This collection consists primarily of business records and correspondence of the firm of Bryan and Morrison. Guy Bryan, the firm's senior partner, was a Philadelphia Quaker who had connections with a number of prominent Philadelphia merchants including George Logan, Peter Muhlenberg, and Chandler Price. By 1790, Bryan operated a successful wholesale dry goods firm in Philadelphia and had decided to expand his operation into the West. Bryant's nephew, William Morrison, was given this responsibility, becoming one of the most prominent merchants and traders in the upper Mississippi River Valley.
The records for the firm's main branch at Kaskaskia include three daybooks dating 1805-8. The collection also contains two ledgers and two daybooks for the Cahokia branch, 1800-25. In addition, there are numerous other ledgers and daybooks from various businesses throughout Illinois and Missouri, and letters between Morrison and James O'Hara, a glass manufacturer.
The collection includes microfilm of original records in the Chester Public Library (4 reels), the Illinois State Historical Library (2 reels), the Chicago Historical Society (1 reel), and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania (1 reel). It was used as the basis for John Leslie Trevebaugh, "Merchant on the Western Frontier: William Morrison of Kaskaskia, 1790-1837" (Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois, 1962). The web site of the Chester Public Library includes a searchable database and digital images of the pages of the Morrison Ledger Book D, 1805-1831, in that library.