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

Square Dance Magazines

Among the most useful resources for understanding square dance history are the many square dance magazines, some published for a national readership and others for regional, state, or local audiences. In the last two decades, increasing numbers of such publications have been digitized and made available online.

The first part of this exhibit highlights complete sets of four important publications with a national audience, plus a regional one. The process of obtaining permissions, collecting issues, organizing the work, digitizing, and making such items available online involves the work of many people, and we want to acknowledge those who were involved:

Gardner Patton played a key role here, digitizing Sets in Order (SIO), American Square Dance (ASD), The American Dance Circle, and Grand Square. Others working on these projects were: Calvin Campbell (providing many of the magazines including copies of the American Dance Circle, negotiating with University of Denver library for archiving, working with the Lloyd Shaw Foundation board on American Dance Circle and SIO, obtaining permission to reproduce SIO from Bob Osgood's heirs Linda Anderson and Wendy Hubenthal, and proofreading most of the final files), Jim Mayo (coordinating with the Square Dance Foundation of New England and the University of New Hampshire for providing many of the magazines, archiving, and proofreading the final files), Paul Moore (helping to obtain permissions to make SIO issues available) and Barbara Kanter (copies of all issues of the Grand Square). Individual copies of magazines were obtained from Roy and Betsy Gotta, Manny Amor, and John Callahan (the first issues of ASD). Randy Boyd graciously allowed issues of ASD to be digitized and coordinated sales of the thumb drives containing the files with CALLERLAB. Bob Tomlinson played a key role in creating the disk containing the copies of SIO and in making American Dance Circle available on the Lloyd Shaw web site. Allyn Riggs and Enid Cocke participated in many of the discussions. Neil Rhodes put the issues of American Dance Circle on the Lloyd Shaw website. Kate Crow from the University of Denver library and Roland Goodbody, and Meredith Ricker from the University of New Hampshire library, coordinated uploading to the library web sites. Dana Schirmer coordinated CALLERLAB selling the discs containing the SIO issues and the thumb drives containing ASD copies. The University of New Hampshire (Roland Goodbody, archivist) digitized Ralph Page's Northern Junket magazine.

The second part of the exhibit is a collection of square dance magazines and newsletters from the late 1940s through the 1960s. Some are samples of publications aimed at a national audience by well-known callers such as Ralph Page, Les Gotcher, and Herb Greggerson. Others serve a more regional or a state audience while still others focus on a much smaller area. Of course, the size of a publication's geographical area does not necessarily indicate the number of activities it describes; look at "Local Square" from San Diego or "Square Dance ~ Where?" from northern California to see just how many clubs and activities were in those areas. For this section, many thanks go to Stig Malmo—Danish dancer, caller, and collector—for the many hours spent scanning these items and for his willingness to share these examples.

Individual items may take a while to load. Please be patient.



Assembled by David Millstone with most materials contributed by Stig Malmo and Gardner Patton