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The contents of the Thain's Book had various authors. The oldest material came from the diary of Bilbo Baggins, which he took with him to Rivendell after T.A. 3001. In 3019 Frodo Baggins brought Bilbo's writings with him back to the Shire, and between 3020 and 3021 he added account of the War of the Ring. All of this material was contained in four large red leather volumes; in Westmarch a fifth volume of commentaries, genealogies, and other Hobbit matters were added. At this point these writings were referred to as the Red Book of Westmarch.
The actual Thain's Book was a copy of the Red Book that was produced in Gondor. Thain Peregrin Took retired to Gondor in Fo.A. 63 and took with him a copy of the Red Book as requested by King Elessar. In Minas Tirith this book received many annotations and corrections (particularly of Elvish names, words, and quotations). It was also enhanced with an abbreviated version of "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen", written by Barahir, the grandson of Faramir. In Fo.A. 172 the King's Writer, Findegil, made an exact copy of the book in Minas Tirith, which was returned to the Shire at the request of the great-grandson of Peregrin and kept in the Great Smials. The copy written by Findegil was of special interest in that it alone preserved Bilbo's "Translations from the Elvish", written between T.A. 3003 and 3018 that used sources available in Rivendell.