Document Type


Publication Date



Project management, archival collections, twentieth-century American music, women composers


In 2016, the music librarian at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI launched a project to transcribe approximately 2,000 by twentieth-century American composer Blythe Owen into typed, keyword-searchable documents. The goal of the transcription project is to make these letters more accessible beyond their current archival setting, and thereby lay the foundation for further inquiry into Owen, her works, and the people she knew – among them pianist and pedagogue Rudolf Ganz, African-American composer Florence Price, and composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. Managing such a large project has proven challenging, but worth the effort. This article describes the methodology, successes, challenges, and current progress of the Owen letter transcription project, including the employment of two graduate assistants in the transcription process over the past four years. The benefits of involving student assistants in the research process in an archive outweigh the challenges of mentoring and supervising the creation of the transcription documents.

Journal Title

Music Reference Services Quarterly


First Department

Library Sciences

Second Department



Retrieved 9/15/2020 from with permissions of a Zero Embargo Green OA Policy published at

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Musicology Commons