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

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

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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 introduction:

This study originated with an attempt to establish evidence for a theory of how dance was an integral part of the growing society of the west .

It soon became clear that a vast unexplored record of dance events, participants and attitudes exists in the journalism of the frontier. This wealth of material is sometimes camoflauged in fiction, editorials and poetry. But often it is apparent as a part of front page news or major literary contributions. There is also reporting, criticism, commentary and reminiscence.

Many periodicals were part of the developing society, some lasting a few issues, some several years. Because this study was concerned with the flavor of the times with respect to dance, it was considered appropriate in selecting periodicals for research that a series of issues of each should be available. This allowed for a better understanding of the context in which the dance articles appeared. In most cases that meant reading each complete issue for at least one year and as many as twenty-three years for the longer lasting publications.

In addition, contemporary accounts were located in books, scrapbooks and miscellaneous clippings found in the main libraries and special collections visited by the investigator. In some cases, single issues of publications are missing or partially readable, with weather, fire and age having taken their toll.

The study is an attempt to record the integral role of dance in western pioneer society by discovering dance references in published contemporary sources. The period studied begins with the earliest records of the American pioneers into the western area known as the Oregon Territory and ends with the beginning of a new century. With the advent of the twentieth century significant changes took place in America's dance which have been addressed more frequently in historical writing. It was considered appropriate for this study to assemble material of an earlier era which had not been previously compiled for dance historians.


CRAIG, JENIFER PASHKOWSKI. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 1982. Section 0208, Part 0523 [Ph.D. dissertation].United States -- California: University of Southern California; 1982. Publication Number: AAT 0550183

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