The Mullanphy-Clemens Family Manuscript Collection provides a snapshot of early socioeconomic conditions in the St. Louis area as it passed from French and Spanish rule to American dominion in the first decades of the nineteenth century. The collection also serves as a window onto the world of several generations of prominent St. Louisans as they grew up with the city to attain secure positions of prestige if not always of continued unbounded wealth. The collection contains items dating from 1767 to 1928, with the bulk of the material covering the period from 1820 to 1900. Most of the material consists of legal documents--abstracts, certificates, court decisions, deeds, leases, mortgages, powers of attorney, petitions, etc.--dealing with property that formed part of the John Mullanphy estate. The Surveys Series, which contains plats and surveys of various lands pursuant to sales and claims, lawsuits, and the like, is closely allied to that of Legal Documents.
The Reports Series includes information on the disposition of the Mullanphy estate, while the Publications Series contains pamphlets related to various lawsuits over land claims in which Mullanphy may have had some interest.
The Correspondence Series, second largest in extent, includes family and business letters. Here is correspondence between James Clemens Jr. and his cousin Mary Jane Riddle, for whom he attempts to gain restitution from a husband who deserted her after looting her of her fortune; Jeremiah W. Clemens on his trip to the Middle East and Bryan M. Clemens on life on the Texas frontier and in California; Catherine Clemens Cates Frost on tensions between herself, her husband, and her son; and many accounts by Clemens children of their experiences at boarding schools in the United States and abroad. The Diaries Series offers details of the daily life and travels both at home and abroad of Helen I. Clemens and Jeremiah W. Clemens. A sizable collection of ephemera includes many pieces of memorabilia picked up by these two on their European trips. The Financial Records Series contains account books and loose documents that reveal, among other things, the daily household expenses of Helen I. Clemens, her income from rental property, and her expenditures while on her European tour. Also here are accounts, bills, receipts, promissory notes, etc. related to the personal and professional lives of James Clemens Jr., James Wolfe Clemens, and John Mullanphy.
Quite a few documents relate to the medical career of James Wolfe Clemens, thus affording insight into early medical thought and practice. The Essays Series contains his thesis for the degree of doctor of medicine from the University of Pennsylvania, while the Lectures and Lecture Notes Series consist of notes for talks Clemens either heard as a student or delivered as a professor. The Reports Series includes Clemens' assessment of conditions in Ward 11 of Sisters' Hospital in St. Louis along with his recommendations for improvements, as well as his study of a bloodstained vest supposed to have been worn by a murderer. One of the scrapbooks in the Scrapbooks Series contains clippings related to Clemens' tenure as City Health Officer.