The National Resource Centre for Historical Dance

A Permanent home at Kellogg College, Oxford

The National Resource Centre for Historical Dance is now housed at Kellogg College, Oxford. There is work to be done in cataloguing etc. before the collection fully opens, but it was with great pleasure and pride that the Early Dance Circle Committee announced the move at its AGM on 25 October 2014. Our gratitude goes to our previous Chair, Diana Cruickshank, and Secretary, Cathie Bowness, for their strenuous efforts over many years to negotiate a proper home for the NRCHD.

In its new location, the resources of the NRCHD will be shelved and available to readers, on application, by January 2016. Over the coming two years it will be re-catalogued and integrated into the University of Oxford’s library database. The original catalogue is available on this website page in the next section.

The Early Dance Circle look forward to a fruitful partnership with Kellogg College that will involve exciting developments. For example, the EDC Annual Lecture on Feb. 19 2016 was given by Dr Christine Jackson, Senior Fellow at Kellogg’s. For more information see EDC Annual Lecture.

THE CURRENT CATALOGUE OF THE NRCHD

It is possible to download a catalogue in PDF format. This catalogue is divided into five categories. In order to get any of them, please click in the relevant section:

New additions, books from the collections of Peggy Dixon and of Anne Cottis (courtesy of Anne Daye) are now in the NRCHD and being catalogued onto the Oxford University system. Unfortunately, they are not listed in the catalogue provided here.

The Circle’s intention is that this should become the most comprehensive accessible working library in the country for Historical Dance.  Obviously, it can never have the range of rare publications that are to be found in the British Library and in equivalent national libraries abroad, but it will have a good coverage both of actual books, and of manuscripts and other sources.  This material embraces not only dance, but also music, social history and manners, and dress (including costume-making).  A large part of this final section is made up of the Elizabeth Wilson Collection.

In due course, it may be possible to provide an index of relevant rare books held in other libraries, in London, and also elsewhere.

DONATIONS WELCOME

The Early Dance Circle is well aware that the collections of the National Resource Centre will be built up mainly by gift and bequest, through the goodwill of existing scholars.  It invites the Historical Dance community to support the Centre in this manner and it will be happy to receive any such donations. Anyone wishing to have further information about NRCHD, or to donate materials to the Centre, should contact secretary@earlydancecircle.co.uk

THE BACKGROUND 

In 1999, the EDC announced the foundation of a National Centre for Historical Dance to support the study, re-creation and enjoyment of European dancing as represented in manuscripts and printed books since medieval times.  The Circle had been planning this project for a number of years and it was felt that the time had come to give it at least a notional existence and to appoint David Wilson as the first Honorary Director.

Accommodation was initially provided by the Honorary Director, pending the possibility of permanent housing for the not-inconsiderable archive. In the meantime, books continued to be gathered for the Resource Centre’s library, and many of the first 750 volumes, together with a substantial amount of musical and pictorial archive material, were catalogued.