The E. Margaret Clarkson Collection contains a variety of materials on the wide range of subjects addressed in her creative works: hymn writing, suffering, singleness, sex education, and teaching. It consists of articles, music, poetry, book reviews, notebooks, personal sermon notes, creative schoolwork of her students, photographs, poetry, books, correspondence, and memorabilia. The materials date from an essay written by her at age 12 to her latest work and correspondence. The bulk of the collection dates from 1960 to the present.
The collection is divided into several series. Clarkson's published works, ranging from full-length monographs, to one-page contributions to songbooks and orders of worship are classed according to type of work and filed alphabetically by title. Many of Clarkson's articles are also found in scrapbooks which she compiled.
Manuscript items are also divided into series: articles, book reviews, poetry, music, and unpublished. These are filed alphabetically within their series by title. Often, these manuscripts are written on the reverse of old letters.
Correspondence category is divided into the categories of "professional" and "personal." Personal correspondence of significance includes Clarkson's annual Christmas letters, in which she gives an overview of events of the past year. There are also a number of letters to and from author and artist Joni Eareckson Tada, John and Lorrie White, and Yvonne Woods.
Clarkson's professional correspondence includes letters to ASCAP concerning her hymn writing and with the Hymn Society of America in regard to judging a hymn competition. Clarkson's response to R. J. Stanislaus' review of A Singing Heart is housed in this series.
The biographical category includes a number of items including an essay written when Clarkson was 12, notes on sermons, her retirement guest-book, and the "Innisfree" guest log (her summer cabin). This material is organized chronologically. Also included is material on Clarkson's teaching career, which is represented by poetry and other work created by her students. Clarkson's comments provide amusement and insight to these items. Articles and reviews of her teaching methods are included in this category.
Media items in the collection include tapes, photographs, and slides. Sound recordings include Clarkson's students reading their own work. The slides and photographs include Clarkson's cabin, and cat, portraits and school class photos.
Clarkson's personal notes and descriptions that accompanied her materials when accessioned provide her appraisal of the importance of the items. The notes often give an insight into what and who shaped her thinking on certain matters.
Series 1: Biographical
Series 2: Published Material
Series 3: Manuscript Material
Series 4: Correspondence
Series 5: Media
Series 6: Secondary