The collection consists of the following four categories: biographical, obituary, pictorial, and memorial. Apart from copies of two addresses delivered from England by radio to the meeting of the Royal Society of Canada at McGill (1930), and an extensive collection of off-prints, the biographical documentation is about, not by, Rutherford. It comprises newsclippings about Rutherford's work and awards (1909), a curriculum vitae to 1907, a copy of Shaw's article on Rutherford's departure from McGill (1907) and E.R. Terroux's catalogue of Rutherford's McGill laboratory.
Photographic materials include five individual portraits of Rutherford (1905-1937) and a group portrait of Rutherford with other members of the Macdonald Physics Laboratory (1904-1905). There are also two views of the Macdonald Physics Building lecture theatre and the Physics Department staff taken at the Rutherford Memorial Lecture, 1937.
Obituary materials largely consist of newsclippings about Rutherford's death and copies of commemorative articles. Also included are two drafts of A.N. Shaw's essay Rutherford at McGill (1938), as well as correspondence concerning this article. There is also a copy of McGill's telegram of sympathy to Lady Rutherford, her reply, and some correspondence concerning the disposal of Rutherford's desk.
Various memorial projects in Rutherford's name are documented by A.N. Shaw's correspondence files (1939-1957). These include incoming and copies of outgoing correspondence about the Rutherford Plaque, the Rutherford Museum (with E.R. Terroux), and the joint Royal Society-Royal Society of Canada Rutherford Memorial Scholarships. This last file largely concerns subscriptions to the fund, but also contains campaign literature and reports. Furthermore, copies of correspondence (1896-1937, 35 cm (Large MSS), the originals of which are at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University are located in the Archives.