New Hampshire Library of Traditional Music & Dance

The NH Library of Traditional Music and Dance is designed to serve the research needs of historians, folklorists, musicians, callers, and dancers alike. Created in 1992 to consolidate and improve access to unique music collections maintained by the University of New Hampshire Milne Special Collections department, the library consists of materials generated both by individuals and organizations. Its holdings include books, periodicals, printed music, recordings, photographs, and archival materials pertaining to traditional music and dance in the United States and elsewhere, with a strong focus on New England traditions.

Digital Collections

External Sites

  • Special Collections
    Chip Hendrickson (1932-2005) was a dance caller and dance historian. He recorded many 45 rpm records for the Top Caller and Grenn labels in the genres of Western square dance, New England square dance, contra dance, and 18th century historical dance…
  • Special Collections
    David H. Millstone is a folk dance teacher, caller, and historian from northern New Hampshire, and a prolific author and documentarian on contemporary and historical New England contra and square dance. He maintains the Square Dance History Project at…
  • Special Collections
    Patrick Stevens (1953-2007) was an architect by trade, and one of the leaders of New Hampshire's Seacoast dance scene during the 1980s-2000s. He was a prolific dance photographer, caller, and organizer of such influential ongoing events as the Star…
  • Special Collections
    The New Hampshire Library of Traditional Music and Dance was formed in 1988 when the collections of the New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA), the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), and the materials of caller Ralph Page were combined at the University of New Hampshire. This folder…
  • Special Collections
    Eric (Rickey) Holt (1944-2017) was a contra dancer and caller, as well as a lover of music. He first learned about contra dance while living in Burlington, and went on to become a well known local caller in the Seacoast NH area. He was especially involved in the Deerfield and Newfields dances. This…
  • Special Collections
    Milton Prince Appleby (1923-2018) was a fiddler and farmer from Rochester, N.H., of New Brunswick French/English and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) heritage. He was born in Needham, Mass., son of John “Jack” Bickford Appleby (1881-1974) and Laura Alice…
  • Special Collections
    Elliot (1921-2016) and Rachel Juni (b. 1922) were avid western style square dancers from Ann Arbor, Michigan. This collection consists of a small number of dance calling cards and event posters, convention programs, and about 20 publications related…
  • Special Collections
    Brownlow “Brownie” Leighton Thompson (1909-1998) and Dorothea “Dot” [Martin] Thompson (1911-1992) were square, contra, and round dance callers and dance historians from North Conway, New Hampshire. They were active for over 50 years within the…
  • Special Collections
    New Hampshire was chosen as the theme for the 1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., during which cultural, political, economic, and indiustrial traditions of all kinds were highlighted for festival visitors. The festival was repeated…
  • Special Collections
    Glenn F. Pease (1906-1989) of Orford, NH, was a square dance caller in the New England singing squares tradition. He called dances in Orford, Warren, Piermont, and surrounding locations. He is particularly remembered for starting the Wentworth NH…
  • Special Collections
    Marlys S. Waller is the co-author of the classic folk dance text Dance A While. Before this she helped found the early western square dance magazine Foot ‘n Fiddle in Texas during the 1940s. She later moved to Seattle, Washington. This collection…
  • University Archives
    Started in 1947 by Priscilla Rabethge, the recreation specialist for the physical education department, UNH's folk dance club was named after a dance called the Durham Reel. The scrapbook includes documents and photographs from the early club dances…
  • Special Collections
    Newton French Tolman (1908-1986) was a contra dance flute player from Nelson, New Hampshire. He learned flute from his uncle as a child and played in the Nelson Town Band. Later he became an invaluable source of knowledge for younger generations…
  • Special Collections
    Folklorist Linda Morley was active in New England and specifically New Hampshire from the early 1970s to the late 1980s. In addition to collecting and supporting community involvement in folklore and folklife, she spearheaded the creation of RSA-19,…
  • Special Collections
    Michael McKernan is a caller, fiddler, and banjo player from Putney, VT. He was involved in the contra dance band Applejack, as well as the Brattleboro Brass Band, and completed many dance/music residencies in area schools. He has published widely on…
  • Special Collections
    Marianne Taylor (1930-2008) was a dance leader and caller from New England. She taught English, Scottish, Contra, and International Folk styles, and was heavily involved in dance organizations such as the Folk Arts Center of New England (co-founder),…
  • Special Collections
    Louise Winston (1917-1996) of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, was a teacher and caller of square and contra dances. She was a co-founder of Country Dance Society-Boston Centre, and heavily involved in the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA) and camps…
  • Special Collections
    Violet “Bunny” Buskey (1912-2007) and Elliott Buskey (1912-1988) started their dance careers in Fitchberg, MA in the 1940’s. They moved to the Chicago area in 1951 where they taught contra dancing. This collection contains programs from dance gatherings in the Chicago area from 1952 to 1959. Also…
  • Special Collections
    Bob Van Antwerp (1920-2005) was an early and influential western style square dance caller, founding member of CALLERLAB, and released many square dance recordings. Van Antwerp’s papers consist of teaching notes, early CALLERLAB notes (1971-1985), and…
  • Special Collections
    Christine Helwig (1913-2009) was an expert on English Country Dance and in particular the dances and music of 17th Century France and England. She helped start several dancing groups and authored two books on dance. Research and correspondence related…
  • Special Collections
    Robert Comer McQuillen (1923-2014) was a distinguished New England contra and square dance musician whose highly influential career spanned nearly 65 years and all of North America and Western Europe. This collection consists of materials relating to and…
  • Special Collections
