The Graham papers comprise around 4,700 documents and around 95 volumes, 1741, 1777 and 1791 to 1957 and consist primarily of:
- title, deeds, leases, wills, accounts, correspondence and so on, 1741, 1777 and 1791-1957, relating to Graham property in and around Lisburn, Co. Antrim, and in Belfast
- correspondence and diaries of Dr James Graham and Colonel James Graham, 1819 to 1905, including some family letters, but chiefly concerned with Dr and Colonel Graham's service in India and with the Indian Mutiny
- and correspondence and diaries of Captain D.C. Graham, including descriptions of Captain Graham's experience during the 1914 to 1918 War, when he served with the Royal Engineers in France
The Graham family originated in Scotland and settled in Ulster, probably at Lisnastrain, outside Lisburn, some time in the 17th century. By the early 18th century the family was well established in Lisburn, then a small market and manufacturing town, nine miles south-west of Belfast, and by the turn of the century they owned considerable property at Lisnastrain, and at Bow Street, Market Square and Graham Gardens, Lisburn, as well as head rents in Belfast.
The Belfast head rents were possibly acquired through inter-marriage with the Joy and Tomb families, Colonel James Graham having married Louisa Maria Joy in 1865.
As has been mentioned, Colonel Graham, his uncle and namesake, Dr Graham, and other members of the family also, saw military and medical service in India during the period 1819 to 1879. Their correspondence relating to the Indian Mutiny has been calendared in detail and forms the basis of the PRONI publication The Graham Indian Mutiny Papers, edited and introduced by A.T. Harrison, with an historiographical Essay by T.G. Fraser (Belfast, 1980). The following description of this, the central part of the archive, is drawn from that source.