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Dances in rural New England thesis/Nora Groce

Identifier: MF172

Scope and Contents

A collection of five interviews conducted as research for her Master’s thesis (1977) at Brown University on dances in rural New England.


  • 1976-1977

Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. No known restrictions on material.


6 items

Language of Materials



NA1057 E. Gail/Gale Huntington, interviewed by Nora Groce and Lawrence “Larry” Kaplan, March 12-13, 1976, Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Huntington, who sings songs he learned from his wife’s family (the Tiltons) and others; talks about where and how he learned the songs; their history; details into what the songs were saying and their meaning. Also present: Huntington’s wife Mildred Huntington. Lawrence “Larry” Kaplan acted as witness to the release.

Text: 7 pp. catalog Recording: mfc_na1057_t1067_01, mfc_na1057_t1067_02, mfc_na1057_t1068_01, mfc_na1057_t1068_02, mfc_na1057_t1069_01 181 minutes

NA1060 Gladis Mace interviewed by Nora Groce, July 30, 1976, Aurora, Maine. Notes on an unrecorded interview. Mace talks about growing up in Ellsworth, Maine; dropping out of high school; getting married in 1917; moving to Aurora, Maine; Mace’s Family Store; dances at Grange Hall; dancing lessons; Kitchen Breakdowns; George Magoon (known for poaching); and Calvin Graves (wanted for murder).

Text: 3 pp. transcript

NA1061 Charles Wakefield, interviewed by Nora Groce, July 31, 1976, Cherryfield, Maine. Wakefield talks of his family’s role in creating and directing the Cherryfield town band; playing the snare drum; purchasing and running the Willey District dance hall in 1933; the Roberts Orchestra; becoming a music teacher in 1946; helping area high schools start their own bands; dance etiquette; Kitchen Breakdowns; town rivalry; and disorderly conduct at dances.

Text: 5 pp. transcript Recording: mfc_na1061_t1071_01, mfc_na1061_t1071_02 1 hour

NA1063 Paul Brooks and Charles Mudget, interviewed by Nora Groce, August 3, 1976, East Eddington, Maine. Brooks’ family and two pet raccoons are present for the interview. Side one of the tape has Brooks talking about traveling long distances to dances; rowdiness and fights at the dances; the types and ages of people who attended dances regularly; Kitchen Breakdowns; differences in dances held before and after World War II; the local general store as a social meeting place; food at dances; box socials; skiing to social events in winter; types of dances held in modern times; the lack of female musicians at dances in his day; and the role transportation played in dance attendance. Side two of the tape has Mudget talking about whom attended dances when he was young; meeting women at dances; Kitchen Breakdowns; fighting at dances; types of songs performed; wife swapping; The Red Rooster dance hall; and much discussion of the raccoons in the room. Songs from the dance hall era are sung by both Brooks and Mudget at the end of the tape.

Text: 11 pp. detailed catalog Recording: mfc_na1063_t1073_01, mfc_na1063_t1073_02 2 hours

NA1064 Del Clewley, interviewed by Nora Groce, August 4, 1976, East Eddington, Maine. Clewley talks about going to dances every week; games played at Kitchen Breakdowns; travel by sleigh or sled in winter; reasons for attending dances; the presence of alcohol; box socials; local stores as social gathering places for men; dating rules; and playing the drums at local dances.

Text: 5 pp. detailed catalog Recording: mfc_na1064_t1074_01 1 hour

NA1103 By Nora Groce for Brown University, spring 1977, New England. Copy of a Master’s thesis titled “Dances as an Integrative Mechanism in the Rural New England Community.”

Text: 102 pp. copy of MA thesis

Existence and Location of Originals

Located at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: AFC 2012/047

Materials Specific Details

Audio files are the primary source material. Transcriptions are the transcriber's best effort to convert audio to text, but should be considered secondary to the audio.

Guide to Dances in rural New England thesis/Nora Groce
In Progress
Amy Dias
May 2018
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States