The Edwin F. Belden friendship album (25cm x 18cm, 141 pages) contains autographs (sometimes accompanied by poems or other inscriptions), newspaper clippings, and biographical notes by and related to New York politicians, Civil War soldiers, and other individuals. Included are 112 salted paper and 3 albumen photographic portraits. The album has a hard cover with Belden's name and a decorative border stamped in gold on the front. Plates on the inside of the front and back covers feature a patriotic eagle and banner with the slogan "The Federal Union it must be preserved" and of a building used as "Republican Head Quarters" in 1860.
The first 37 pages contain signatures from members of the New York State Assembly, where Belden was a messenger in the early 1850s. Some politicians accompanied their signatures with brief personal message for Belden, often including well wishes and advice. Many signers recorded the name of the district they represented, and most dated their contributions April 16, and 17, 1851. This section of the album is followed by other autographs that Belden solicited in the mid-1850s, as well as an endorsement from his employers Lemuel Jenkins and C. Ten Broeck (November 22, 1852, p. 41).
The remaining contents, dated 1860-1866, are comprised of small photographic portraits, brief biographical notes, inscriptions, autographs, and newspaper clippings related to a variety of individuals, including many men who served in the Civil War. One page of individual full-length portraits represents members of the Albany Zouave Cadets with military equipment and musical instruments. Belden labeled most of the photographs and often included notes about the subjects' dates of death. Several entries include copied correspondence, inscriptions and autographs, and obituaries or other news articles. Contributors included former New York Governors Washington Hunt and John A. King; General William Tecumseh Sherman; and Samuel Streeter, a former delegate representing Albany at The Colored Men's Convention of 1840 (also pictured, October 30, 1860, p. 63). A letter from William F. Russell, a former member of the state legislature, is laid into the volume after the autographs (April 19, 1886).