The Edith Mason Collection primarily relates to Edith Mason's performing career, focused on Chicago opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York in the 1930s. Clippings are mostly of reviewed performances, and the two scrapbooks primarily hold clippings with some programs. Programs from opera and concert performances are included, as well as a small amount of correspondence, printed interviews and copies of speeches.
Photographs in the collection reflect Mason's personal and professional life, with many publicity shots in costume or headshots. There are also a sizable amount of family photographs, including photographs with Mason's daughter Graziella, and husband Bill Ragland.
Musical scores are primarily published sheet music, some with inscriptions, and a few original manuscripts. One notable score, Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, is inscribed by the composer, and multiple interviews reference this score's markings as reflecting Puccini's personal coaching on Mason's signature role of Cio-Cio-San.
The initial appraisal of the collection in 1982 yielded a printed inventory, of which the lists of scores and photographs have been copied into separate documents for easy searching. Very little editing was done to these lists besides some spelling corrections. The inventory lists of scores and photographs, mostly reflecting recent removal of duplicates and other separated materials, are available in a printed paper copy placed at the front of Box 1 of the collection, and are also available via .pdf upon request.
Two series, recordings and costumes, are unprocessed at this time.