The Patrick Hankerd series documents the activities of Patrick Hankerd and his family. The earliest materials concern Patrick's father Michael Hankerd (1808-1861). In the collection there is a deed, dated 1835 and signed by Andrew Jackson, for lands in Washtenaw County, Michigan Territory. Another deed for lands in Dexter dates from 1837. Several of the earliest letters in this series are addressed to Margaret Hankerd in 1867 from her brothers in Boston inquiring about the possibilities for work in Michigan. The series includes account books and receipts from this period when he operated a lumber and harness store in Munith as well as from his farming days. His diaries contain terse entries on the weather and business and farming activities between 1840 and 1889. Some of the material in this series, and much in the following series, documents Patrick's active political career. His papers also includes his appointment as delegate to the National Farmers Congress of the United States from 1891-1893. There is also a letterhead naming Hankerd as president of the Michigan State Union of the American Society of Equity and proclaiming "Farmers to the Front."
The bulk of the correspondence was exchanged among the Hankerd children and their mother Sarah while the children were away at school or work. These letters are rich with details about daily life. They offer insight into the occupational opportunities open to women at the turn of the century. The letters to and from Vincent are numerous and give an especially complete picture of the metamorphosis of a high-spirited schoolboy into a seminarian.