Scope and arrangement
The bulk of the papers consist of correspondence and writings. There are also papers relating to the Historical Printing Club, miscellaneous papers and press clippings. The correspondence is arranged into general and family correspondence (in chronological order) and is mainly letters received although there are scattered drafts or copies of outgoing correspondence. The general correspondence (1870-1902) is with scholars, historians, librarians, publishers, editors, printers, officials of historical societies, friends and associates. The correspondence relates mainly to Ford's historical researches and to the publication of his books, bibliographies and historical writings. There is some correspondence relative to the dramatization of his novels and the production of his plays, correspondence relative to his editorship of The Library Journal,and to his compiliation of a bibliography of the writings of members of the American Historical Association. His personal and social liife is also represented although to a lesser degree. Correspondents include Herbert B. Adams, John Bigelow, Clarence W. Bowen, Richard Rogers Bowker, Thomas F. Clark, Augustin Daly, Dodd, Mead & Co., Wilberforce Eames, Harper & Brothers, Albert Bushnell Hart, Ripley Hitchcock,Henry Holt, Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, Beatrice Cameron Mansfield, Richard Mansfield, Charles Nordhoff, Walter Hines Page, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Scribner's Sons, Horace Elisha Scudder, Lindsay Swift, and Edith Thomas.
The family correspondence (1879-1893) which is only partially sorted consists of letters from his brother, Worthington, and from his sisters, Emily, Rosalie, and Kathleen. The letters from Worthington concern editorial and publishing matters as well as personal and family affairs.
The writings are arranged in to fictional and non-fictional writings and include manuscript and typescript drafts of his novels, plays, historical and bibliographical writings. Some of the manuscript drafts are incomplete. Included also are miscellaneous writings consisting (in part) of articles describing Ford's journey (1877) to the West Indies and a manuscript copy and galley proofs of a shipboard newspaper (“The Occaisional Barracoutean”) edited by Ford during the trip. There are also drafts of editorials and reviews published in The Library Journal.The papers relating to the Historical Printing Club consist of copies of publications of the Club printed in limited edition from original documents in the Ford family's collection of Americana. Each copy is numbered as being one of a set. Included also are unsorted printed ephemera, a few manuscript drafts of advertisements, and page and galley proofs of The Press of North Carolina in the Eighhteenth Century,by Stephen B. Weeks (HPC, 1891).
The miscellaneous papers include a childhood photograph of Ford, bills & receipts, cards and invitations, membership certificates, and obituaries.
The press clippings are loose clippings of reviews of Ford's published writings arranged by title of the work. There are also two boxes of unsorted papers.
The Paul Leicester Ford papers are arranged in eight series: