These records are comprised of three volumes: two containing the minutes of the Hinman Literary Society and one recording the volumes and charge-out particulars of the Society's library. The library had been the personal collection of University President Clark Titus Hinman, for whom the society was named. The minutes are for meetings from September 1857 to January 1868, and from September 1869 to May 1882. The librarian's records span the years 1864 to 1868.
The minutes record the activities and organization of the Society's meetings. A typical meeting opened with a musical offering and prayer, followed by one or several readings, declamations, and orations. A regular debate (with two or three appointed debaters on each side and appointed judges) was the central event, followed by an irregular debate (open to the floor) decided by majority vote. Business meetings, when held, followed the literary program. The first volume includes the roll calls from 1857 to 1868 on the last few pages, while the second volume does not record the roll.