Guide to the Pinewoods Camp Collection, 1907-2008
Collection number: MC 288
About the Pinewoods Camp, Inc.
Pinewoods Camp at Long Pond in
Plymouth, Massachusetts is the oldest continuously operating facility for
traditional dance and music in the United States. It has been in existence since
1919 and attracts enthusiastic participants from throughout America and around the
world. Initially founded by Helen Storrow, it was continued by the Conant family
until being purchased through the donations of its own campers when it became
Pinewoods Camp, Inc.
Helen Osborne Storrow was a Boston philanthropist and an active supporter of the Girl
Scouts movement. In 1917 she founded the first National Girl-Scout Leadership
Training School at the Winsor School in Boston. In 1919 she moved the school to her
property on Long Pond. The Camphouse was built at this time, and the camp was named
“Pine Tree Camp” after the Pine Tree Patrol system. The Girl Scout programs
continued to be held there until 1935, at which time they were moved to a different
property nearby and the name was changed from Pine Tree to Pinewoods Camp.
Mrs. Storrow was also involved in the growth and development of English country
dancing in the U.S.A. and was president of the “American Branch of the English Folk
Dance Society” from 1916 until her death in 1944. At Pine Tree Camp, she combined
her two passions by inviting the staff of the American Branch to teach English
Country Dance and the Morris to the Girl Scouts. Dancing has remained a constant
part of the program.
In 1925 and 1926, the Boston Centre of the Branch, acting somewhat autonomously,
persuaded Mrs. Storrow to let them hold its own summer school at Long Pond. It was
at this time that the dance pavilion C# was built – named in tribute to the founding
father of the English folklore revival, Cecil Sharp, who had recently died. It
wasn’t until 1933 though, when Mrs. Storrow offered the camp to the American Branch
as a permanent home for their summer school, that the true nature of Pinewoods Camp
took hold. Dance camp continued to be run by the American Branch until that
organization was dissolved in 1937. At this time, a new national society was formed
in its place with New York as its designated center, and its name eventually became
the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS). It subsequently directed the adult dance
program each summer at Pinewoods Camp under the leadership of May Gadd, a teacher
and organizer sent from England by Cecil Sharp. She was devoted to maintaining the
high standards set forth by the English Folk dance Society (EFDS). Classes were
assigned by skill level and attendance was required for each class. Also in 1933,
the care of the property itself was turned over to Lily Conant, who had been Mrs.
Storrow’s close friend ever since she arrived in America. Lily had been sent by
Cecil Sharp in 1915 as a teacher of English Country Dance and Morris for the
American Branch. When Helen Storrow died in 1944, she bequeathed the camp to Lily
and her husband, Richard Conant.
The Conants ran the dance camp as a labor of love, often operating with a deficit and
always with very little money available for capital improvements or maintenance.
During this time CDSS expanded its programs to include a folk music week and a
chamber music week. The camp was also made available to other non-dancing groups,
and some of the houses were rented out to families for summer vacation use. The
Pilgrim Fellowship held retreats and workshops there for teenagers, and for 30 years
Richard Conant hosted a social-workers weekend called the Pinewoods Institute.
In the early 1950s, the Country Dance Society-Boston Centre started its own weekend
session. The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society’s Boston Branch also started a
weekend session in 1953 – the first Scottish dance weekend in North America - and
the Folk Arts Center of New England scheduled its first session at Pinewoods in
On the death of Richard Conant, Sr. in 1975, the property went to his son, Rick. Not
wanting the continuous struggle of maintaining the camp, Richard Conant, Jr.
encouraged the creation of a non-profit organization to which the camp could be
sold. Pinewoods Camp Inc. (PCI) was subsequently formed, and proceeded to raise the
necessary funds for the purchase of the camp property. A major campaign was
conducted to raise the funds from the campers themselves. For over a year, auctions,
dances, raffles and bake sales were held, and personal donations solicited. The
enthusiasm was contagious, $180,000 was raised – $100,000 for the camp and $80,000
for maintenance - and in 1976 the transfer was completed.
PCI’s Board of Directors was constructed to represent the three then-current user
groups (program providers) with the majority from CDSS, as it was the largest user
of the camp. Also included was a Conant family member, a Six-Ponds-area neighbor,
and four At-Large directors. (A representative of The Folk Arts Center was added in
the 1990s.) The first camp manager hired by PCI was Gerda Conant, wife of Richard,
Jr., and so a seamless transition was made. The first task, after the purchase, was
to set about attending to the many years of deferred maintenance.
