The Owen L. Coon Scrapbook began as a record of Coon's years at Northwestern University. The scrapbook, titled “My Memory Book,” has the University logo embossed on the front cover and was intended to hold memories of “the sentiments and activities” of college life. Nearly half of the scrapbook does document Coon's college life between 1912 and 1919. However, the balance of the scrapbook is filled with clippings, photographs, and ephemera that precede and postdate Coon's Northwestern years—including items from Coon's youth in Rantoul and from his travels in Europe, as well as general Coon family photographs and memorabilia.
Since a few of the items at the end of the book are dated as late as 1962, it appears that someone else (perhaps Coon's daughter, who donated the scrapbook to the University) added to the collection of memories that Coon started. Some pages bear fragments of paper, indicating that items were removed at some earlier date. Throughout the scrapbook, few of the photographs are identified.
Records of his Northwestern years include programs and ticket stubs for events that he attended, as well as numerous newspaper clippings about the debates in which he participated. The scrapbook also holds photographs of group activities, dormitory life, and campus buildings; newspaper clippings relating to Coon's friends' college activities (as well as a page of their calling cards); and official University forms.
Coon's early years are documented by his grade school and high school report cards, programs for events surrounding his high school graduation, and group and individual photographs of friends (mostly unidentified). There are a number of photographs of Coon as a baby, child, and young man, as well as photographs of his parents and grandparents.
Many pages of brochures, menus, ticket stubs, and other ephemera from hotels, steamship lines, and sites in Europe and the United States, document travels undertaken by Coon or other members of his family, beginning with a menu from the Red Star Line's “Manitou” in 1909.
One scrapbook page toward the end of the book holds the cover (with portrait of Coon) of the Finance magazine issue (September 10, 1945) that featured him; another holds a copy of the Owen L. Coon Foundation Accountants' Report from 1962.