Guide to the Louise Winston Collection, 1929-1984

Collection number:
Size: (14 boxes ) (6.5 cu.ft.)

About Louise Winston (1917-1996)

Louise Eleanor Winston was a square dance teacher, avid dance photographer, and close friend of callers such as Ralph Page, Rod Linnell, and George Fogg. She was born in Roxbury MA on the 22 April 1917 and died 15 September 1996 in Wilmington MA at aged 79. The majority of her life was spent teaching literacy and square dancing in Jamaica Plain MA. She is notable as one of the first prominent woman callers in New England.

Winston began square dancing at the Cambridge YWCA in 1942, to the calling of Al Haynes. She was also an avid attender of Ralph Page’s dances at the YWCA (1943-1967), and attended his many camps across NH and MA beginning in 1946 or before. These camps included weekends in Fitzwilliam NH, Christmas camps in Swanzy NH, the Year End Camp in Keene and later Troy NH, as well as Charlie Baldwin’s Sargent Camp in Peterborough NH, Rod Linnell’s camps, New England Folk Festival, New Hampshire Folk Festival, Maine Folk Dance Camp, Pacific Folk Dance Camp in Stockton CA, Camp Becket in Becket MA, and Pinewoods in Plymouth MA.

She began calling in 1943, first to a group of Sunday School children at the Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist Church where she taught, and later to an adult group there. The two groups merged in 1951 and became the Jamaica Plain dance, which she ran and called for until 1976. She also managed the Cambridge YWCA dance for several decades.

Louise Winston is notable for being one of the few woman callers of her generation and a student of Ralph Page. In 1945, the YWCA in Cambridge received a telephone call from a women’s camp in Maine requesting a woman caller. Ralph Page, who took the call, assigned Winston to take the job, and it was her first paying gig as a caller. (It is worth mentioning that Page did not think highly of women’s abilities to call, and probably actively discouraged Winston from pursuing a wider calling career.) Also in 1945 she began a demonstration group of New England contra and square dancers; this group performed at the second NEFFA and at many other festivals thereafter.

Louise Winston continued to call and dance in the English, Scottish, New England, western square dance, international, and other traditions until the early 1980s. She was awarded a Country Dance and Song Society lifetime membership/Lifetime Achievement Award in the 1980s.

About the Louise Winston Collection

Louise Winston’s collection consists primarily of photographs, diaries, and related papers. Her photographs span the years 1938-1984, with the bulk in the 1950s-1960s. These document hundreds of dances, individual dancers, halls, and camps across New England. Most photos were taken by Winston herself; some were taken by Ralph Page. A summary list of people and places is provided below, and a complete photo list is with each box’s entry.

Her dance diaries span the years 1944-1983, with fewer than five years missing. Topics include her daily life, dances she attended, who called, what was called, who played, and other details. The Jamaica Plain dance series guestbook for the years 1963-1969 includes the names of each dancer who attended the weekly series during those years. Papers include personally decorated Pinewoods Camp newsletters (Pinewood Press), correspondence with callers and friends, dance programs, etc.

Camps Winston attended and photographed include: Camp Becket (Becket, MA); Camp Piscataqua (NH); Cardigan Lodge Weekend (Alexandria NH); Charlie Baldwin’s Sargent Camp (Peterborough NH); Maine Folk Dance Camp (Bridgeton ME); Merriewoode Women’s Camp (NC); New England Folk Festivals; New Hampshire Folk Festivals; North of Boston Caller’s Association (NOBCA); Pacific Folk Dance Camp (Stockton CA); Pinewoods Camp (Plymouth MA); Ralph Page Christmas Camp (Swanzy NH); Ralph Page’s Fitzwilliam weekends (NH); Ralph Page’s Year End Camp (Keene, later Troy NH); Rod Linnell’s camps (Troy NH); and likely others.

A partial list of individuals in photographs includes: Sam Alexander; Ray Anderson; Don Armstrong; George Bass; Sandy Bradley; Fred Breunig; Dave Bridgham; Bill Burning; Jean Carmichael; Dick Castner; Peggy Conant; Dick Crumb; Bob Dalsemer; Beth Delery; Dick Delery; Sid Dictor; Paul Dunsing; Ed Durlacher; Jane Farwell; George Fogg; Dave Fuller; Mary Gillette; Herb Greggorson; June Griffen; Duncan Hay; Chip Hendrickson; Mary-Anne Herman; Michael Herman; George Hodgeson; Jerry Holt; Cy Kalino; Mary Kanaly; Paul Kanaly; Abe Kanegson; Harold Kearney; Bernie Kempler; Ed Koenig; Jack Langstaff; Harry Lash; Doris Ledoux; Rod Linnell; Verona Linnell; Walter Loeb; Alice Longley; Duncan MacLachlan; Earle MacRoberts; Ellen Mandigo; Nibs Matthews; Ted Mauntz; Jerry McCarthy; Mac McKenrick; Bob McQuillen; Reuben Merchant; Phil Merrill; Lawrence "Duke" Miller; Ed Moody; Gene Murrow; Lawrence Older; Ragnhild Olson; Dick Osgood; Gus Otto; Ada Page; Laura Page; Ralph Page; Tony Parkes; Dick Richardson; Jean Richie; Marianne Sannella; Ted Sannella; Bill Sellers; Pat Shaw; Bob Smith; Doris Steele; Gerry Steinfeld; Ralph Sweet; Walter Sweet; Connie Taylor; Dick Tracie; Johnny Trafton; Frank Warner; Herb Warren; Doris Weller; Roger Whynot; Louise Winston.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Boxes 1-3 require 48 hours for retrieval.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder], [Box], Louise Winston Collection, 1929-1984, MC 287, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Gift of New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA), 2014

