The Russell D. Burge Papers, including one folder of biographical material and one folder of correspondence, consist in their bulk of drafts of Burge's novels and short stories.
The biographical material includes a genealogical sheet, information compiled for Burge's retirement dinner, and the 1982 “Burge Christmas Greeting”.
The correspondence consists of letters to and from a correspondence course teacher and several literary agents.
The drafts of five novels and thirty three short stories written by Burge are mainly typed although a few pages are in manuscript. The drafts of novels include those for “Foster Son”, “The Abyss of Freedom”, (also known as “Two Strangers Breakfast”), Life in the Ark (one draft has the pen name David Peabody), “Greater Love” (also known as “The Toad Stabber” and “Clara Ransom”), and “The Disinherited”. The draft of a sixth novel, “The Fire Unquenchable”, probably written in 1948 and rewritten in 1967 is not present in the collection. The short stories range in length from two to thirty pages; most are fifteen to twenty pages in length. A sampling of titles of the short stories includes: “The Audience Was His”, “No Fair Ticklin”, “Dead Evidence”, “Who Said Wild Oates?”, “Fatty Flips a Freight”, and “When War Comes Home”. “The Silken Web” was written by Burge for a contest, using the pen name Daniel Swensen. There is at least one complete draft of each novel; some have as many as five. There is usually only one draft of each short story. One is only in outline form. Many of the novels and short stories are set in South Dakota or neighboring regions and the characters usually come from farm backgrounds.