The papers of James Lockwood Wright consist of an eleven volume journal kept for thirty years, from the beginning of his study at Yale College in 1828 through 1858. While Wright does describe various events in his life and the world around him, his major concern in with his inner religious condition. As a young man he constantly doubted the sincerity of his faith and his fitness for the ministry, and lamented his frequent lapses from Godly behavior and recurrent fits of depression (1828 Nov 29, Dec 20, 1831 Mar 14, 1835 Feb 1, 1842 Mar, 1853 Oct 15). Much interested in the revival movements of his era, he participated both as a student and as a minister (1831 Mar 14, 1833 Sep, 1851 Jan 27, 31, 1858 Jan 27), and describes evangelical work with black residents of New Haven (1833 Feb 3), the process of conversion of one of his parishioners (1851 Jan 31), and a multitude of sermons, both his own and others.
Other topics which Wright mentions include his activities as a Yale student, including attendance at a lecture by Elias Boudinot on behalf of the Cherokee nation (1832 Feb 14) and various temperance and abolition activities (1833 Sep 3). After graduation Wright lived by farming, teaching school, and occasional preaching before taking a full-time position as minister, first in Burlington, Connecticut, in 1848, and then in Haddam, Connecticut, in 1855. His journal briefly records his activities along with notes on slavery (1841 Oct 22, 1850 Mar-Apr), local politics (1850 Mar-Apr), and his own and his family's health. He describes in some detail a bout of illness apparently combined with some sort of mental breakdown which he suffered (1853 Oct 15), and provides a lengthy account of the birth of his fourth child, in preparation for which his wife underwent a series of water treatments and a diet of graham bread.
In addition to the journal, this collection contains a letter from James Heyden Wright to Marion (Wright) Messimer concerning the journal.