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Dudley Laufman

Papers, 1962-1998

MC 107

4 boxes (1.5 cu.ft.)

About Dudley Laufman:

Dudley Laufman was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1930 and grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts. He first came to New Hampshire in 1947 to work at Mistwold Farm dairy in Fremont, where he stayed a few years before returning to Arlington. In 1952, he moved to Walpole, New Hampshire and then finally, in 1959, to Canterbury, where he still lives in a house named “Wind in the Timothy.”

Laufman has been actively involved in contradance for over 60 years as caller, musician, composer, band leader, teacher, and latterly, documenter of the work of older musicians. Ever since first being “bitten” by the dance bug in 1947 while living in Fremont and calling his first dance in Walpole, Massachusetts the following year, he has made contra dancing a central part of his life, with the result that his name, like that of Ralph Page before him (see The Ralph Page Collection), has become inextricably linked with contra dancing in New Hampshire. Peter Yarensky, editor of the Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter, and himself a dance caller, has said of Laufman that “at times [he] was the only one anywhere calling contra dancing to live music; it is fair to say that if it weren’t for Dudley we wouldn’t be dancing now.” Others have called him “the Johnny Appleseed of contra dancing.”

Laufman plays fiddle, accordion, concertina, melodeon, and harmonica, and has led the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra, a changing conglomeration of musicians, since 1965. In that year, what later became the core group of the Orchestra appeared at the Newport Folk Festival (though without a name). Later they appeared at the Fox Hollow Festival and the Club 47 and it was then that the name was adopted. It was at Fox Hollow in 1967 that the first of the Orchestra’s many recordings was made. “Chorus Jig”, the result of that recording session, was included on an anthology album called Clitter Clatter. Nowadays, the Orchestra performs only on an occasional basis. Since the late 1980s, Laufman has performed regularly for dances with Jacqueline Laufman (formerly Gilman) under the name “Two Fiddles“, both calling and playing music.

Dudley Laufman has been on the roster of the New Hampshire Artists-in-the-Schools program since 1978-79, teaching the state’s children contra dancing. He has also lately begun to record for posterity the playing and reminiscences of older contra dance musicians. Most recently, he has himself been the subject of recorded interviews.

Laufman has performed all over the United States and in Canada and has traveled to the British Isles and to Greece and Turkey with the Vermont Folkids. He is the author of a book on teaching dance, Okay, Let’s Try a Contra, and has written numerous books of poetry.

Liner notes from various Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra albums and “Balance and Swing” by Kathy Maddock, New Hampshire Profiles, September/October 1990.

About the Laufman collection:

The Dudley Laufman Manuscript Collection consists of correspondence, poetry and prose, dance books and notations by Laufman, flyers and materials from dances and pertaining to various Laufman and Canterbury Dance Orchestra recordings, clippings, and photographs.


A listing of recordings in the Dudley Laufman Collection, including LPs, 45s, cassettes, and videotapes of performances by the Canterbury Country Orchestra, Dudley Laufman solo, Two Fiddles, Ed Dauphinais, Don Braley, and Edson Cole can be found in an appendix to this finding aid.

Folder Listing:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Poetry and Prose works
  3. Dance Books and Notations by Laufman
  4. Flyers and Materials from Dances
  5. Material Pertaining to Laufman Recordings
  6. Clippings
  7. Miscellaneous
  8. Photographs
  9. Oversize Items
  10. Publications in the UNH Library

I. Correspondence
[see also Oversize Box 1]

f.1 Letters from Laufman.
f.2 Letters to Laufman – A.
f.3 Letters to Laufman – B.
f.4 Letters to Laufman – C.
f.5 Letters to Laufman – D-E.
f.6 Letters to Laufman – F.
f.7 Letters to Laufman – G-J.
f.8 Letters to Laufman – K-L.
f.9 Letters to Laufman – M.
f.10 Letters to Laufman – N-O.
f.11 Letters to Laufman – P-R.
f.12 Letters to Laufman – S.
f.13 Letters to Laufman – T-Z.
f.14 1984, May to December, correspondence of Marcia Wyman, manager, concerning scheduling for Laufman.
f.15 Thank you notes and cards for Laufman performances.
f.16 Thank you notes and cards for Laufman performances.
f.17 Unidentified (dated).
f.18 Unidentified (undated).
f.19 Unidentified (undated).

II. Poetry and Prose Works
[see also Oversize Box 1]

All privately printed unless otherwise noted.

f.20 1964. The Wolfhunters. Poems. Photocopy.
f.21 1964. “Tanu” and “On Growing Old.” Promotional leaflet with two revised poems from The Wolfhunters, (Concord, N.H.: Gibson’s Book Store).
f.22 1965. Wind in the Timothy. Poems. Photo Montage by Ken Williams. Photocopy.
f.23 1965. Cynthia. Songs and poems with photos by Ken Williams. Photocopy.