About the Pinewoods Camp Collection
This collection contains legal/real estate materials from the early Girl Scout camp,
as well as correspondence, photos, financials, publications, and organizational
materials from the running of the Pinewoods Dance Camp. Included are deeds, maps,
water tests, and environmental reports, both from the early Girl Scout Camp and the
later Pinewoods Dance Camp. Correspondence from May Gadd, director Rick Conant, and
many others is supplemented by photographs spanning the entire 100 years
represented. A small amount of material relates to Conant's social work institute
(1940-1968). Of particular note is a folder of original letters from Cecil Sharpe
and Maud Karpiles to Lily Roberts Conant, located in Box 2. Financial and
organizational materials from running the dance camps are complimented by camper
lists, themed week programs, and the like.
This collection is open.
This collection is housed in the Library Storage
Building; access requires 48 hours notice. Please contact the Special
Collections staff prior to visiting the library.
Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions
about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.
[Identification of item], [Folder number], [Box number], Pinewoods Camp
Collection, 1907-2008, MC 288, Milne Special Collections and Archives,
University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.
Gift of the creating organization, 2010-2014
VC 1: Gloria Berchielli: Photos of Pinewoods Through the Years
Duplicates and material unrelated to Pinewoods Camp were removed.
Artifical order was imposed by subject and then chornologically.
- Series Series 1: Grounds and Oral History, 1907-1998
- Series Series 2: Pinewoods Social Work Institute, 1940-1968
- Series Series 3: Osborne, Storrow, and Conant Families, 1913-1997
- Series Series 4: Photographs, 1910-2006
- Series Series 5: Pinewood Camp Financials, 1941-1995
- Series Series 6: Girl Scout Leadership School, 1915-1960
- Series Series 7: Programs and Camper Information, 1927-2007
- Series Series 8: Oversize Materials, 1910-1999
Series Series 1: Grounds and Oral History, 1907-1998
(1.5 cu. ft.)
This series covers the history of the physical land and buildings of which
Pinewoods is comprised, including deeds, maps, and environmental studies.
Additional materials collected by groundskeeper Ed Wilfert cover the early
history of dance at the camp, interviews with dancers and musicians, and
early English dance activities in America. Correspondence includes original
letters from Cecil Sharpe, Maud Karpiles, and Lily (Roberts) Conant.
|Camp Grounds, Collected Oral History, 1907-1998
Materials relating to the Pinewoods Camp grounds include deeds,
historical maps, building permits/histories/demolitions, septic plans,
and Long Pond water levels taken yearly 1907-1998. Some copies of maps
and deeds reach back to the initial settling of the area.
The oral and written history of Pinewoods was a passion of longtime
caretaker Ed Wilfert. Materials include interviews with elderly dancers,
correspondence, a small number of photographs, and articles. Also
included is research around an early English Folk Dance and Song Society
(EFDSS) camp in York, ME. Notable names are Louise Chapin, May Gadd, and
|EFDSS, Conants, Cecil Sharpe Letters, 1914-1995
This box is a continuation of Wilfert’s research into early 20th century
EFDSS activities in America, including publications entitled “Dancing at
Long Pond 1933-1942,” “Pinewoods Early Years 1933-1944”, and “The Conant
Years 1944-1975”. A small amount of material covers the EFDSS school in
York, ME (1914-1917) and Amherst MA (1927-1932). Other subjects include
Lily Roberts (later Conant), an interview with musician Phil Merrill,
and Helen Osborne Storrow’s women’s dance school.
Of particular note is a series of original letters between Cecil Sharpe,
Maud Karpiles, and Lily Conant, dated from 1914-1926.
Series Series 2: Pinewoods Social Work Institute, 1940-1968
(0.5 cu. ft.)
Roger K. Conant hosted a yearly week-long retreat for social workers from
1940 through 1968.
|Pinewoods Institute for Leaders in Social Welfare Planning in New
R.K. Conant’s yearly social workers’ retreat took place at Pinewoods and
included lectures, dances, discussions, and presentations. It was hosted
by Themes included “Responsibility of Social Work Today,” “Human Values
Now and After The War”, “Our Expanding Communities and Human Welfare”,
and “Social Workers and Social Planning.” Materials include brochures,
lecture handouts, attendance lists, and organizational paperwork.
Series Series 3: Osborne, Storrow, and Conant Families, 1913-1997
(0.5 cu. ft.)
Research on Helen Osborne Storrow and Lily Roberts Conant collected by Ed
|Osborne, Storrow, and Conant Families, 1913-1997
Helen Osborne Storrow (1864-1944) was the Boston philanthropist who
funded the initial development of the Girl Scout Leaders camp and later
the dance camps at Pinewoods. Lily Roberts (1887-1973), born in England,
was one of the dance teachers recruited by Storrow to teach at the camp.
Roberts eventually married into the Conant family who owned the
neighboring camp to Pinewoods. This small series is rich in
correspondence, historical dance articles, personal memoirs, and
recollections of Elizabeth Conant-Burchell.
Series Series 4: Photographs, 1910-2006
(2 cu. ft.)
