The Henry Carey letter book contains approximately 130 letters (536 pages) that Carey wrote to his father, Mathew Carey, about finances. Many letters pertain to the financial effects of Mathew Carey's retirement from his publishing firm. The volume consists of loose letters, many accompanied by their original coversheets, which were bound together at a later date.
After Henry Carey and his brother-in-law, Isaac Lea, took over the publishing firm, they and Mathew Carey drafted a contract specifying Mathew's proceeds from the sale of his firm to his son, though his cost of living quickly exceeded his annual allowance and led to a dispute over the amount of money he should receive. The first few pages of letters mainly document Mathew's financial affairs during the 1820s, with a few items dated as early as 1815. Most of the remaining correspondence dates between 1830 and 1835, as Mathew and Henry Carey attempted to reconcile their monetary differences. Henry's formal letters to this father focus on financial affairs, such as the costs of running a household ([March 16, 1830]). In 1835, the matter was handed to Philadelphia lawyer Horace Binney, who successfully arbitrated a satisfactory resolution.