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

About the Square Dance History Project

Square dancing has been an integral part of American social life for centuries. Traditional square dance was vital for generations of Americans, especially in rural communities; in the post-World War II era, modern square dance similarly enjoyed participants numbering in the millions.

Despite its popularity, the history of square dance has not been well documented. Scores of books explain specific figures and calls, but there are few current sources that offer a detailed discussion of the development of this form of American social dance. We hope this site helps to fill that need.

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"Square Dancing" film flyer

This is the flyer used to promote the Square Dancing film created by Bob Osgood and his Sets in Order team. View item
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Square Dance in Ava, Missouri

Edna Davis is caller. The dance is Two Little Hobos, a common southern Missouri figure. View item
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Don Durlacher - Jones Beach

Don Durlacher, son of Ed Durlacher, was a regular summer caller at Jones Beach outside New York City, calling with the Top Hands band that his father had used for many years. At this dance, the… View item
Website

Primo Fiore

Primo Fiore was born in Brooklyn on September 6, 1930 but raised his family in Deer Park, New York, while working as a physical education instructor in West Islip. His gifted speaking voice, combined… View item
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Bob Sumrall - newspaper clippings

Two newspaper clippings about Texas caller Bob Sumrall. The first, from January 14, 1947, focuses on a new square dance team that he formed and that will be performing at the Inaugural Ball for the… View item
Document

Marie Armstrong interview - notes

This is a rough log of the three video files that were combined for the published interview with Marie Armstrong. This will give interested viewers a summary of her comments and may help you move… View item
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Marie Armstrong Interview

Marie Armstrong was a longtime leader of recreation activities, including square dance, contra, and folk dance, as well as leading singing. She was married to caller Don Armstrong for many decades.… View item
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Square Dance With Soul

Two audio excerpts from the album Square Dancing With Soul by Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick, originally released on the Folkways label in 1969. The comments are from the booklet released with the… View item
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Square Dance Magazines

This short article from 1996 provides a brief summary of the leading square dance magazines, as well as background information about the founders. View item
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"So They Gave Up Football"

This full-page article and layout of photographs was created by the Associated Press, drawing attention to Lloyd Shaw and the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers. The top right photo shows the bus in which the… View item
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The Visible Anthem

This 1972 documentary, half an hour in length, describes the work of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. It includes footage of Dorothy Shaw speaking to participants at a gathering of the Lloyd Shaw… View item