collection contains several editions of the Hillcote Herald, which provided news of the extended Barrett family. The earliest items in the collection, written in lengthy letters to his parents in the late 1930s, document Laurence's attempt to secure a teaching position at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts, and his visit to Ireland. Though Barrett enlisted in the Navy and served during the Second World War, the family's correspondence tended to be lighthearted, and Laurence and his siblings most often discussed matters other than the war. One somber exception is the December 7, 1941 edition of The Hillcote Herald, whose authors reflected, "This is, we suppose IT. IT being the thing that a great many millions of Americans have been hoping might someday be prevented from taking place." Though most of the material originated from members of the Barrett family, Laurence received mail from several acquaintances from his prewar educational endeavors.
Additional items include numerous unlabeled snapshots, several printed booklets about Wales, two book catalogs, two newspaper clippings about the Navy Reserves, and an Irish road atlas.