New Hampshire Old-Time Country Dance Web Site

Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend


The Ralph Page Collection

Ralph Page was a collector of dance-related materials, and also generated quite a bit of important dance materials including several books of music, dances, dance history and stories and historical research. The Ralph Page Collection is now at the University of New Hampshire Special Collections.

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The Ralph Page Collection

R alph Page was a collector of dance-related materials, and also generated quite a bit of important dance materials including several books.

After he died in 1985, the University of New Hampshire Library and the New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA) bought his collection from his wife Ada Page. It became a part of UNH Special Collections. The Manuscript Collection is in 82 boxes and 4 oversize boxes, and contains a huge variety of music and dance related materials.

It also had the effect of turning the UNH Milne Special Collections into a desirable place for other collections to reside. In 1992 they were all consolidated into the New Hampshire Library of Traditional Music & Dance. It now includes Ted Sannella's extensive collection, the Country Dance & Song (CDSS) collection, and collections from Chip Henderson, Larry Jennings, Dudley Laufman, Bob McQuillen, NEFFA, Marianne Taylor, Louise Winston and many others, for a total of about 60, large and small. It's the largest collection of materials related to New England contras and squares in the world.

The Ralph Page Manuscript Collection is a tremendous and fascinating resource. Below I will try to summarize some of the variety and more interesting contents of the collection. Here is some of what is to be found in it.

  • Correspondence. It contains 16 boxes of correspondence with people like Don Armstrong, Rod Linnell, Ted Sannella, Chip Hendrickson, Michael and Mary Ann Herman, Duke Miller, NEFFA, and many others.
  • Manuscripts. It contains manuscripts on contra and square dancing ranging from historical topics to opinionated essays (e.g. Difference Between Good Traditional Dancing and Madhouse Galloping to Non-directional Calls). Then there's an essay on Party Planning, an unpublished novel and more.
  • Northern Junket. It contains the complete Northern Junket, both the original magazines and in digitized form.
  • Personal Notebooks. It contains three boxes of personal notebooks, including lists of dances called, notes for classes taught, lists of people attending various events and dance camps, dance calls, and historical notes on dances.
  • Photos, Dance Calls, Festival Programs & more. There are scrapbooks, including all sorts of fascinating photos. There are two boxes of dance calls, instructions and music manuscripts. There are typed copies of many old dance manuscripts. There's a collection of programs from the New England Folk Festival from the beginning to 1986, dance programs of all sorts, several boxes of sheet music, several boxes of music and dance books, dance camp syllabi of all sorts, and many photographs.

Overall it's a fascinating collection! The digitized Northern Junket collection is accessible online. If you haven't read any of the Northern Junket I highly recommend leafing through random issues; you'll almost certainly find things of interest.