The Textual Archives collection is composed of 750 sets of documents, most of which are archives from individuals, families or organizations, or special collections organized around a theme or type of document.

Totalling nearly 270 linear metres, these archives cover the entire history of Canada, but focus more specifically on that of Montreal and Montrealers during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Documents include personal, administrative, financial and legal texts like correspondence, diaries, minutes, books of account and deeds of sale. In addition, there are publications, maps, plans and ephemera, such as dance cards, advertisements and menus.

The collection was initially built up by focussing on specific areas of acquisition associated with the history of events and figures of importance to Montreal and Canada. Its more recent acquisitions concentrate on the domestic affairs of several families, business and industry, armed conflicts, amateur sporting clubs, artistic and charitable associations, cultural events like Expo 67, fashion, the arts, etc.