American Morris Newsletter  

American Morris Newsletter

Volume 25, Number 4
December, 2005

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 AMN Article  

Morris Dancing And America 
Prior to 1913

Rhett Krause, M.D.

Rhett and CDSS have kindly allowed us to reproduce his two articles, which originally appeared in two parts in Country Dance and Song (, v. 21, 1991, and v. 22, 1992. We have scanned in the articles from the original journals, OCR'd them, combined them, reformatted the notes so that they would be in keeping with AMN notes in other articles, renumbered the notes, and dropped in the images where indicated as inline graphic images. Needless to say, any errors with the transcription are ours. All images and captions are scanned directly from the issues.

The article is reproduced in toto (although what it's doing in a dog, we'll never know). Many, many thanks go out to the graciousness of Rhett and CDSS.

This article consists of American accounts of Morris dancing. It is limited to the years before the arrival of Claude Wright, one of Cecil Sharp's Morris instructors, in 1913. The stories of Wright, Sharp, and the founding of the American branch of the English Folk Dance Society (later CDS) are left for the future. Significant contributions to this article were made by Fred Fuller who first showed me the Irving quotations, Bob Borcherding who sent me the Director article, Jim Brickwedde, Vida Olinick, Dorothy Kosek, and Cicely Joslyn. Their generosity is very much appreciated.

The Cotswold Morris in England Prior to 1913

Morris was a common event in England at the time of the exploration of America. The "Cotswold" Morris survived and flourished in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, and Northamptonshire through the 18th and early 19th centuries, but was in decline by the latter part of the 19th century.*1 Early revivals of defunct teams included Bidford in 1886 and Headington in 1897.*2 Yet Cotswold Morris was a rare event in the first years of this century, with dancing limited to Bampton, Chipping Campden, Abingdon, Headington, Eynsham, and Bidford.*3

The revival boomed in popularity beginning in 1905, initially through the efforts of Mary Neal and her Esperance Club for working girls. Learning of the existence of the Headington men from Cecil Sharp, Neal began to collect and teach Morris throughout England. She was soon joined by Sharp, and the two initially worked together in harmony. Sharp and Herbert MacIlwaine, the musical director of the Esperance Club, co-authored The Morris Book in 1907, dedicating it "to our friends and pupils, the members of the Esperance Girls Club."*4

The collaboration of Neal and Sharp gradually deteriorated into bitter rivalry. Neal had a populist, romantic view of the revival, believing she was returning to the English people a therapeutic part of their national heritage, leading to "a reawakening of that part of our national conscience which makes for wholeness, saneness, and healthy merriment."*5 She feared Sharp's more academic approach would stifle the movement. The difference between Sharp's views and her own were "the difference between...the pedant and those in touch with life itself."*6 Sharp was appalled at perceived inaccuracies and lack of standards of the Esperance dancers, and feared this would trivialize and eventually kill the revival. He wrote to Neal that he was "better acquainted with the subject than yourself and animated by higher artistic ideals than your own." Esperance-taught dancers were "rank philistines and enemies of the movement and must be so regarded."*7

The two arch-rivals continued their teaching and collecting, each with some success. Neal would soon publish The Esperance Morris Book (Part 1), and in 1910 her Esperance Guild of Morris Dancers was given the prestigious position of conducting the first annual summer school at Stratford-on-Avon. Meanwhile, Sharp would publish The Morris Book, Part Two, and was asked to head a School of Morris Dancing to train schoolteachers. These early efforts of Sharp and Neal have been described elsewhere in detail.*8 This was the state of the Morris revival in England in 1910, when Mary Neal was invited to bring the Morris to America.

Morris Dancing in Newfoundland in 1589?

