The fonds consists of correspondence, subject files, addresses, lecture notes and various other writings. The material represents his academic and creative writing courses from the year 1950 to 2006. In addition it contains his research notes and numerous offprints used for research and study. There is a very small amount of personal correspondence.
The fonds predominantly consists of records pertaining to the A. Davis and Son tannery operations in Kingston, Ontario from 1903 to 1980. There is a small amount of material pertaining to Davis Leather Company tannery operations in other locations, as well as some personal family record. The records are both administrative and operational in nature and range in topic from equipment, tanning formulae and processes to financial accounts and employee agreements and arrangements. The fonds has been arranged by the archivist into two series: Operational records and Administrative records; there are subseries within each.
The fonds consist of photographs depicting life in Chesterfield's postings within the Hudson Bay district, such as Moosefactory, Fort George, Great Whale River, and Rigolet on the Labrador coast. Included also are images depicting Montreal buildings, agricultural scenes from the area, various public events which took place, such as government announcements. There are photographs of the Ile d'Orléans, where Chesterfield felt there had been a return to "simpler" times. Also he took various photographs of tourist attractions around Canada, such as Hamilton Falls, Ontario and Montreal winter scenes, and images of maple syrup being made. There are also some selected images he took while he worked as a general press photographer of important events, such as the visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada in 1923. Included in the collection are [portrait] photographs of Inuit and Cree, he took these as both an observer of tradition and as fur trapper. In one of his albums there are images of Canadians preparing for WWI featuring various government officials, and many different battalions from Ontario and Montreal. There are also photographs of Mr. Chesterfield himself. The fonds also contain manuscripts written himself describing life as a fur trader, the various cultures he encountered and his interactions with different peoples as well as his opinions of them, and personal comments and descriptions of some of his photographs.
Letters, pictures and article by J.D. McLennan concerning the donation to Queen's Museum in March 1898 of the quern belonging to the McQuaig family of Glengarry county. The history of these particular querns dates back to early days in Scotland, c.1700.