In the fall of 2009, the Federation Archives Committee (then co-chairs Adony and Becky Beniares) put out a call for any folk dance-related documents, media, and memorabilia so that the Committee could begin to assemble and organize a resource that would be available to Federation members and researchers in general. Almost two years later, in April of 2011, the Archive Committee members, plus a few other interested dancers, met at the Beniares home in Sunnyvale for what was billed as a Sorting Party. The over 90 boxes (you read that right – ninety boxes) were opened, the contents sorted, organized, and inventoried, and then put back into boxes that were labeled.
Let’s Dance! magazines – 3 boxes
With the exception of a few issues, the archives has a complete set of Let’s Dance! magazine beginning in October of 1944. The bulk of these have been scanned and are available on-line. The Federation is no longer accepting donations of back issues.
Books and Periodicals – 8 boxes
This includes such gems as Lloyd Shaw’s book Cowboy Dances, Larry Getchell’s A History of the Folk Dance Movement in California – With Emphasis on the Early Years, American Country Dances of the Revolutionary Era 1775-1795, by Kate Van Winkle Keller and Ralph Sweet, and Hungarian Dances, by Andor and Ann Czompo (and autographed by Andor!).
Video tapes – 4 boxes
These videotapes were made by the Federation Research Committee starting in the mid-1980s when camcorders first became available. Someone videotaped the many and frequent workshops in California, and Bruce and Mary Wyckoff maintained them for several years. The box of videotapes eventually found its way to the Federation archives. Because videotape players are becoming less and less common, it was felt that digitizing them would be helpful, and this has been done. Both the videotape and DVD version can be made available to researchers upon request. Given sufficient lead time, digitized videoclips can be made and emailed. Complete list by Dance Name; Complete list by Teacher Name.
Let’s Dance! calendars – 1 box
Two complete sets for the years 1964-1988.
Photographs – 1 box
These are primarily black and white photographs of varying sizes. Most are not labeled or dated, although a few have just a name or two or just a date. The Archives Committee met with some of our ‘village elders’ interested in reviewing and labeling these photographs and identified many of the people and groups in the photographs.
Scrapbooks – 1 box
Also includes 3 scrapbooks too large to fit in a box, plus 7 very large volumes created by the East Bay Council. These scrapbooks are a wonderful source of historical data, minutes, list of clubs, photos, newspapers clippings, etc.
Historical posters – 10 boxes
These are poster-sized displays dating from May 1942 to the mid 1980s showing Federation activities and history. They can be borrowed for use as decorations at any Federation event.
Costume Patterns – 2 boxes
Using the Archived Materials
At the present time, all of the items are in a locked storage facility in Sunnyvale. If you want to see any of the archived materials mentioned here or on the Federation website, the first step is to get in touch with someone on the Archives Committee: Loui Tucker (email@example.com or 408-287-9999). Let them know what you’d like to see. Depending on the item and what you plan to do with it, arrangements will be made to (1) photocopy and mail a copy, (2) scan and email a copy, (3) mail the item on loan with the expectation that it will be returned in the same condition by a certain date, or (4) set a date for you to visit the storage unit and review the item(s) at your convenience.
If you have items in your closet, basement, attic or storage unit that you would like to add to the archives, particularly if you can see from the inventory that we don’t already have those items, please get in touch with an Archive Committee member. We no longer accept printed syllabi from Stockton Folk Dance Camp or back issues of Let’s Dance! magazines because these have been scanned and are available on-line.