The collection documents capital punishment in the United States in the twentieth century, the activities of the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment and the Massachusetts Council to Abolish the Death Penalty, and also Sara R. Ehrmann's work opposing capital punishment. It includes case files of prisoners (mainly those condemned to death), material related to the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment and the Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, files documenting state-specific abolition activity, and collected published and unpublished information about capital punishment, crime, criminal justice, prisons and prisoners. The collection also includes biographical information on Ehrmann, including correspondence, notes, and a limited amount of information related to her activities in Jewish and women's organizations.
Researchers should be aware that there is overlap between some of the series in the collection, in particular Series 1 (Geographical Files) and Series 2 (Subject Files). Correspondence to or from Ehrmann, the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment, or the Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty is concentrated in Series 4 and 5, but it can also be found in other series, particularly in series 2, subseries B and series 3. More detailed information on overlap can be found in the series summaries.