Ezekiel Price (1728-1802) was an attorney and Clerk of the Court of the Common Pleas and Sessions in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Before the American Revolution he had been the confidential secretary of several Massachusetts governors, and after the war he was for many years a notary republic, magistrate, chairman of the selectmen for the town of Boston, and member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. In 1792, Ezekiel Price donated this collection of manuscripts to the Massachusetts Historical Society. Fifty years later, in 1842, the Papers were bound, a hand written table of contents was created, and the collection was designated, The Letters of William Bollan, 1754-1785. William Bollan (1710 -1782) was born in England and after coming to America at a young age studied law in Massachusetts where he became a successful lawyer. He acquired a considerable amount of property in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and at one time was in a financial position to lend money to the Colony. In 1743, he became advocate-general of Massachusetts, and on 8 September of the same year married Frances, the daughter of Governor Shirley. After the birth of his daughter Frances Shirley Bollan and the death of his wife in 1745, he was sent to Britain as the colonial agent of Massachusetts in an attempt to recover the money the colony had spent on the Louisbourg expedition. Three years later he was successful, but remained in England and continued to served as an agent of the Colony until 1762. In that year he was dismissed, but continued to represent the interests of Massachusetts as agent for the Council until the American Revolution. He tried to be a conciliator between Britain and the colonies, and wrote several pamphlets in their favour. William Bollan did not return to America, and died before the end of the war on 24 May 1782.
The earliest documents contained in the Papers are two letters from William Bollan, in his role as agent for Massachusetts, which are dated 1754 at Pall Mall, [London]. Other letters by Bollan, including one addressed to the merchants of Boston in 1764, are found throughout the Papers, which are arranged in a rough chronological order. In addition to the Bollan letters, there are legal documents, correspondence, and many other records that deal with a wide range of subjects. A few examples include: several documents that concern the status of trade, and others that relate to the fishery, 1763; a petition to Parliament from the merchants of Boston, ; the state of trade and observations on the Revenue Acts, ; a meeting of Boston merchants on non-importation, and their report on 1 March 1768; several meetings of Boston merchants in 1770, and a memorial of fifty merchants on  August 1773; several documents relative to measures for employing the Boston poor, women and children in particular, in the manufacture of linen, 1767 & 1768; a letter from John Hancock to the merchants of Boston, 14 October 1781; a proposal, with articles, for conducting a chamber of commerce in Boston, 1785; memorial of the Chamber of Commerce of New York, ; a printed address of the Committee of Correspondence of the City of New York, 30 September 1785; and many other documents.