The Paul Witty Papers are arranged in seven categories: biographical material, correspondence, army, teaching materials, research and consulting files, professional activity files, and articles, books, and other publications.
The biographical material includes curricula vitae, biographical articles, pages from an album presented to him at a testimonial dinner held on May 13, 1966, notes for his will, lists of his publications, clippings, and press releases. Notes and other records concern Witty's various illnesses, and financial and travel matters. Also included are programs for his testimonial dinner and for the presentation ceremony of the Sixth Annual Gregorian Educator Award, held April 3, 1970.
The correspondence relates primarily to Witty's publications, speaking engagements, and other professional activities. There is little material of a personal nature. Two substantial folders contain suggested endings, submitted by elementary school students, for unfinished stories in Highlights for Children.
Materials relating to Witty's service in the U.S. Army include official orders and memos as well as some training materials, primarily for soldiers with reading difficulties. This latter group includes several issues of the Our War newsletter featuring the cartoon, “Private Pete.”
The small number of items in the teaching files includes some course materials for Witty's work at Northwestern and course materials and grades for courses he later taught at DePaul University and the University of South Florida.
The research and consulting folders contain information gathered in a study of the television programs from which elementary students acquired new words. Also here are some reports and notes for a survey of programs for the gifted at eight high and seven elementary schools in the Chicago Public School system. Walter Barbe collaborated with Witty on this project.
A folder of material relating to professional societies of which Witty was a member includes notes, expense data, and organizational records. The latter pertain to the Chicago Area Reading Association, the National Society for the Study of Education, and the American Association for School Administrators, among others. Materials relating to papers presented by Witty at professional meetings consist primarily of texts (full or excerpted), related correspondence and notes.
The bulk (4.5 boxes) of the series is comprised of Witty's publications files. Included here are notes and manuscripts for many articles and notes and manuscripts for several booklets and for biographical sketches, editorials, and stories for children. One of these stories, “Don and the Prairie Fire,” is based on one of Witty's boyhood experience. There are also some book reviews by Witty, and many reprints of his articles although they represent only a small fraction of his complete writings.