The first Morris dancing in America may have occurred in Newfoundland during the ill-fated second voyage of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the half brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. Gilbert set sail in June 1583 in five ships (the Delight, Raleigh, Golden Hinde, Swallow, and Sparrow) in an attempt to establish the first permanent English colony in the New World. Edward Haies, captain of the Golden Hinde, records: "Besides for solace of our people, and allurement of the Savages, we were provided of Musike in good variety not omitting the least toyes, as Morris dancers, Hobby horses, and Maylike conceits to delight the Savage people, whom we intended to winne by all faire means possible."*9 Unfortunately, there is no mention of the dances actually having been performed. Indeed, the would-be Morris dancers may never have left sight of Great Britain, as the Raleigh, by far the largest ship, sailed back after only two days, the crew claiming illness.

Gilbert arrived in St. John's, Newfoundland, then a colony of fishermen, in August. The historian Samuel Eliot Morison writes "Ashore the Morris dancers, hobby horses, and jack o' the greens cavorted, to the delight of the fishermen, many of whom joined in." This has been cited as an account of the first American Morris.*10 However, it seems to be merely Morison's conjecture of what might have taken place. Haies makes no mention of dancing at St. John's, nor is dancing mentioned in two surviving letters written at St. John's. The Morris was certainly not performed for the "Savages," as no Native Americans were at St. John's. While there may have been Morris dancing in Newfoundland that year, it remains speculation. In any event, this may have proved the last tour for many of the dancers as the Delight and the Sparrow were soon lost with great loss of life, including Gilbert.*11

American Influence on the 19th-Century English Morris

Long before the "traditional" English Morris dances had been recorded, they had been influenced to some extent by popular American culture. At least three English Morris tunes have American origins. The Bampton tune "Bobbing Around" was written in 1856 by William Jermyn Florence (1831-1891), an American composer of popular song. The Catalogue of the British Library lists a copy of this, already printed in London by 1856, over 50 years before it was collected by Sharp. Next is the Headington tune "Getting Upstairs." The original version ("Such a Getting Upstairs") was written and composed sometime in the early 1830's by Joe Blackburn for blackface performers. The song travelled to England with American minstrel shows, and versions were soon published in London. Five decades later, Percy Manning would record a variant of the chorus as one of the songs of the Headington men:

Such a getting upstairs and playing on the fiddle, 
Such a getting upstairs I never did see.

Years later the music and dance "Getting Upstairs" were collected by Sharp. Finally, there is "Buffalo Girls," another American minstrel show tune. Joe Trafford, the Headington squire, had heard it played by a military band and taught it to the team musician, with "Buffalo Gals" becoming one of the Headington men's tunes.*12

Minstrel shows were extremely popular in England from 1843 until the first years of this century, and their effects on British folk culture are not limited to the few Morris tunes listed above. Tess Buckland has recently demonstrated the connection between minstrel shows and 19th century English coconut dance teams, including the on-going Bacup Britannaia Coconut Dancers (founded 1857). Possible influences of American minstrel shows are also seen in border Morris. In contrast to their Cotswold Morris contemporaries, the great majority of border Morris dancers blacked up. This often included blacking of the hands, which would seem unnecessary if disguise were the exclusive intent. At Brimfield, some dancers had patches of white paint about the eyes, likely in imitation of G.H. Chirgwin, "the white-eyed kaffir," a popular British minstrel show performer. Musical instruments frequently included the tambourine and bones, the traditional instruments of the minstrel show "endmen." Buckland believes that in the border Morris, "the melodies, words, and musical instruments of [blackface] minstrels were combined with an already existing tradition of annual street dancing."*13

It is most commonly thought that the origin and function of black-face in Morris dancing lies in primitive disguise rather than an imitation of black men. However, this is not definitely the case. Accounts of the Morris of Shakespeare's time make no mention of blackface, while the border teams contemporary with minstrel shows typically blacked up. American minstrel shows, if not the actual origin of black face among Morris dancers, at least contributed to its popularity.

