Scope and arrangement
This is a synthetic collection consisting of manuscripts, correspondence, and financial documents. The manuscripts comprise portions of his novels and stories including "Afloat and Ashore," "The Headsman," "Homeward Bound," "The Oak Openings, or, The Bee-Hunter," "The Prairie," "The Water Witch," and "Wyandotte"; as well as drafts of the essays "Old Ironsides" and "The History of the Navy of the United States." The correspondence consists of letters from the author, dating from 1825 to , to John Fagan, Thomas W. Field, James S. Mead, J. D. P. Ogden, J. K. Paulding, Henry Philips, Lady William Russell, Charles Wilkes, the publishers Carey and Lea, and others; as well as letters, dating from  to 1904, between various correspondents, including Richard Harris Barham, Richard Bentley, Joseph Conrad, Susan Fenimore Cooper, Charles Henry Hart, and others. There is also a letter addressed to Cooper from Sir Walter Scott, dated 1826.
The James Fenimore Cooper collection of papers are arranged in three series: