Skip to Content
Special Home > Guide to Dudley Laufman Papers, 1962-1998

Guide to Dudley Laufman Papers, 1962-1998

Collection number: MC 107

Size: 4 boxes (1.50 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 Dudley Laufman Papers

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.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Dudley Laufman Papers, 1962-1998, MC 107, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donation: Dudley Laufman, 1991-1994 (Accession numbers: 912; 9108, 94.007, 94.021, 94.035, 94.039)

Related Material

Catalogued materials in this collection include 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. The list can be found here.

Collection Contents

Series I: Correspondence

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

Series II: Poetry and Prose Works, 1964-1989

All materials were privately printed unless otherwise noted.

Box 1, Folder 20 1964. The Wolfhunters. Poems. Photocopy.
Box 1, Folder 21 1964. “Tanu” and “On Growing Old.” Promotional leaflet with two revised poems from The Wolfhunters, (Concord, N.H.: Gibson’s Book Store).
Box 1, Folder 22 1965. Wind in the Timothy. Poems. Photo Montage by Ken Williams. Photocopy.
Box 1, Folder 23 1965. Cynthia. Songs and poems with photos by Ken Williams. Photocopy.
Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1 1965. “At Newport” and “After the Festival.” Broadside poems pertaining to the Newport Folk Festival. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 2 1966. Beg of Foxes. Poems. (Concord, NH: Gibson’s Bookstore). Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 3 1967. Wee Herd’s Whistle. Poems. Chapbook. (Cabot, Vt.: Stoveside Press), Copy #6/200.
Box 2, Folder 4 1971. Of the Fern. (With Patty Laufman). Prose poems with photos of Ireland. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 5 1966. 1985. Mags. “A collection of all poems and stories that have appeared in small magazines and anthologies.” Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 6 1985. Dirtbagginit on Maui. Prose about an Hawaiian trip. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 7 1985. Cow: The Tale of Rachael the Shorthorn. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 8 1986. Kids. Poems about Laufman’s children; includes three poems by Heidi and a sketch by Nathaniel. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 9 1987. “The Tornado Story.” Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 10 1987. “Mountain Laurel.” An account of a walk. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 11 1987. Gaspard de la Nuit. Prose Poems by Aloysius Bertrand. Translated from the French by Dudley Laufman. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 12 1988. “That Horse.” Poem with illustrations by Nathaniel Laufman, decorations by Jacqueline Gilman. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 13 1989. Yer Goddam Right. The Alaska Trip. Sketches by Jacqueline Gilman. Photocopy.
Box 2, Folder 14 Undated. “The Hayers.” Typescript.
Box 2, Folder 15 Poem Fragments
Box 2, Folder 16 Poems by Others

Series III: Dance Books and Notations by Laufman

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

Series IV: Flyers and Materials from Dances, 1962-1994

Box 2, Folder 23 1962-1973
Box 2, Folder 24 1977-1980
Box 2, Folder 25 1981
Box 2, Folder 26 1982-1984
Box 2, Folder 27 1985
Box 2, Folder 28 1985
Box 3
Box 3, Folder 1 1986-1989
Box 3, Folder 2 1990-1994
Box 3, Folder 3 Undated
Box 3, Folder 4 Dance announcements and programs
Box 3, Folder 5 Dance contracts
Box 3, Folder 6 Miscellaneous scheduling material
Box 3, Folder 7 Miscellaneous dance announcements

Series V: Material Pertaining to Laufman Recordings

Box 3, Folder 8 Complete discography of Laufman recordings up to 1989 (prepared by Laufman)
Box 3, Folder 9 Canterbury Capers
Box 3, Folder 10 Itinerant Musician’s License
Box 3, Folder 11 Dance contracts
Box 3, Folder 12 Mistwold
Box 3, Folder 13 Band and record promotional material

Series VI: Clippings, 1957-1994

Box 3, Folder 14 1957-1979
Box 3, Folder 15 1980-1989
Box 3, Folder 16 1990-1994
Box 3, Folder 17 Undated

Series VII: Miscellaneous

Box 3, Folder 18 Grant applications
Box 3, Folder 19 Catalogs (Roundhouse Records, Rounder Records, CDSS)
Box 3, Folder 20 Various newsletters, calling cards, obituaries, etc.
Box 3, Folder 21 Expense sheets, mailing lists, scraps, notes, etc.

Series VIII: Photographs

Subseries A: Of or Including Laufman

Box 3, Folder 22
Envelope 1 B&W 8×10 print: Seated, playing fiddle, ca. early 1960s (photo taken by Ken Williams, Canterbury NH)
Envelope 2 B&W 8×10 print: Playing accordion with other musicians at a dance, late 1960s? (photo taken by Wendy MacNeil)
Box 3, Folder 23
Envelope 1 B&W 5×7 print: Seated at a microphone and playing accordion, 1960s [negative available]
Envelope 2 B&W 5×7 print: Seated holding fiddle, three-quarter profile, ca. 1960s
Envelope 3 B&W 5×7 print: Standing, playing accordion, with Fred Breunig on fiddle (1973?)
Envelope 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
Envelope 5 B&W 5×7 print: Seated, playing accordion (1974?)
Envelope 6 B&W 5×7 print: Seated with concertina, teaching children (1970s?) (photo taken by Richard Nevell)
Envelope 7 B&W 5×7 print: Standing playing fiddle while children dance in a blur of motion (1976?)
Envelope 8 B&W 5×7 print: Laufman (barely pictured playing accordion), Jack Perron (fiddle), and unidentified musician playing recorder (1960s?)
Envelope 9 B&W 5×7 print: Laufman, in profile with accordion (1970s?)
Envelope 10 B&W 5×7 print: Laufman playing fiddle, 1976
Envelope 11 B&W 5×7 print: Laufman teaching children, 1976
Envelope 12 B&W 5×7 print: Laufman teaching children (another shot), 1976
Envelope 13 B&W 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 print: Laufman and wife Patty, March 1979
Envelope 14 Color 3×5 print: Laufman playing accordion, outside – at Wind in the Timothy, 1980s?
Envelope 15 Color slide of e.12

Subseries B: Of Others

Box 3, Folder 24
Envelope 1 B&W 3×3 print: Ralph Page and three others at a party
Envelope 2 B&W 3×5 print: Unidentified musicians playing violin and double bass outdoors, with third person holding music (?), 1940s?
Envelope 3 Color 3×5 print: Children in a circle dance, 1976 [see e.11 and e.12 above]
Envelope 4 B&W 3×5 print: Unidentified people congregated around a car, 1940s or 1950s
Envelope 5 B&W 5×7 print: Fred Breunig (rear shot) playing fiddle, 1973?
Envelope 6 B&W 3×5 print: Unidentified musicians playing violin and double bass outdoors, dressed in white shirts and ties, n.d.
Envelope 7 B&W 5×8: Print of a Breughel painting, with note: “Dudley and Patty Dance”
Envelope 8 B&W 5×8: Print of a Georgian-era dance, with note: “CDSS Dance”

Series IX: Oversize Items

Subseries A: Correspondence

Oversize Box 1
Oversize thank you notes and cards for Laufman performances

Subseries B: Poetry and Prose Works

Oversize Box 1
Oversize Box 1, Item 1 Autographed dance and music program
Oversize Box 1, Item 2 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.
Oversize Box 1, Item 3 1985. Trip to Turkey: An Informal Journal. Photocopy.

Subseries C: Flyers and Materials from Dances

Oversize Box 1
Broadside flyers