Morris Dancing on Broadway:1861

A New York City poster advertises a Morris dance as part of a minstrel show given at the American Concert Hall at 444 Broadway. I have been able to date this as February or March 1861. The American arranger of the dance, Harry Leslie (1837-1876), had been previously associated with minstrel shows as musician, dancer, and manager, and had run a New York City dance academy in 1856. The nine female dancers were American professional dancers and actresses whose names frequently appear in Annals of the New York Stage. Mary Blake seems to have been particularly popular. In addition, through her marriages to Billy Quinn (1837-1863) and Bobby Newcomb (1847-1888) she was wife of two of the most prominent professional American clog dancers of the time.*14

Contemporary with this Broadway performance, some form of "Morris dancing" by professional performers was regularly seen on the English stage. Few details are known of the choreography. Roy Judge has recently named this phenomenon "theatrical Morris" and has discovered 50 references to it between 1821 and 1870.*15 Leslie's dance may have been inspired by these English performances, but this is mere speculation.

Morris Music in America

In the years prior to 1913, four pieces of sheet music involving Morris dancing were published in the U.S. The earliest of these is "The Morris Dancers" by an American named Glenville Dean Wilson (1833-1897), printed in Boston in 1878 (see The Morris Dancers in this issue). Next is "Morris Dance" by Sir Alexander MacKenzie (1847-1935) printed in New York and London in 1899. The third work is "Morris Dance" by Harry Ernest Warner, printed in Philadelphia in 1904. Finally, "Mock Morris" by Percy Grainger (1882-1961) was printed in 1911 in New York, Boston, and London. None of the four pieces resembles any Morris tune familiar to me, and they are most likely original works of professional composers. Indeed, Grainger makes it clear that his is an original work: "The rhythmic cast of 'Mock Morris' somewhat resembles traditional English Morris tunes...though no actual tunes were made use of. The piece was prompted by the motto: 'Always merry and bright." Four additional pieces of "Morris dance" sheet music were printed in the U.S. later in this century.*16

A Painting of the Eynsham Morris Men

For many years, a 1903 painting of the Eynsham Morris men has been in Farmington Connecticut. It was collected by Alfred Pope (1842-1913) whose private home and art collection are now the Hill-Stead Museum. The artist is Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949), a prominent English painter of his time. Nicholson painted this work based on photos he took in
1901 -- he made the gate twice its proper size, for effect. Nicholson spent part of his childhood in Woodstock, the location of the Duke of Marlborough's massive residence at Blenheim Palace where the Eynsham men danced each year. Nicholson lived in Woodstock from 1897 to 1903, and during this time did a series of paintings of the Eynsham men. His son Tony (b. 1897) became a part of the team: "And in another two years time, Tony was up on his sturdy legs, big enough to wear the little smock made for him by Mabel (Nicholson), to have a red and white spotted bandana knitted around his neck and to ride the ass with garlanded neck and beribboned tail which accompanied the Morris dancers. It was Tony, with his round, smiling face, who took round the hat for their collections, and who, at some moment in the dance, high in the air, up above their heads."*17 The Hill-Stead's painting, "Morris Dancers at the Gates of Blenheim Park (Figure 2) shows figures dwarfed by the massive Blenheim gate; the young boy carrying the inflated pig's bladder is presumably Ben Nicholson, his son.

Morris Dancers at the Gates of Blenheim Park by William Nicholson [1903]. (Courtesy of the Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, Connecticut.)