f.1 1965. “At Newport” and “After the Festival.” Broadside poems pertaining to the Newport Folk Festival. Photocopy.
f.2 1966. Beg of Foxes. Poems. (Concord, NH: Gibson’s Bookstore). Photocopy.
f.3 1967. Wee Herd’s Whistle. Poems. Chapbook. (Cabot, Vt.: Stoveside Press), Copy #6/200.
f.4 1971. Of the Fern. (With Patty Laufman). Prose poems with photos of Ireland. Photocopy.
f.5 1966. 1985. Mags. “A collection of all poems and stories that have appeared in small magazines and anthologies.” Photocopy.
f.6 1985. Dirtbagginit on Maui. Prose about an Hawaiian trip. Photocopy.
f.7 1985. Cow: The Tale of Rachael the Shorthorn. Photocopy.
f.8 1986. Kids. Poems about Laufman’s children; includes three poems by Heidi and a sketch by Nathaniel. Photocopy.
f.9 1987. “The Tornado Story.” Photocopy.
f.10 1987. “Mountain Laurel.” An account of a walk. Photocopy.
f.11 1987. Gaspard de la Nuit. Prose Poems by Aloysius Bertrand. Translated from the French by Dudley Laufman. Photocopy.
f.12 1988. “That Horse.” Poem with illustrations by Nathaniel Laufman, decorations by Jacqueline Gilman. Photocopy.
f.13 1989. Yer Goddam Right. The Alaska Trip. Sketches by Jacqueline Gilman. Photocopy.
f.14 Undated. “The Hayers.” Typescript.
f.15 Poem Fragments.
f.16 Poems by Others.

III. Dance Books and Notations by Laufman

f.17 1985. The Quebec Trips. Accounts of dances in the province of Quebec. Photocopy.
f.18 Undated. The Canterbury Set and Other Traditional New Hampshire Country Dances (Collected and adapted for children).
f.19 Notebook.
f.20 Sword Dance Tunes/1.
f.21 Sword Dance Tunes/2.
f.22 “Three Country Dances for Differently Abled Folks.”

IV. Flyers and Materials from Dances
[see also Oversize Box 1]

f.23 1962-73.
f.24 1977-80.
f.25 1981.
f.26 1982-84.
f.27 1985.
f.28 1985.

f.1 1986-89.
f.2 1990-94.
f.3 Undated.
f.4 Dance announcements and programs.
f.5 Dance contracts.
f.6 Miscellaneous scheduling material.
f.7 Miscellaneous dance announcements.

V. Material Pertaining to Laufman Recordings

f.8 Complete discography of Laufman recordings up to 1989 (prepared by Laufman).
f.9 Canterbury Capers.
f.10 Itinerant Musician’s License.
f.11 Dance contracts.
f.12 Mistwold.
f.13 Band and record promotional material.

VI. Clippings

f.14 1957-79.
f.15 1980-89.
f.16 1990-94.
f.17 Undated.

VII. Miscellaneous

f.18 Grant applications.
f.19 Catalogs (Roundhouse Records, Rounder Records, CDSS).
f.20 Various newsletters, calling cards, obituaries, etc.
f.21 Expense sheets, mailing lists, scraps, notes, etc.

VIII. Photographs

A. Of or including Laufman

e.1 B&w 8×10 print: Seated, playing fiddle, ca. early 1960s (photo taken by Ken Williams, Canterbury NH).
e.2 B&w 8×10 print: Playing accordion with other musicians at a dance, late 1960s? (photo taken by Wendy MacNeil).
e.1 B&w 5×7 print: Seated at a microphone and playing accordion, 1960s [negative available].
e.2 B&w 5×7 print: Seated holding fiddle, three-quarter profile, ca. 1960s.
e.3 B&w 5×7 print: Standing, playing accordion, with Fred Breunig on fiddle (1973?).
e.4 B&w 5×7 print: The lineup for Swinging On A Gate (1974): Pete Colby, Bob McQuillen, Art Bryan, Laufman, April Limber, and Deanna Stiles.
e.5 B&w 5×7 print: Seated, playing accordion (1974?).
e.6 B&w 5×7 print: Seated with concertina, teaching children (1970s?) (photo taken by Richard Nevell).
e.7 B&w 5×7 print: Standing playing fiddle while children dance in a blur of motion (1976?).
e.8 B&w 3×5 print: Laufman (barely pictured playing accordion), Jack Perron (fiddle), and unidentified musician playing recorder (1960s?)
e.9 B&w 3×5 print: Laufman, in profile with accordion (1970s?).
e.10 Color 3×5 print: Laufman playing fiddle, 1976.
e.11 Color 3×5 print: Laufman teaching children, 1976.
e.12 Color 3×5 print: Laufman teaching children (another shot), 1976.
e.13 B&w 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 print: Laufman and wife Patty, March 1979.
e.14 Color 3×5 print: Laufman playing accordion, outside – at Wind in the Timothy, 1980s?
e.14 Color slide of e.12.

B. Of Others

e.1 B&w 3×3 print: Ralph Page and three others at a party.
e.2 B&w 3×5 print: Unidentified musicians playing violin and double bass outdoors, with third person holding music (?), 1940s?
e.3 Color 3×5 print: Children in a circle dance, 1976 [see e.11 and e.12 above].
e.4 B&w 3×5 print: Unidentified people congregated around a car, 1940s or 1950s.
e.5 B&w 5×7 print: Fred Breunig (rear shot) playing fiddle, 1973? (b&w 5×7).
e.6 B&w 3×5 print: Unidentified musicians playing violin and double bass outdoors, dressed in white shirts and ties, n.d.
e.7 B&w 5×8: Print of a Breughel painting, with note: “Dudley and Patty Dance.”.
e.8 B&w 5×8: Print of a Georgian-era dance, with note: “CDSS Dance.”.

IX. Oversize Items

I. Correspondence
Oversize thank you notes and cards for Laufman performances.

II. Poetry and prose works
Autographed dance and music program.
1982. The Sweets of May. Broadside. Designed, printed and illustrated by Randy Miller. Taken from A Dancing Master’s Diary. Signed by the author and the illustrator.
1985. Trip to Turkey: An Informal Journal. Photocopy.

IV. Programs/Flyers
Broadside flyers.

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