The collection consists of 154 bound volumes, spanning 1836-1940, all written and arranged by architect, lecturer, and author, Charles Mason Remey. In the volumes are personal reminiscences, clippings, photographs, memorabilia, biographical accounts of Mason and Remey family members, and a historical record of the Baha'i faith. The volumes are in the form of carbon typescript and are designated "Copy 18."
The bulk of the collection is formed by 119 volumes (1903-1940) of Remey's personal diaries, entitled "Reminiscences and Letters." Here are copies of letters, photographs, architectural studies, genealogy, travel accounts, and clippings. The diaries offer a full account of his personal life and his devotion to the Baha'i faith that were often inseparable. His pilgrimages to sacred places began in 1909 when he traveled to Israel, Persia [Iran], and Syria. Photographs complement the narration and capture the spirit of his travels. Remey's writings include a comprehensive history of the Baha'i Movement (Volumes 65-79) and are closely related to his published volumes.
Of interest too are the more personal records of his daily life in Washington, D.C. during the 1930s. Remey's family background and private income afforded him a particular position in Washington society, a position defined by the standards of the period. He recorded a description of his house and furnishings at 2440 Massachusetts Avenue, his daily entertainments, and social interactions with friends. Photographs, clippings from society pages of the period, calling cards, notes, and other memorabilia attached in the diaries are further examples of custom and social life in Washington during the 1930s. The last of the reminiscences (volume 117-119) describe his brief, tragic marriage to Gertrude Heim Klemm Mason.
The collection also includes Remey's biographies of his mother, father, and maternal grandfather. The biographies are similar in form and binding to the "Reminiscences and Letters." The pages are carbon typescript and along with Remey's narrative are photographs, clippings, facsimiles of documents, and genealogical data.
There are 12 volumes of "The Life and Letters of Charles Mason, Chief Justice of Iowa." The biography begins in 1836 with a journey west via the Erie Canal and Great Lakes to Iowa, recording Mason's life in Burlington, Iowa and Washington, D.C. The diaries provide a running commentary on the political, economical and social life of the the last half of the nineteenth century. Transcripts of Mason's temperance addresses are included.
There are 12 volumes of "Life and Letters of Mary Josephine Mason Remey." The biography includes a description of her childhood in Iowa, her experiences during the Civil War, her life in Portsmouth Va., and Washington D.C. Much of the narrative is in the form of letters written and received from her father, husband, and her son, Charles Mason Remey.
There are 10 volumes of "Life and Letters of Rear Admiral George Collier Remey." The biography contains records of his travels and naval service including activities in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection, and Boxer Rebellion in China..
A related collection of Remey Family papers is held at the Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, 4 East University Parkway, Baltimore, MD 21218. In the Archives is a bound volume of letters from Bishop Pinckney (Bishop of D.C. 1870s) written to Josephine Mason Remey. The volume has the original letters and Remey's typed transcripts.