Series I. Papers from Childhood, c.1854-1867, is composed of a photograph of Dale, two sketchbooks, a journal, and various issues of the 'Oracle,' a literary magazine of which Dale was co- editor. One of the sketchbooks contains drawings of the Swiss countryside made by Dale at the age of thirteen. The other contains his drawings of various specimens as seen under a microscope. The journal chronicles an expedition in Scandinavia of which Dale was a member. This expedition was led by Dr. Karl A. Zittel (1839-1904), a German paleontologist and professor who would later become President of the Academy of Sciences. The expedition visited various locations of geological or historical significance in Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark such as Heidelberg, Berlin, Kalmar, Gotland, Stockholm, Lillehammer, Brevik and Copenhagen. It was this trip, according to Zittel, which led Dale to a career in the sciences. The 'Oracle' was published for a club, the Adelphians. (It is unclear whether this club sprang from Dale's years at school in America.)
Series II. Professional Papers, 1876-1933, has been further organized into five sub-series. The first of these encompasses various sketches and photographs relating to Dale's work with the U.S. Geological Survey as well as two bulletins which he authored for the Survey. In the second can be found two letters relating to Dale's teaching career; one of these was authored by Dr. Zittel. The third comprises newspaper clippings, advertisements, notes and other miscellaneous papers relating to Dale's public lectures before the Natural History Society, the Okemo Literary Club in Ludlow, VT, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, etc. In the fourth are a book and various other compositions of Dale, both published and unpublished. The fifth is composed only of Dale's membership certificate in the Austrian Geological Institute; a translation is included. (N.B. If a paper was used in a number of different ways, e.g. both written and given as a speech, it is listed in both sections.)
Series III. Personal Papers, 1885-1925, includes Dale's sketchbook of his drawings of the Berkshire County countryside, and two 'Books of Extracts' into which he copied passages from various geological, philosophical or religious works. Both the extract books were indexed by Dale.