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.

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
Sound

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
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Pam McKeever - biography

Biographical information about caller Pam McKeever, Albuquerque View item
Website

Santa Monica audio

Square dance caller and music producer Buddy Weaver has an original recording of the dances called at the famed "World's Largest Square Dance" in Santa Monica, CA, in 1950. He has… View item
Document

"So They Gave Up Football"

These two articles were written by Erna Egender, a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers for that group's first trip east, in 1939. The title relates to a ful-page layout created by the Associated… View item
Still Image

Texas Folk Dance Camp

Announcement cards featuring square dance images, used for Texas Folk Dance Camp, 1949 View item
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Texas Folk Dance Camp - history

This scrapbook documents the early years of the Texas Folk Dance Camp, starting in 1949. Inspired by Jane Farwell's camp at Oglebay Institute in West Virginia, the camp brought together Texas… View item
Document

Cowboy Songs and Dances

This is an excerpt-- the dance part; a later song section is omitted-- from an article that includes the author's experiences at a cowboy dance in 1903. The author includes typical patter heard… View item