American References to the Traditional Cotswold Morris in England

Two American magazine articles describe the Morris of the traditional Cotswold village teams, by Max Beerbohm and 0. L. Hatcher, respectively. Sir Max Beerbohm (1872-1956), famous English essayist and a lifelong friend of William Nicholson, described his impressions of the Eynsham men dancing at Woodstock in Harper's Magazine in 1907 and illustrated his article with four of Nicholson's paintings. This was reprinted in England in 1923 as part of Yet Again, a collection of his essays. In his essay, "A Morris for Mayday", Beerbohm describes the dancing, including an incident in which a honking automobile drives through a set of dancers, demoralizing them (possibly the first instance of an event well known to current sides). In his Harper's essay, Beerbohm believes that much of the beauty of the Morris lies in the village tradition, and that it would be better off vanished than revived by outsiders: "I hope it will be held sacred to those in whom it will be a tradition--a familiar thing handed down from father to son. None but they would be worthy of it. Others would ruin it." His position is stated most strongly in his last paragraph: "I would make no effort to conserve them.... If this dance cannot live without desecration, let it die". In Yet Again, Beerbohm alters his essay significantly by rewriting the final paragraph. "Long may the Morris linger," he writes, "even at the expense of being danced by aesthetic ladies and gentlemen." This softening of views is likely related to the popularity of the Morris revival.*18

The second American reference to Morris is by 0. L. Hatcher and appears in The Nation. The informant is a Warwickshire man who had danced the Morris as a boy near Stratford around 1870. A brief description of the dancing is given, including the presence of a hobby horse carrying an inflated pig's bladder, and a fiddler for a musician. Their kit included, "smocks, top hats, knee britches with bells at their knees, and ribbons crossed on their legs and arms." The informant describes nine Morris men dancing in a circle. To my knowledge, this is the sole reference to a nine-man Cotswold Morris dance. The use of nine men is supported by two of the Morris songs recorded by the author:

Nine men in a circle doth stand, 
Each one ready to clasp in hand...


We nine men, bold and sound 
We'll amuse you, round your town.

A total of 77 lines of verse were taken from the informant. These include a short song apparently associated with the custom of requesting a token of appreciation from the audience in exchange for the dancing:

A stick or a stake
For King George's sake. 
I pray thee old dame 
Give us a faggot or two, 
And if not, we'll take two 
As us used to do.

The First American Morris Book-1910

In 1910, The Morris Dance: Descriptions of Eleven Dances as Performed by the Morris Men of England by Josephine Brower was published in New York by the H. W. Gray Company. This book is very similar to Sharp and MacIlwaine's The Morris Book, Part One of 1907, containing the same eight Headington and three Bidford dances. The author notes that the dance descriptions were taken with the permission of Sharp and MacIlwaine. The New York publisher is noted to be an agent for Novello and Co., Ltd., of London, publisher of the Morris Book.

This book is an all-but-forgotten curiosity and a bit of a mystery. It is not clear to me why this book was published. Why did the authors and publishers of the Morris Book allow essentially the same information to be published under another title, rather than distributing the original work? Also, for what audience was this book intended? While there was an active folk dance movement at that time in America, the first Morris dancers would not arrive until the end of 1910.

How the Morris Came to America

America had been primed for the introduction of Morris dancing in 1910 by a recent interest in folk dance. This was encouraged by the Playground Association of America, founded in 1907 with President Roosevelt as honorary president. In a 1908 essay, Dr. Luther Henry Gulick, president of the association, described this revival and its rationale. Folk dancing for children was seen as filling a social and developmental void caused by the rapid pace of the modern world. In 1907, folk dance was introduced to the New York school system as part of Physical Education (two years before Morris dancing was accepted in English schools). In this city of many immigrants, folk dance was felt to have the additional effect of maintaining children's pride in their national heritage, while breaking down racism between immigrant groups. The revival grew to include competitions between schools and huge outdoor displays.

