The Mahlon W. Davis Collection consists of one photographic album assembled by Davis containing around 260 photographic prints of varying sizes which document his service with the American Field Service (AFS) Section Sanitaire [Etats-] Unis (SSU) 2 in 1915. Images include wartime landscapes, interior views (sleeping quarters and bombed buildings), and some images of fellow AFS drivers, French soldiers, and civilians. About half of the prints have captions.
The collection also includes a diary by Davis, containing daily entries documenting his AFS service from March 6to July 16, 1915. The handwritten diary entries begin on page 42; Davis apparently sent the earlier entries home (dating from January 12, 1915), and these pages are not part of the collection. The diary gives a very detailed accounting of his activities with AFS unit SSU 2, including information about the health of his fellow drivers, ambulance repairs and upkeep, bombardments, the weather, and unit inspections. The diary includes several newspaper clippings showing trenches, and prisoners of war held by Germans, a conversation with a German prisoner, and the activities (including sounds) and aftermath of battles. In addition to the handwritten diary is a typewritten transcription of the March 16 to May 16 entries. The typed pages are not exact transcriptions; in some cases the wording is different and in other places content details from the original diary are missing. The typed and handwritten pages are collected together in a leather looseleaf binder, with the typed transcriptions appearing first. The final two pages in the diary contain notes made at a later date by an unknown person logging the names of people mentioned in the diary.
The collection also includes his French travel passport (with a portrait of Davis affixed) and a menu from a celebratory dinner for an unspecified event.