The Pancoast family collection comprises both personal papers and business records.
Business records include account books; advertisements; contracts; correspondence; pamphlets; maps; blueprints; reports; tax returns;scrapbooks; receipts and photographic prints. The majority of these business records relate to the growth of land development and tourism in Miami Beach.
Personal papers include correspondence, photographs, wills and estate papers, tax returns, receipts and ephemera, with the majority of the material consisting of letters written by, and received from, Thomas Pancoast. A portion of the correspondence, thirty-four files, was generated and received by other family members, including Irving A. Collins, John S. Collins, Lester Collins, Russell T. Pancoast, and J. Arthur Pancoast.
A separate series, which comprises two boxes, exists for the records created by Russell Pancoast. The first box of this series contains business and personal papers, while the second box houses files of historical data.
An additional box holds correspondents include Carl G. Fisher, Everest G. Sewell, Irving A. Collins and J. B. McCrary (Tamiami Trail contractor). Also included is a ledger book with the minutes of the Miami Beach Improvement Company from 1930 until its dissolution in 1951; and material on the Pancoast Hotel. The oldest document is a New Jersey land grant deed from 1777, but the bulk of the collection belongs to the 1920s.
Miami Beach Improvement Company financial statements and bonds, 1920-1922
Letters from John S. Collins to George F. Cook pertain to the building of the Collins Bridge (Bay Biscayne viaduct). Also included is a typed sheet of specification for the Bay Biscayne Viaduct. John Collins contracted with the George F. Cook Company to build a causeway connecting Miami Beach with the mainland.
One box of scrapbooks includes one each on the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce; the Bakers Haulover pier and Thomas Pancoast; general topics; and the Everglades. Newspaper clippings in the Everglades scrapbook date to 1937-1938 and relate to the creation of the national park. "Pier" has clippings on the Miami Beach fishing pier, opened in 1938 at Bakers Haulover, and a substantial collection of news reports on Thomas J. Pancoast's death and funeral in September 1941. The other two scrapbooks in this box overlap in coverage: they include activities of Pancoast family members and of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and other groups.
The other scrapbook box comprises clippings about Miami Beach and the Collins and Pancoast families. Two of these scrapbooks may well have been compiled at least in part by Collins; part of the second and all of the third were made after his death. A green scrapbook headed History Miami Beach has news clippings from 1923 to 1927 about a variety of local topics; there is a partial index at the front. A black scrapbook with pasted-on label: In Memory of John S. Collins also has clippings from the 1920s about Miami Beach. It ends with Collins' obituary notices. A partly filled black scrapbook has 1933-1938 clippings about Collins, Miami Beach, and members of the Pancoast family.