Folk dance was also perceived as beneficial to adults. Helen Storrow (later director of EFDS Boston Center and provider of the of the land for Pinewoods camp) saw a particular benefit to stressed urban working women. In a 1911 address, she even anticipated "industrial league" Morris competitions: "I look forward to the day when the ribbon counter of the Jordan Marsh Company will dance the ribbon counter of Filene's, and the floorwalkers of Macy's will compete at 'Shepherd's Hey' with the floorwalkers of Altman's for a trophy offered by those famous houses."*20

To understand the introduction of Morris to America, we must introduce four other women: a Danish-born ballerina--Adeline Genee, a New York City writer--Emily Burbank, and two Londoners--Mary Neal, and her colleague Florence Warren. Adeline Genee (1878-1970) was an extraordinarily popular ballerina in both Europe and America. From 1897 to 1907 at one London theatre alone, she was the leading ballerina in 20 different ballets. Emily M. Burbank (born c. 1869) was a professional writer and an acquaintance of Genee's. Among her works was a series of three articles on woman artists for Putnam's Magazine, including a 1908 article on Genee which described her as "the greatest dancer the world has seen for half a century." In 1909 Burbank had been travelling throughout eastern Europe studying folk music and dance and in July was in London to lecture on her findings. There she met Genee, who invited Burbank to a fundraising exhibition by the Esperance dancers. This was Burbank's first exposure to Morris dancing, and she would soon invite Mary Neal to come to America to introduce the Morris there. Neal agreed to a three-month trip and chose Florence Warren to accompany her as dance instructor.*21

Florrie Warren (b. 1886) for years had been the leading dancer of the Esperance Guild. MacIlwaine noted the steps for The Morris Book, Part One from her dancing, and she was to write the dance descriptions for both of the Esperance Morris books. By all accounts, Warren was a gifted dancer and teacher with a charming personality. Maud Karpeles found her "exuberant and vital." The Times of London described her dancing "as wonderful in its way as anything accomplished by the world famous artists of the ballet. In her trim blue dress, simple white apron, and blue sunbonnet she personifies the grace-in-beauty of English girlhood." Warren was the obvious choice for Neal. She had spent the past five years travelling throughout England, instructing diverse groups such as the urban poor, school teachers, and the children of wealthy Lords and Ladies. She had met several of the traditional dancers and had been the chief instructor at Stratford-on-Avon in 1910. Neal and Warren set sail from Liverpool aboard the SS Arabic on December 3, 1910, and arrived in New York eight days later. Immigration records show that they were to stay at Emily Burbank's home at 137 East 73rd Street.*22

Four days after arriving in this country, Neal and Warren were featured in an article in The New York Tribune. The next month, a larger illustrated article appeared in The New York Times. Brief histories of the Morris dance and of the Esperance Club are recounted. The theories of the origins of the Morris current in 1910 were dominated by the perception of Morris as a survival of a pre-Christian ritual. Neal describes the Kirtlington Lamb Ale to both newspapers, with the Lady of that event originally the subject of a human sacrifice, and later coming to represent the Virgin Mary in a miracle play. A later American magazine article notes "Women dance the Morris without prejudice now, tho in the earliest times their presence was permitted only as a Druid sacrifice."*23

Neal's populist views of the Morris dance are evident in these articles, as is a very thinly disguised attack on Cecil Sharp, printed in The New York Times article: "(the dances) are not an entertainment given by a few highly trained exhibitors while the rest stand around and stare. The point is that the whole people join in. It is an eminently democratic thing and can live only as long as it preserves this spirit. The introduction of pedantry, of sophisticated art, would utterly kill the movement." At this time Neal also felt that Sharp had been in contact with Americans concerning Morris dancing and she is clearly bitter, writing back to England: "Cecil Sharp has done his best to poison people's minds over here. But we are here and he is not!... I do not think he will ever come now.*24

One intriguing comment in the Tribune article suggests that some Americans were already Morris dancing by 1910: "Miss Neal says that she does not see how the English peasant dances hitherto taught in America can be genuine, for she is sure that she was the first to dig them out from the byways of the mother country." The nature and source of these "English peasant dances" are not known to me.

