The Louis Petroff papers consists of literary materials, research notes, correspondence, and biographical information. The bulk of the Petroff papers are on microfilm. The correspondence is with friends and spans nearly 50 years. His other writings consist of a number of poems in manuscript form, short stories, and a science fiction novel titled Children of the Universe. The research notes contain case histories of several "solitaries"- hermits and transients- reflecting one of Dr. Petroff's major research interests. Also included are notes relating to Bulgarian social practices and folklore.
The collection includes two major autobiographical works. The first is Petroff’s journal entitled The Hitch-Hike from Madison, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, California and What Followed after My Arrival in Los Angeles 1927. It covers the years 1927-1940 when Petroff traveled, studied, and worked in California and when he wrote his poems and works of fiction. Additional journal material dated 1956-1972 includes notes titled "Land Grabbery." This portion of the journal, which includes correspondence and newspaper clippings, is an account of Petroff's experience with the purchase of his personal home and property by Southern Illinois University and his dissatisfaction with the terms of the transaction.
A typescript of Petroff’s autobiography, To the Generations of the Tenth Millennium: Pages from a Journey through the Twentieth Century, completes the collection.