The James P. O'Donnell collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, personal memorabilia, printed materials, research materials, audio material, photographs, and notebooks.
Manuscripts in the collection include complete drafts and chapters from O'Donnell's book The Bunker (1975), many book reviews and articles focused mainly on Berlin, Hitler, and the Nazis, and an interview with O'Donnell for Columbia University from 1980.
Correspondence in the collection includes both personal and professional material dated between 1928 and 1981, some undated. Notable correspondents include Gerald Gross (Macmillan Company), Albert Speer, Eugene McCarthy, and John R. Silber.
Personal memorabilia in the collection includes O'Donnell's military records, a bound diary book from 1989, a personal carrying case for notes and business cards, and personalized O'Donnell book plates.
Printed material in the collection includes obituaries of O'Donnell from 1990, articles by O'Donnell, reviews of The Bunker from 1979, London clippings, "The Reminiscences of James P. O'Donnell," and miscellaneous articles and clippings.
Research material in the collection includes note cards for O'Donnell's books and holograph notes for other writing projects.
Audio material in the collection includes cassette tapes.
Photographs in the collection include prints of young O'Donnell, family photos, O'Donnell in his uniform during World War II, and various other loose prints and negatives. Some prints are mounted on wood or Styrofoam boards.
Notebooks in the collection include many bound notebooks kept by O'Donnell, some nearly full, but many without notations past the first few pages. Notebooks are titled everything from "Goering 1987" to "Daily Reading Notes 1985" to "Dante" to "Geese." Also included are a couple of address books.