Square Dance History Project
The rich story of North American square dance finally has a home in the digital age.

Browse Items (22 total)

  • Temporal Coverage is exactly "19th century - late"
Document

"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… View item
Document

"The Texas Cattle Country and Cowboy Square Dance" – Olcutt Sanders

This article, scholarly yet accessible, provides an excellent look at square dancing in west Texas in the late 1800s. He starts with a look at the conditions that set this region apart from… View item
Document

Farmhouse Fiddlers: Music & Dance Traditional in the Rural Midwest

This is an excerpt from a detailed and loving look at what the author terms "house-party music." His focus is Wisconsin, and he based the book on interviews with nearly 100 musicians and dancers.… View item
Document

American Country Dancing on Colorado's West Slope

The article is based on oral history collected in 1979, though no footnotes or direct quotations are included. Instead, it is a generalized summary of the author's findings. "Depending on… View item
Document

At the Keith Ranch (1893)

SeeAdditional Filesfor the full story.This short story, published in 1893, focuses on events at a square dance at a Colorado ranch. Although the plot itself is melodramatic, the author includes… View item
Website

Contemporary Accounts of Dance From the American West in the Nineteenth Century

Doctoral dissertation based on primary sources; includes a look at dances on the pioneer trails, in logging camps in mining camps, rural social life and urban social life. From the author's… View item
Document

Cowboys' Christmas Ball - Anson, Texas

Poem written in 1890 describing the Cowboys' Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas. For more information about the author, see this website on cowboy poetry. The Ball continues, following the original rules… View item
Still Image

Description of a Quadrille, 1870, West Virginia

Satirical description of a quadrille, from a West Virginia newspaper; no mention is made of a caller View item
Document

Frontier Dances - Bob Cook

A native of Colorado, Bob Cook's dancing experiences go back to the time when he was a seventh grader at the Cheyenne Mountain School. He was a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers from 1939 to… View item
Website

Haynes Family manuscript - Oregon

This manuscript of sixty-five dance tunes was handed down through several generations of the Haynes, Shuck, and Adams families who came West over the Oregon Trail from Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa and… View item
Document

History of Square Dancing - Ralph Page

Between 1972 and 1974, Ralph Page wrote a series of essays entitled A History of Square Dancing. For ease in downloading, we have collected them into "chapters" that group together similar topics.… View item
Still Image

John Putnam, Black fiddler and caller

John Putnam (c. 1817–1895) was born into slavery and by the 1850s was living in Greenfield, MA, where he worked as a barber. He played left-handed fiddle and Putnam's Orchestra played for dances… View item