Photographs document the camp work crew, buildings, dance activities,
individuals, and many subjects. See also Oversize Box 2 for early Pinewoods
Several folders contain photographs and materials related to the camp
crew, young people hired to cook and otherwise manage day-to-day
operations at the camp between 1975 and 2004. Other photography subjects
include: hobby horses, Pinewoods Early Music Week, Pinewoods Folk Music
Week, and general camp activities. Photographers include Purdue Cleaver,
Robert Buckie, and Ken LaBarre.
Subjects include the aftermath of Hurricane Gloria (1985), Family Week,
Pinewoods mushrooms, boating, music classes, dances, and much else.
There is a fairly even representation across each decade. Photographers
include Mary Pulverman Judson, R.H. Buckie, Suzanne Szasz, Jaqueline
Schwab, and Ellen Chafee Tillinghast. A small amount of correspondence
and interviews are included where they directly relate to the photos in
Series Series 5: Pinewood Camp Financials, 1941-1995
(2 cu. ft.)
This series contains the financial records and correspondence related to
running Pinewoods camp between the years of 1941 and 1995. Pre-1941
materials are in Boxes 1-2 with the early Pinewoods history.
This box is roughly divided into sections: Financials pre-1970, 1970s,
1980s, and 1980s/1990s. Materials include ledgers, correspondence,
capital campaigns, petty cash records, camper tuitions, and the
Materials include the same type of items as in Box 5, with the addition
of salaries, budgets, and scattered other topics. This box contains ½
cubic foot of growth room.
Series Series 6: Girl Scout Leadership School, 1915-1960
(0.5 cu. ft.)
Photographs, correspondence, rosters, daily training logs, scrapbooks, and
the like provide a detailed narrative of the first Girl Scout Leadership
School in the country.
|Girl Scout Leadership School and Related Materials,
Pinewoods was the site of the first Girl Scout Leadership School in the
country, where young women spent the summer learning outdoors skills
such as orienteering, outdoor survival, crafts, song, and dance. Funded
by Helen Osborne Storrow, the camp ran from approximately 1916-1926.
Also included are supplementary materials related to other Girl Scout
camps and other camps in the area and correspondence with the national
Series Series 7: Programs and Camper Information, 1927-2007
(6.5 cu. ft.)
This series forms the bulk of the collection, and consists of material
related to individual camp sessions, such as Folk Music Week,
English-Scottish Week, Family Week, and others. Material is roughly
chronological by decade. Scattered material relates to the Pinewoods Morris
Men and ritual dance.
|Programs and Campers, 1920-1969
Country Dance Society-Boston Centre (CDS-BC), Pinewoods Morris Men (PMM),
Early Music Week, Chamber Music Week, etc. Some camper lists and oral
histories from camp volunteers are included.
|Programs and Campers, 1970-1989
CDS-BC, Scottish Week, English Scottish Week, 4th of July Weekend,
Environment Committee, sample schedules, brochures, correspondence,
American Dance Week, work files, master list of camp attendees, some
amount of financials.
|Programs and Campers (I), 1980-1989
Vendor Lists, CDS-BC, Correspondence, Work files, Housing, Scottish Week,
Family Week, English-Scottish Week, Early Music Week, Early Music Week,
Campers’ Week, scheduling, and the like.
|Programs and Campers (II), 1980-1989
Work files, jobs/housing, scholarship requests, English Dance Week,
American Dance Week, Folk Music Week, Pinewoods Revels, Campers’ Week,
and RSCDS/Scottish Week materials, etc.
|Programs and Campers, 1980-1999
This box is divided into two sections: 1980-1989 and 1990-1999. Both
contain English, Scottish, American, Folk, and other program week
information, as well as contracts, attendance lists, job assignments,
housing, scholarships, and user group contracts.
|Programs and Campers 1990-1999
Scottish, English, American, Folk Arts Center of New England, CDS-BC,
Labor Day Weekend, etc. camps. Also included is correspondence,
announcements, menus, contracts, attendance lists, and other
|Programs and Campers, 1997-2007
Campers and programs organized by year for the years 1997-1999 and
2000-2007. After 2000 the materials are mainly hard copies of the
Pinewoods Post Newsletter. This box contains ½ cubic foot of growth
Series Series 8: Oversize Materials, 1910-1999
(2 flat boxes)
Oversize materials from across the subject spectrum of the collection.
|Oversize Box 1|
|Large Paper Materials, 1910-1999
Large sized maps and deeds for the Pinewoods property, oversize Girl
Scout brochures, photographs, and posters.
|Oversize Box 2|
|Scrapbook and Teeshirt, 1939
This box contains an undated “Save Boatman” (a Pinewoods building)
teeshirt, as well as a fragile 1939 Pinewoods dance camp photo