This collection (182 items) is primarily made up of personal letters to Elizabeth Hollister Lyons, whose friends and family members discussed their lives in Connecticut and Illinois. Her correspondents included her sisters Artemisia (18 items, 1851-1902), Clara (20 items, 1852-1862), Emily (6 letters, 1853-1856), and Sarah (27 items, 1847-1871); her brother Lee and his wife Caroline (18 items, 1847-1867); and her parents Horace and Artemisia (18 items, 1849-1864).
Elizabeth's sisters Artemisia and Emily provided news of Salisbury, Connecticut, with additional comments from "Arte" about experiences teaching school. Clara wrote about sewing, dressmaking, and domestic life in Brooklyn, New York; one of her later letters refers to Salisbury residents serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. Lee Hollister and his wife Caroline discussed their life in Illinois, where Lee taught school. Letters by a fourth sibling, Sarah Hollister Walker, pertain to her life in Metamora, Illinois, and to local religious issues. Horace and Artemisia Hollister, Elizabeth's parents, gave news of family and friends in Salisbury, discussed political issues, and mentioned the possibility of moving to Illinois with their children.
The remaining letters, from other family members and friends, concern the writers' lives in New England and the Midwest. Additional items include a printed letter to members of the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Dodge, Iowa; Mary Lyons's diploma from the Normal Institute of Humboldt County, Iowa; a document regarding the disposition of Walter Lyons's estate; and miscellaneous notes.