Custodial History

This collection was donated by the creator, Louise Winston, to the archives of the Country Dance Society-Boston Center (CDS-BC) sometime in the mid 1980s. From there it passed into the collection of director George Fogg when CDS-BC closed in the early 2000s. George Fogg donated the material to the NEFFA archives at some point after that, and the collection passed from the NEFFA archives to UNH in 2014. It appears the collection was kept relatively intact until it reached George Fogg, who separated the diaries for personal study. These diaries were originally acquired as part of MC 280 George Fogg Collection but have been replaced in Winston's collection.

MC 280 George Fogg Collection, Milne Special Collections and Archives, UNH

Separated Material

Boxes 1-3 require 48 hours for retrieval.

Newspaper clippings unrelated to dance were deaccessioned. Photographs primarily related to non-dance church and family activities were separated and deaccessioned.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is separated into three series: Papers, Photos, and Diaries. Arrangment of materials is roughly chronological within series.

Collection Contents

Series 1: Papers, 1929-1984

(3 Hollinger boxes)

This series consists of correspondence, papers, and programs related to Winston's involvement in dancing and dance camps. A complete box list is available for download with each box.

Box 1
NEFFA and Square Dance Papers/Correspondence

Papers related to NEFFA, NECCA, and other dance groups. Some correspondence, and a folder of her own calling jobs, programs, and publicity.Click here for box list

Box 2
Maine Folk Dance Camp Materials

Papers from Winston's invovlement in the Maine Folk Dance Camp; mostly personalized Pioneer Press newsletters. Click here for box list

Box 3
Dance Papers and Correspondence

Various correspondence with callers such as Ed Moody and others relating to dancing and dance weekends. Also included are music, some English, Scottish, and Western square dance notations, and notes from her NEFFA demonstration team ("the Gang"). Click here for box list

Series 2: Dance Photographs, 1938/1984

(8 archival boxes)

Photographs and negatives of dances, individual dancers, camps, halls, and associated activities. Click here for a downloadable box list for boxes 4-12

Box 4
Ralph Page Dance Camps, 1938-1947

Photographs from Fitzwilliam dance weekends in the 1940s, Page's 10th Anniversary Dance, Year End Camp, and others.

Box 5
Dance Photos, 1950-1959

Pinewoods, Merrie-woode, Camp Becket, Maine Folk Dance Camp, New Hampshire Folk Festival, and others. Also included are photos of the wedding of Jean and Ted Sannella.

Box 6
Dance Photos, 1960-1963

Subjects include Pinewoods, Year End Camp, Rod Linnell weekends, Jamaica Plains dances.

Box 7
Dance Photos, 1963-1968

Maine Folk Dance Camp, Year End Dance Camp, CDS Golden Anniversary, Jamaica Plain dances, Cardigan Lodge, Jamaica Plain 15th Anniversary dance, and others.

Box 8
Dance Photos, 1968-1970s

Ralph Page dance camps, Pinewoods, Cardigan Lodge, Maine Folk Dance Camp, Dick Castner's wedding, and others.

Box 9
Dance Photos 1954-1978

Dance camps: Pinewoods, Maine Folk Dance Camp, Pacific Folk Dance Camp, and unlabeled photos which are possible in New England.

Box 10
Unlabeled Dance Photos, 1950s-1960s

Unlabeled photos, including some recognizable individuals such as Ralph Page and Rod Linnell. Possibly taken somewhere in New England.

Box 11
Unlabled Dance Photos, 1950s-1960s

Unlabeled photos, including some recognizable individuals such as Ralph Page and Rod Linnell. Possibly taken somewhere in New England. This box is a continuation of the batch of photos in Box 10.

Box 12
Folk Dance Camps and Japan, 1950-1983

1950s trip to Japan with Ralph Page and Ricky Holt, as well as several folders of unlabled photos which appear to have been taken in New England.

Series 3: Diaries, 1944-1983

(2 archival boxes)

Diaries and related material, covering Winston's daily life as well as her calling career.

Box 13
Diaries, 1944-1976

School notebook from 1929 and diaries from 1944-1976. These diaries cover the beginning of her calling career, her work with Ralph Page, the dance camps, and the beginning of her paid calling jobs.

Box 14
Diaries, 1977-1983, and Related Material

Diaries from the later part of Winston's calling career, as well as sign-in sheets for the Jamaica Plain dance 1963-1969, song booklets, and assorted other materials.