The collection primarily consists of diaries, letters, photographs, awards, poetry, play notes, play lists, and a few of her pageants. Dorothy’s diaries are sporadic in the beginning, but at that time they are more detailed regarding her personal relationships with friends, and family. After 1948 the diaries feature social issues pertinent to the civil rights movement, equal rights for women, and human rights. She also continued to write about her friends and her daily life. Her last entries are about dealing with her final illness, cancer.
Most of the papers and diaries came to the college's archives shortly after she died. Dorothy wrote of diaries from when she was in Florida and Idaho, however these diaries were not received with her papers and diaries. There are also a number of years for which no diaries have been located (1931-1947). The early diaries were borrowed by the local American Association of University Women for transcription in the early 1980s and returned. Condolence letters sent to Ms. Shipley were sent on to the college’s archives at a later date. There was also a file from college president Ralph John’s office placed with her papers. This file is kept separately from her papers. Photographs were placed in two folders in Box 8. Pages were removed from two early diaries which had rusted metal binder rings. The pages were placed in order in file folders and the binders that held the pages were placed in envelopes and then with their respective pages.