Though their use in Lichten's research is not entirely clear, there is some replication between the card files and the subject folders. The card files were likely a place to store notes and references to bibliographic information that might be used for preparing lectures and publications. Among the many types of information contained in these files are notes about particular objects (including many small drawings), schedules for publication, and outlines of ideas that could be used to return to articles of interest. Most of the card files are arranged alphabetically by subject. The cards are more carefully grouped and related than the subject files. They seem to be broadly separated by project (i.e., "Victoria," "Material Pertinent to the Eliza Leslie idea," and "The home"), business files listing expenses and contacts, bibliographic files, and object files (i.e., "Geesey House and Collection"). There are many sections of the card files that contain information not duplicated elsewhere in the collection. For instance, there is a listing of women's clubs in the area, as well as a listing of various artisans by craft.
Because of their outline quality, it was the card files that helped to create the final arrangement of the collection.