The bulk of the collection consists of letters to Mrs. Mamie Tibbs and four of her children from family and friends, the majority written from 1939-1945. Letters from one family member to another are filed in the folder of the recipient; letters in each folder are arranged chronologically. There are no letters to or from James or Shirley. There are a number of letters from Albert to various family members filed in the recipients’ folders. Other papers include a variety of personal and family cards, announcements, invitations, etc.
The papers were left in the family’s house at 712 Elm Street when they moved and were retrieved by Grinnell College students when some letters blew out of the abandoned house into the neighborhood. This is not a complete family record and does not give a complete accounting of the family history. The letters do give some insight into the everyday life and concerns of a black family living in a white community during the 1940s and 1950s and of blacks in the armed forces during and after World War II.