The G.P. Putnam's Sons records document the publishing firm's activities from 1891 to 1937. The collection includes abstracts of publishing agreements, lists of and detailed readers' reports about received manuscripts, and financial records. The collection's first 11 volumes contain detailed information about contractual agreements made between 1891 and 1937. These identify published works by title and author and include notes about royalties, copyright, translations, printings, and intended markets, most frequently North America, Great Britain, and British colonies.
Much of the rest of the collection relates to submitted manuscripts, the majority of which the firm did not publish. Three volumes list basic information about incoming manuscripts received from senders in London and, to a lesser extent, other locations in the United Kingdom, between 1920 and 1926. These are complemented by a group of readers' reports consisting of individual manuscripts and typescripts bound into 8 volumes. Covering the years 1910 to 1934, these reports contain the reviewers' candid opinions about submitted works, including many with titles in foreign languages such as German or French. Reviewers usually provided a general synopsis, offered editorial comments, and discussed the reviewed manuscript's potential economic viability.
The remaining volumes include 2 account books related to printing and binding costs for works published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, as well as an additional account book with more general records about the firm's gains and losses, among other financial subjects. The final volume contains abstracts of publishing agreements pertaining to works published by other companies, often with information about royalty percentages, film and serialization rights, and other intellectual property agreements.