A portion of the fonds (MSS SC 171) consists of Arnason's Ph.D. thesis titled, The Development of the Prairie Realism: Robert J.C. Stead, Douglas Durkin, Martha Ostenso and Frederick Philip Grove (1980). Included are four copies of a transcript of Arnason's interview with author Martha Ostenso's younger brother, Barry Ostenso, who was 84 years old at the time. It was conducted in Brainerd, Minnesota on August 16, 1977. One transcript includes additional notes by Arnason on the interview. The fonds also consists of photocopies of newspaper clippings pertaining to Douglas Durkin and Martha Ostenso during the Second World War and between 1960 and 1969. The fonds includes maps of the rural area west of Lake Manitoba, Oeland and Gare Farm. Photocopies of photographs of actors acting out scenes included in Ostenso's book Wild Geese (1926) and a copy of Ostenso's story The Storm from The American-Scandinavian Review are included. Letters regarding the transfer of Martha Ostenso's papers to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections from 1991-1993 are also included.
MSS 197 is divided into 12 series including: CBC material, correspondence, Dorothy Livesay material, Arnason manuscripts, manuscripts by others, academic material, reviews & publicity for books, Arnason's articles, articles by others, Arnason's poetry, songs & stories, miscellaneous and photographs.