Upon arriving in New York, Warren was given the responsibility of training three sides of Morris dancers for a major display in nine days: the annual Christmas Festival of the MacDowell Club, to be held 20 December 1910 at the ballroom of the Hotel Plaza, "one of the season's brilliant events." Accounts of the event briefly mention the "merry troop of Morris dancers." Neal was quite pleased with the show, writing back to the Esperance Guild's music director Clive Carey about Warren's "wonderful debut" where she danced "with distinguished artists of all sorts, won everyone's hearts, and had a glorious time at the ball after." Writing from New York in February 1911, Neal mentions that the dancers in the first show were members of the MacDowell Club. Warren probably gave several other New York City performances that winter, although I can only find specific references to two of them.*25

Neal and Warren next began to teach Morris to school teachers, with one goal being to have a side available to illustrate lectures. Three photos from these early days in New York City are preserved in the New York Public Library. They were used to illustrate a magazine article on the Morris dance in America published March 1911 in New York City.*26

Florrie Warren and her New York Morris dancers; taken between 12/11/10 and 3/4/11. The woman with long braids who appears in both of these photos is Warren. (Courtesy of the New York Public Library Performing Arts Research Center, Lincoln Center).

Mary Neal traveled to Boston that winter and gave a lecture on Morris dancing to the Twentieth Century Club. Several sources suggest that Warren taught Morris in the Boston area sometime between February and April of 1911, although no details are available. Certainly by April 26, Helen Storrow and the Women's Athletic Association were able to sponsor an exhibition of international folk dance that included the Morris dances "Rigs 0' Marlow," " Bean Setting," and "Shepherd's Hey."*27

At about this time, Adeline Genee arrived in New York to perform in a duet, "The Dryad," limited to single performances at Carnegie Hall on May 4 1911, and at Boston's Colonial Theatre the following day, as she was due back in London for the festivities surrounding the coronation of George V. Genee invited Warren and her dancers to share the stage and billing with her, an incredibly generous offer by this international star, especially since the Morris dancers had, at most, five months' experience. The reviews of these performances naturally concentrate on the efforts of Genee, with very brief mention of Warren's troupe. The Boston Globe was favorably impressed by the "jocund and blithesome...four pairs of Morris dancers." The Boston Herald critic was less kind, sniffing, "these dancers, so called, hopped and skipped about and were applauded. A little of this sort of thing goes a long way." Back in London, The Times noted "the kind courtesy of Adeline Genee (whom we all adore...), who refused to take precedence over Florence Warden (sic), the mistress of the Esperance Club dancers, when they met on a New York stage, and the one helped the other to extend the revival of English folk dancing to America." This same article predicts that "We may yet hear of a "side" of American Morris-men, multi-millionaires every one, dancing the Processional Morris down Wall Street."*28

Carnegie Hall Program of May 4, 1911. (Courtesy of Carnegie Hall).

Warren next traveled to Hartford, Connecticut with several of her New York dancers. Over ten days, they instructed approximately 40 Hartford residents. Their efforts culminated in a May 20 exhibition at 21 Woodland Street, home of Archibald Welch, a prominent insurance executive and future President of Phoenix Mutual. Warren gave solo demonstrations of the Somerset step dance and the jig "Jockie to the Fair." The remainder of the program included six Morris dances, two social dances, five children's games, and three folksongs.*29

