The Lawrence and Eleanor Mead papers shed light on three notable aspects of their lives. Letters and reports describe Lawrence Mead's work with the YMCA in China and at Yenching University. Further documentation of their time at Yenching University is available in the archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (YDSL RG11). Extensive family correspondence reveals the importance of the Meads' families in fostering their desire to do missionary service and in providing support throughout years of changing positions and furloughs. Lawrence Mead's avocation as an expert photographer is also well documented in the collection.
Series I, Family Correspondence, provides a very complete series of letters between Lawrence and Eleanor and their families, both before and during their time in China. The Meads came from privileged, educated families who provided strong support for their work. A sheet describing familial relationships is located in the first folder of this series.
The General Correspondence of Series II is less extensive but it provides a good chronological overview of the Meads' involvements from 1900 to 1950.
The Memorabilia and Artifacts of Series III include biographical documentation as well as collected materials related to Yenching University, music, missions, and Chinese life. Also of note are collected documents related to the evangelistic campaign for Chinese students led by John R. Mott and Sherwood Eddy in 1913.
Series IV, Photographs, contains primarily photos taken by Lawrence Mead in China. A large section relates to Yenching University but there are also many images of Chinese life, buildings, and scenery, including a notable sequence related to famine conditions in 1921.