The Ralph E. McCoy Papers document his education, military service, and professional career as an educator and library administrator. The records date from 1937-1999. The collection is organized into three series: Personal Education, Military Service, and Professional Career.
The Personal Education series contains information and documents concerning his time at Lawrence School, Springfield High School, Illinois Wesleyan University, and University of Illinois where he received his Masters and Ph.D. in library science. The second series contains military documents relating to his service in the 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division, including authored manuals such as Repatriation of American War Dead, book lists for the Reading Program for Quartermaster Officers, and other informational guides. Also included are materials during his time in Quartermaster School. The third and largest series documents McCoy’s professional career. Topics and highlights include: early teaching career, guest lectures at various universities, correspondence with individuals soliciting their personal papers for Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Morris Library and Southern Illinois University records, Freedom of the Press/First Freedom works, published/non-published works, personal memoirs, and various books collected by McCoy.