From Hartford, Warren traveled to Albany, New York for one of her greatest successes. Mary Neal had lectured in Albany that February. Neal's lecture and word of Warren's success in New York and Boston led to her being hired for two weeks. The Knickerbocker Press ran a formal portrait of Warren and a description of her first classes. The number of willing school children and teachers was so large that they were divided into three separate sections, each of a more "manageable" 48 dancers. Warren's teaching was so well received that on June 1, she was hired for another four weeks with up to 200 additional students expected. The goal of these classes was a massive display of Morris dancing as part of the Fourth of July celebrations in Albany. At that time, there was a national campaign to promote a "safe and sane" holiday, and the Morris was considered a safe alternative to the large firecrackers and firing of guns that led to an appalling death rate each year. During these four weeks, the students were almost exclusively public school girls. The (Albany) Times Union notes, "The unbounded enthusiasm which these pretty dances have aroused in the young people who will take part has surprised even...the chairman of the committee. Miss Warren has so imbued them with terpsichorean spirit that several families have been obliged to remain in town over the Fourth in contravention of summer home plans, that the youngsters may take part." A dress rehearsal was held July 1, with 200 girls representing eight different schools. On the Fourth itself, despite 104-degree heat, "the feature of the day's events was easily the Morris....Arrangements were excellent and an immense crowd was able to see the pretty dances. Everywhere was heard expressions of approval." At the conclusion of the display,it was hoped that Morris dancing would become an annual part of Albany's Fourth of July festivities. Morris did indeed appear in the 1912 celebrations. The Times Union lists the names of 68 girls and 16 boys who danced "How Do You Do, Sir?" and 17 girls who danced "Princess Royal." Whether or not the tradition continued in other years is not known to me.*30

I have yet to find accounts of Warren's dancing activities after Albany. She is believed to have taught in Chicago sometime before 1915, according to Brown and Boyd in Old English and American Games, but details are not available. On Valentine's Day, 1912, Warren married Arthur H. Brown, an American, at the New York City home of Emily Burbank. On the same page as her New York Times wedding announcement is an article describing Morris dancing at the Waldorf Astoria ballroom, indicating her success in bringing the Morris to this country. In 1915, Florence Warren Brown co-authored a book on children's games. Otherwise, all that is currently known about her later life is that she and her husband were alive and well in 1937, when, celebrating their 25th anniversary, they sailed to England. Events there included a reunion of the Esperance dancers with Mary Neal, where Warren and others danced "Jockie to the Fair" for old times sake.*31

While Warren was finding success in America, Mary Neal was back in England, witnessing a steady shift of fortune away from her and toward her arch rival, Cecil Sharp. In June 1911, control of Morris dancing at Stratford-on-Avon was taken from her and given to Sharp. Her dancing activities ceased in 1914 with the onset of war, and she was not directly involved in Morris again up to her death in 1944. Mary Neal does appear one more time in American newspapers. This was in 1913, at a time when society was scandalized by dance innovations such as the turkey trot and the tango. Helen Storrow, among others, thought the turkey trot should be banned. New dances were invented and old dances revived as substitutes for these unacceptable innovations. The New York Times quotes one instructor who sought to replace the tango with the highland fling: "Men of character are glad to quit the tango for a substitute that gives them the enjoyment of music and muscular exercise. The tango leads to reversion to type and savagery. It is the human race returning to the barbaric revels of our half wild ancestors. It is the law of evolution turned back upon itself." Against this backdrop, Mary Neal offered her advice to the New York Times. First she states that she had never seen the turkey trot "danced so disgustingly" as at a recent English ball, where the dance had to be stopped to restore decency. Then she offers more acceptable alternatives. While the Morris would not be a good substitute for the tango, "I have heard it said that the sword dance would make a charming figure in a cotillion." Neal then goes on to push strongly Playford dances as tango substitutes. Not only are they graceful, social, and flirtatious, but "There is no hugging in them.... In some there is kissing, which can, of course, be easily omitted."*32

(Conclusion of Part I)

Prior to the 1905 revival of Morris dancing in England, some Americans had at least a rudimentary understanding that Morris dancing existed, most likely from old literary references.*33 Professional dancers created their version of a "Morris dance" on Broadway in 1861. A few Americans composed fanciful Morris music. However, there is no definite reference to true Morris in 18th- or 19th-century America.

Between 1905 and 1910, American familiarity with Morris increased with reports of the revival in England. During this time, the first illustrated article on Morris was published in a widely read journal, and the first American Morris instructional book was published. At least two Americans attended the first Morris classes at Stratford-on-Avon in 1910, according to a note in The (London) Times on 12 August 1910, and others would follow in later years. Of more importance, America was sensitized to the upcoming introduction of Morris dancing by our own growing folk dance movement.

