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Henry Ford’s Dance Revival and Fiddle Contests:
Myth and Reality

Square dance enthusiasts generally know something of the important role played by Henry Ford in encouraging an American square dance revival. This lengthy article by Paul M. Gifford examines this story in more detail and provides a more nuanced view than is commonly presented of Ford's actions and motivations.

Uncle Steve's Quadrille (recording)

The first audo file contains instructions for the dance; it is followed by two music files with calls for the first and second figures.Detailed information about this dance, as published in Elizabeth Burchenal'sFolk-Dances from Old Homelands (1922) can be found here; information about the recording, Victor 35739, can be found here. Victor…

Uncle Steve's Quadrille (description)

This dance was published in Elizabeth Burchenal's Folk-Dances from Old Homelands (1922). This is the first dance iin the book, one of two American dances, along with Old Dan Tucker. (See the moving images of Burchenal leading Old Dan Tucker here.)Burchenal's dance description says it stems from Oxford County, Maine: "This is an old-time country…

Henry Ford and Benjamin Lovett

Dave Taylor and Al Brundage called a dance in Lovett Hall in Dearborn, Michigan, around 1980. This article is Taylor's effort to tell some of the story of that venue.

[Editor's note: some of the information presented in this article is disputed by other sources, but we do want to make this perspective available, especially for the first-hand…

Devils Dream (clip) - Ernest Legg & Kessinger Brothers

Ernest Legg (1904-1970) was from Charleston, WV (Kanawha County) Kessinger Brothers were fiddler Clark Kessinger (1896-1975) and his nephew, guitar player Luches Kessinger (1906-1944) "Devil’s Dream" (Brunswick 256) was recorded in February 1928 in Ashland, KY

Grand Square - Edson Cole

This dance starts with the Grand Square figure, along with other calls common to the 5th figure of the Lancers.Edson Cole was a fiddler and dancing master from Freedom, NH. He was documentedby Eloise Hubbard Linscott in her 1939 book, Folk Songs of Old New England. This 78 rpm recording was made available to Dudley Laufman, who released it with…

"Dancing to the Music: Domestic Square Dances and Community in Southcentral Kentucky (1880-1940)"

This detailed examination of the role of square dances in south central Kentucky is written by a folklorist, who based his findings on interviews with 20 musicians, dancers, and callers in that region. (Another look at Kentucky dancing, by researcher LeeEllen Friedland in the late 1970s, can be found here.)In his introduction, Feintuch writes:…

Edson H. Cole - website

In her 1939 Folk Songs of Old New England, Eloise Hubbard Linscott writes, "Edson H. Cole of Freedom, New Hampshire, has been fiddler, caller, and dancing master for more than 30 years. When he was a boy he was sent to Boston to study the violin but he had acquired his taste for music and his prompting from his uncle, Jim Cole, famous in the…

Edson Cole - Lancers Quadrille

Edson Cole was a New Hampshire fiddler and dancing master in the early part of the 1900s. Here, from a 78rpm recording, he is directing the changes for the Lancers. This site also includes the recording of Cole fiddling and calling for the Grand Chain.

Standard Club Quadrille (clip) - Benjamin Lovett

Benjamin Lovett, a New England dancing master, was hired by Henry Ford and relocated from Massachusetts to Michigan. He recorded numerous albums with the Henry Ford Orchestra, as well as authoring Good Morning, Ford's country dance book.

"Barn Dances with Calls"

Article published in The Old-Time Herald (Volume 7, Number 8) discussing what can be learned from a careful study of old dance records. Includes a discography.