I have noticed a trend with Allan Blank’s working style. Usually when inspiration struck, he would grab any piece of paper at hand and write. Conversely, he would start a sketch, or score in a notebook, but then fail to fill up the rest of the notebook. What that leaves me, the archival processor, with is a stack of scrap papers and empty notebooks. Hey, I’m not complaining! Yet, I still wish I knew why he would start a notebook, but leave most of the pages blank.

Untitled musical sketch, no date. The Allan Blank Papers Collection.




The sketch pictured is a prime example. It is from a Sam Ashe sheet music notebook, the page only has the beginnings of a piano score jotted down at the top of the paper. Unfortunately, there is no title, or date to help me discover more about the composition. As for the rest of the notebook, it is empty.





So what do I do? Easy. To begin, I remove the notebook cover and wire as not to cause any more damage to the materials. Next, I record all the information I can glean from the writing…while it might not be much, every little bit will help researchers. For preservation, the next step is to place the paper in an acid free folder (as you know an Archivists best friend) and categorize it under the subheading of ‘Miscellaneous or Untitled Works’.

Conservationists, please don’t fret! The rest of the blank music paper is recycled.