The collection consists of manuscripts of many published works, illustrations from Chesterton’s time at the Slade School of Art and later, correspondence with family and friends, and albums of press clippings. There are also microfiche copies of the papers of Chesterton’s wife Frances (1875-1938), including her plays and poems. Additionally, the collection contains material added by Dorothy Collins after Chesterton’s death.
In addition to the Chesterton papers on microfiche the G.K. Chesterton Archival Collection contains 10 original illustrations as well as one of Chesterton’s sketchbooks. Most of the sketches date from his period at the Slade School of Art, but there are several from earlier.
The Papers of Monsignor John O’Connor (1870-1952) are also a part of the G.K. Chesterton Archival Collection. Monsignor O’Connor was the Catholic priest who became the model for Chesterton’s character “Father Brown”. In February 1903 O’Connor wrote to Chesterton, and the following year they formed an immediate bond of friendship which was to last more than thirty years. In 1921 O’Connor was present at Chesterton’s reception into the Catholic Church. The papers of Monsignor O’Connor include a number of manuscripts of his poems and essays, Christmas greetings from the Chesterton’s, personal letters, and newspaper clippings by and about Chesterton.