The 37.25 linear feet of materials include: extensive correspondence; subject files; drafts and published versions of poems, essays, and books; photocopied articles; reprints; research materials chiefly on Russian poets and writers, including many clippings; personal materials such as family documents, diaries and sketchbooks; photographs, many of them of family in Russia and Estonia; and teaching materials, including slides, tapes, and filmstrips. The bulk of the material is written in Russian, the next most frequent languages being English and German. A small amount is also in Polish, Portuguese, French, and Greek. The materials date from 1867 until Ivask's death, the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1985.
Ivask's interests and career connected him with the entire community of Russian emigre writers, poets and thinkers. This connection developed in his Baltic years (until 1945; acquaintance with I. Chinnov, N. E. Andreyev et al.), broadened especially through travel to Paris (acquaintance with Tsvetaeva, Hippius (Gippius), Merezhkovskii, etc.) and his Hamburg years (1945-1949), and continued throughout his life in America (1949-1986) as a professor, scholar, poet and essayist.
Among the correspondence of significance or magnitude in the Papers are letters to and from: Georgii Adamovich, Nikolai Andreyev, Aleksandr Bakhrakh, Nikolai Berdyaev, Iosif Brodskii, Ivan Bunin, Igor Chinnov, Tatiana Fesenko, Boris Filippov, Rev. George Florovskii, Rev. Kirill Fotiev, Pavel Gribanovskii, Roman Goul, Roman Grynberg, Roger Hagglund, Johannes Holthusen, Felix Ingold, Simon Karlinskii, Robin Kemball, Gennadii Khomiakov, Yurii Mamleev, Nadezhda Mandelshtam, Nikolai Morshen, Vladimir Markov, Sydney Monas, Serge Prince Obolenskii, Irina Odoevtseva, Valerii Pereleshin, Boris Poplavskii, Sofia Pregel, Aleksis Rannit, Aleksei Remizov, Rev. Vl. Rimskii-Korsakov, Princess Janet Romanova, Tatiana Rozanova, Rev. Aleksandr Shmeman, Vsevolod Setschkareff, Zinaida Shakhovskaya, Andrei Siniavsky, Heinrich Stammler, Anatolii Shteiger, Gleb Struve, Yurii Terapiano, Victor Terras, Vladimir Weidle, Sergei Zenkovskii.
The Papers also include photocopies of correspondence between Bunin and Adamovich, Bryusov and Merezhkovskii, and copies of letters from Tsvetaeva to Ivask. They also include much personal correspondence between Ivask and his wife Tamara, his parents Pavel and Evgenia Ivask, and his cousin Elena Kulpa.