The Colin M. Turnbull collection consists of manuscripts, professional material, research material, and correspondence, among others.
Manuscripts in the collection include papers, short stories, poetry, articles, and notes. Manuscripts by others are included, such as Nkumbi Initiation and Asa: Myth of Origin of the Blood Brotherhood Among the Mbo of the Ituri Forest by Joseph Towles (1993). By Turnbull, a draft of his unpublished Lover and Beloved is included, which details his relationship with Towles. Articles include “The Field Experience” and “Tales of Power,” among others. Miscellaneous outlines and notes are also included.
Professional material in the collection consists of subject files on a variety of topics. Many files relate to Towles, such as a file titled “United Negro College Fund,” the organization Turnbull donated Towles’ belongings to after his death in 1988.
Research material in the collection includes research titled “Nkumbi” conducted by Turnbull and Towles. It was eventually published under Towles’ name in 1993 as Nkumbi initiation ritual and structure among the Mbo of Zaïre.
Correspondence in the collection includes both general and personal correspondence, notably with Alexander Liazos between 1963 and 1971.
Audio material and a few photographs are also included in the collection.