Kentucky Set Running - 1917 firsthand account
After graduation from Vassar and a summer holiday with family, Marguerite Butler, at age 22, headed for Pine Mountain Settlement School in a remote area of eastern Kentucky to try to make some satisfactory contribution to a 1914 world where few such opportunities were allowed for women. A few nights after her arrival at the school, folks gathered to “run a set”—to go through the permutations of their favorite kind of dance. She describes the dance and her feelings in this interview made 58 years later.
The caller is referred to only as "Oscar;" this might be Oscar Begeley, but we are not certain. Pine Mountain is where the noted English folklorist Cecil Sharp encountered Appalachian mountain dancing for the first time, in 1917, a moment that is also described in the interview. The dancing was done without instrumental music, with rhythm solely from hand clapping, as demonstrated in the first Related Item.
The interview was made in 1972 by Terry Thorp Fortner while she was a student in Internship for Rural Living at the John C. Campbell Folk School where John Ramsay was Director. Loren Kramer, Principal of the program, oversaw Terry’s project which was then submitted to Berea College where Terry was at that time enrolled.
Berea College holds the original tapes and has granted permission to include the audio on this site; Anna Sherouse transcribed the entire interview, and has similarly given permission for portions of her transcription to be included.
A search on the SDHP collection will reveal many Related Items; a few are listed below.
More information on Bidstrup's eight years of teaching at Pine Mountain can be found on website focusing on the school's history. After Pine Mountain, she was closely associated with Olive Dame Campbell and the founding of the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.
Sound Item Type Metadata
|This Item||is related to||Item: Berea Country Dancers - Set Running (1917)|
|This Item||is related to||Item: Phil Jamison 4 - Cecil Sharp and the "running set"|
|This Item||is related to||Item: Set Running - Cecil Sharp in America|
|This Item||is related to||Item: John Ramsay - Set Running, a Southern Folk Dance|
|This Item||is related to||Item: Stu Jamieson - The Old-Time Kentucky Running Set|
|This Item||is related to||Item: Square dance - Ary, KY - 1963 (big set)|
|This Item||is related to||Item: Set Runnin' in Eastern Kentucky|
|This Item||is related to||Item: Traditional Folkdance in Kentucky|
|This Item||is related to||Item: "Dancing to the Music: Domestic Square Dances and Community in Southcentral Kentucky (1880-1940)"
|This Item||is related to||Item: Carcassonne big set, #1|
|This Item||is related to||Item: Carcassonne big set, #2|
|Item: Cecil Sharp at Pine Mountain Settlement School||is related to||This Item|