The Helen Normand Murphy Papers consist of four calendar pads (1920-1922 and 1924), thirty six diaries (1937-1973), and her activities with the Red Cross Gray Ladies in Grand Forks (1960-61). A variety of topics were covered in her diaries: the weather, her daily routine, food, and household chores. She also wrote about special events such as weddings and commencement ceremonies. Entertainment was another main topic as Murphy wrote about popular plays, books, radio and television programs, music, and movies. World events were also mentioned, including wars, John Glenn's space orbit, and Watergate. She did not write much about the Great Depression, however, she commented on World War II because her son was involved. In the later diaries, Murphy more frequently added her personal feelings about assorted happenings.
Loose materials about the Murphy family within the pages of the diaries have been separated and placed in folders. These include newspaper clippings and correspondence, and are filed according to their placement in the diaries.Ten loose photographs, also from the diaries, have likewise been referenced and placed in a separate folder. Random loose materials from the diaries were discarded.