    The Fitzwilliam Square Dance was a very popular dance held in the Town Hall in Fitzwilliam NH between ca. 1969 and 1980. Musicians included Duke Miller, Dudley Laufman, Tod Whittimore, Tony Parkes, Bob McQuillen, the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra…
  • Special Collections
    The Country Dance Society, Boston Centre (CDS-BC) was founded in 1915 as the English Folk Dance Society, Boston Branch (EFDS-BB). In 1940 the national organization of EFDS reincorporated as the Country Dance Society (now CDSS, the Country Dance and…
  • Special Collections
    Reuben Merchant was a western-style square dance and international folk dance caller from Nassau, New York. The collection consists of circa 1000 45 RPM and LP records, and a small amount of textual material.
  • Special Collections
    Mary Gillette was a close friend of Ralph Page who lived in Boston and was involved in founding both NEFFA and the Tuesday night Cambridge YWCA dances (founded 1943) which Page called. S Papers include NEFFA programs and news (1954-1986), posters from…
  • Special Collections
    The New England Folk Festival Association, Inc. was founded in 1944 and incorporated in 1950. Founders included Ralph Page. The festival has been held yearly since then; since 1988 NEFFA has also sponsored the annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend (…
  • Special Collections
    Jon Thunberg (UNH '56) has been a member of the New Hampshire dance community for many years, as a contra and square dancer, an international folk dance leader, and a volunteer audio/visual processor for Milne Special Collections and Archives at UNH.…
  • Special Collections
    Bob Bennett was a teacher and caller of New England style squares who lived in Concord, NH, and later in York, ME. He attended the Folkways School in Peterborough NH with Ralph Page and Gene Gowing in the summer of 1949. The collection consists of…
  • Special Collections
    Kerry Elkin (1951-2009) was a fiddler, caller, and dancer from Cape Cod, Massachussetts. Most of the Kerry Elkin Papers consists of sheet music, reflecting a wide variety of styles and interterests.
  • Special Collections
    The Square Dance Foundation of New England (SDFNE) was formed 1973 under the leadership of Charlie Baldwin. The collection consists of organizational papers and display materials documenting the 42 year operations of the SDFNE and the Charlie and…
  • Special Collections
    Ralph Page’s career as a dance caller began in 1930. Ralph continued to call for the next 54 years, becoming one of the leading callers of his time and an important figure in the history of traditional dance in America. The Ralph Page Manuscript…
  • Special Collections
    The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Boston Branch was formed in 1950 and was both the first branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society established outside the United Kingdom and the first branch in North America. The collection, which…
  • Special Collections
    Pinewoods Camp in Plymouth, MA has been in operation since 1919 as a dance camp; before that it was a Girl Scout camp. The camp is owned by the Country Dance and Song Society, and has worked to promote Anglo-American traditional dance and music since…
  • Special Collections
    Ernie Spence (1925-2011) was a contra and square dancer and dance organizer in western New Hampshire, starting ca. 1950. He was responsible for first bringing to dances many young people who would later become important leaders of the dance scene in their own right. Ernie and his wife Jean…
  • Special Collections
    Larry Jennings was a dancer, caller, dance organizer, author, and dance philosopher who had a nationwide influence through his writings, series of discussion sessions attended by callers and organizers, and individualized critiques of dance callers…
  • Special Collections
    George Fogg, of Boston, MA, was the recipient of Country Dance and Song Society Lifetime Contribution Award for 2012. He has been a teacher of country dance since 1968, and is an expert at getting beginners out onto the dance floor. The collection…
  • Special Collections
    The Monadnock Folklore Society was founded in 1980 and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1982. The original purpose was to increase the visibility of folk dance and music events in southern New Hampshire, provide new venues for performers,…
  • Special Collections
    Joe Peidle is a professor of Scientific Instrument Making at Harvard University. He is also an avid photographer, with interests in a variety of subjects, and has his own darkroom. These photographs of contra dancing cover New England Folk Festival…
  • Special Collections
    Jim Mayo is one of the few western square dance callers who began dancing in the more traditional style taught by Ralph Page and was later mentored in calling by Al Brundage. Mayo went on to be a founding member and chairman of CALLERLAB (est. 1972).…
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  • Special Collections
    Charles Baldwin (1907-1986) was a square dance caller and teacher in the western or ‘modern’ square dance tradition. He was greatly influential in western square dancing starting in the 1940s. Baldwin founded Camp Becket (MA), editor of the New…
  • Special Collections
    The first resurrected New Hampshire Folk Festival – an event with that name had previously been held from 1946-1964 – was held at Pat’s Peak Ski Area in Henniker on August 15, 1976. The New Hamsphire folk community felt that it was time that serious…
  • Special Collections
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    Sandy Freedman (ca. 1920-ca. 1993) was a dance leader in New York City. His particular passion was to bring folk dance to individuals who might not otherwise have a chance to partake, especially senior citizens and differently abled individuals. His…
  • Special Collections
  • Special Collections
    Charles “Charlie” Francisco (ca. 1920-1997) was a folkdance leader especially active during the 1940s-1960s in Buffalo, New York. His particular strength was in Slavic/Baltic music and dance, but he also enjoyed contra dance, square dance, Scottish…
  • Special Collections
    The Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend celebrates the legacy of New Hampshire dance caller Ralph Page (1903-1985) with an annual 3 day festival of New England music and dance. It was established in January 1988 as a branch of the New England Folk…
  • Special Collections
    [bioghist abstract] The collection consists of class projects undertaken by participants in American Folklife courses taught in the English Department, primarily by Professor Burt Feintuch. The projects take the form of investigations of local persons…