One hundred and eight typescript and manuscript letters from Smyly to his mother, Lady Smyly, on his way to and while living in Sierra Leone, 1895-1900, and one letter to Smyly from his mother, 25 August 1897. The series appears to be reasonably complete, although there are a few unfinished letters and one or two gaps. Some of the letters are accompanied by photocopied duplicates or notes by Grace Smyly. Miss Smyly has also included the beginning of a list of Smyly's letters of 1895 (1 page), a summary of places where Smyly spent his Christmases (1 page) and brief notes from his diary, October 1897-September 1911 (2 pages). There is also a printed plan of the cabins and other parts of the SS 'Angola'.
Lady Smyly appears to have been somewhat critical of the regularity of her son's correspondence, and as a result there is a great deal of information in the letters about mail conditions and related topics. Other regular subjects covered include Smyly's interest in animals and birds, climate and leave prospects. He provides details of life in Sierra Leone and mentions many members of the local community.