The Madeline Wallin Papers are divided into three categories: Correspondence, Graduate Themes and Papers, and Miscellaneous Papers and Articles. The major portion of the collection is composed of personal correspondence between Miss Wallin, her parents (Judge and Mrs. Alfred Wallin), George C. Sikes, and friends such as Otto Folin. The correspondence dates from her high school days in Elgin, Illinois (ca. 1887) to her death in 1955. Many of the letters written during her "student" days are important in that they offer detailed accounts of early student life at the University of Chicago, including sketches of Harper, Judson and other members of the faculty, and delve into the problems encountered by female students at the time.
Of foremost importance in the collection are several themes and papers written by Miss Wallin while at the University of Chicago. "First Impressions of the University of Chicago" was written in 1893 for the University of Minnesota student paper, Ariel. It offers a rather concise view of life at the new university, conveying much of the optimism and philosophy surrounding that creation which [Harper's] mind and Rockefeller's money are to evolve upon Chicago soil. "Dr. Harper and the University Girls" gives some insight into the difficulties that were encountered by the first women students. Of great interest, also, are the capsulated descriptions of Jane Addams, Hull House, and a robbery on the Quad, which are found in Madeline Wallin's "Daily Class Themes."