The Douglas Cole papers fill nine boxes and span the years 1960 to 1997. They are organized into four main categories: biographical materials, materials relating to Cole's involvement with Northwestern University, publications and addresses, and teaching files.
There is one folder of biographical material. The folder includes several curriculum vitae, university personnel paperwork, and newspaper clippings.
Materials relating to Cole's Northwestern University involvement fill approximately six boxes and are arranged alphabetically by topical groups. Included in this category are files on the Comparative Literature Committee, the Dean's Advisory Board on Tenure and Promotions, the Drama Program, and the English Department. Cole's files on the English Department relate largely to three subcategories: departmental administration and business, the graduate program, and the undergraduate program. Next are files on the Graduate Programs in Comparative Literature Committee, Helicon, the Humanities Program, the Humanities Residential College (including materials on resident students), the Integrated Arts Program, the Library and Information Technology Committee, NUPAC, a Shakespeare Conference, a report on the School of Education and Social Policy, and the Sheil Catholic Center Director Search Committee.
The publications and addresses category fills approximately one box and contains rough drafts of several articles and correspondence relating to their publication. A first draft of Cole's 1995 book, Marlowe and the Renaissance of Tragedy is found in Box 7. This category also contains materials relating to addresses or seminars presented by Cole. These files are arranged alphabetically by keyword of folder headings.
The teaching files fill approximately two and one-half boxes. They are arranged sequentially by course number. Files in this category often include syllabi, test questions, essay assignments, and the work of students. Most files represent courses taught at Northwestern University between 1969 and 1997 though there is a file on classes taught by Cole at Yale.