Allan Blank filled hundreds of notebooks with sketches and scores. Sometimes these pads were filled to the brim with notations, however most of the time the composer simply wrote on the first few pages then abandoned that notebook for a different one. Notebooks are scattered throughout his collection and give a great view into his process.
I too love notebooks, I have dozens at home partially filled with various ideas, appointments and information. Yet, notebooks are sneakily dangerous in the archival world. So innocent looking, but rife with hidden hazards. Such threats are highly acidic paper, cardboard covers and metal coils.
If you have ever held onto a notebook for a few years, you have probably noticed the paper becoming brittle and yellowing. Just like paperclips, metal coils will begin to rust and stain paper. In an effort to prevent further damage to the Blank collection, I am removing the coils, separating the covers and placing the works in acid free folders. Right now, it is slow going, but soon I will be getting wire cutters! I’m sorry Dr. Blank for ruining your notebooks, but hopefully you will forgive me since in will better preserve your work.