The collection includes two diaries written by Simpson while a prisoner of war in the Philippines. The first diary (December 8, 1941 - April 18, 1944) of 59 typescript pages presents a reconstruction of war and defeat in Bataan (pp. 3-14) and Corregidor (pp. 15-21), including sample battle dialogue (pp. 19-21). Dated entries begin with May 6, 1942 (p. 22) and describe conditions of surrender to the Japanese on Corregidor, travel to the P.O.W. camp, and camp life itself. The other diary (April 19, 1944 - October 12, 1944) of 23 typescript pages describes life in the P.O.W. camp up to the time Simpson was sent to Japan. Together the diaries describe two years and four months of life in a Japanese P.O.W. camp. Except for six months of this time, Simpson served as a camp barracks leader.
Diary entries provide insight into the psychological effects of imprisonment, including continual fears about the future, disillusionment with human nature, preoccupation with rumors about the course of the war, and alternating hope and despair of freedom. Other topics of constant concern in the diaries are lack and type of food; health problems, notably malnutrition, beri-beri, and pelagra; interaction among the prisoners; and receipt of letters from home and Red Cross packages. Daily routines, departures from routine, amounts of rations, camp entertainment, crime and punishment, and general camp morale also are described regularly. The second diary in particular includes observations of Japanese military activity witnessed from the P.O.W. camp, including aerial operations andactions such as foxhole digging within the camp itself (pp. 12, 16, and 21).
The collection also includes a copy of the entry on Simpson in the United States Naval Academy Register of Alumni.