When Sharp arrived in America in December 1914, he did not encounter a country completely ignorant of Morris dancing. Indeed, his arrival was just days after the fourth anniversary of Florrie Warren's first New York performance. Since then, several hundred Americans in several east coast cities had been taught directly by Warren. Warren and her dancers had performed at high society functions, at massive outdoor displays, and at prestigious theatres, and this had all been duly reported by the press. Influential members of the folk dance community such as Helen Storrow of Boston and Elizabeth Burchenal of the New York Public School Athletic League had seen Warren's dancing. In 1912 alone, an estimated 25,000 New York City school children were said to have been taught folk dance, including Morris.*34 Also, in 1913 Claude Wright would arrive from England and further contribute to American Morris dancing.

Neal and Warren's work remains under-appreciated in England and all but unknown in this country. This is largely due to the passage of 75 years since the Esperance dancers faded from the scene, leaving Sharp and the EFDSS dominant on both sides of the Atlantic. However, a more sinister "deliberate suppression" of information about the past has been suspected by some.*35

By no means is this article meant to belittle Sharp. His contributions in this country and those of the people he worked with such as Helen Storrow, May Gadd, and Lily Conant are extensive, valuable, and of lasting effect. It would be an unfortunate error, however, to continue to ignore the work of Florrie Warren and Mary Neal, for it was they, with the help of Emily Burbank, who first brought the Morris to America.

Part II. 
Washington Irving's Morris Descriptions

Two brief descriptions of 19th century Morris dancing were widely available in this country, found in the works of Washington Irving. Irving had lived in England from 1815 to 1822 and published accounts of visits to a fictional Yorkshire country home in the Sketch Book (1819) and Bracebridge Hall (1822). His accounts describe the Morris as an ongoing, if old fashioned, tradition.

Irving briefly describes a May Day entertainment in which "a band of Morris dancers were capering on the green in their fantastic dresses, jingling with their hawk's bells, with a boy dressed up as Maid Marian, and the attendant fool rattling his box to collect contributions from the bystanders."*36 Dancing at Christmas is described in more detail:

We had not been long home when the sound of music was heard from a distance. A band of country lads without coats, their shirt-sleeves tied with ribbands, their hats decorated with greens, and clubs in their hands, were seen advancing up the avenue, followed by a large number of villagers and peasantry. They stopped before the hall door, where music struck up a peculiar air, and the lads performed a curious and intricate dance, advancing; retreating; and striking their clubs together, keeping exact time to the music; while one, whimsically crowned with a fox's skin, the tail of which flaunted down to his back, kept capering round the skirts of the dance, and rattling a Christmas-box with many antic gestures.

The squire eyed this fanciful exhibition with great interest and delight, and gave a full account of its origin, which he traces to the times when Romans held possession of the island; plainly proving that this was a lineal descendant of the sword-dance of the ancients. It was now, he said, nearly extinct, but he had accidentally met with traces of it in the neighborhood, and had encouraged its revival; though to tell the truth, it was apt to be followed up by rough cudgel-play and broken heads in the evening.*37

In 1876, MacMillan and Sons republished a segment of the Sketch Book entitled "Old Christmas" and commissioned illustrations from Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886),*38 the English illustrator of children's books for whom the Caldecott Prize is named. Caldecott's works include a drawing of the Christmas-time Morris dance.

Randolph Caldecott's depiction of an English Morris dance to illustrate "Old Christmas" for an edition of Washington Irving's sketches.

These accounts by a popular American author could have influenced 19th century American's perceptions of Morris dancing. The description of the Christmas dance could match our current conceptions of either "Cotswold" or "Border" Morris, although for either one, the Yorkshire location would be exceptional. It is curious that Irving's fictional squire anticipates by over 80 years Sharp's theory that the Morris may have evolved from sword dancing.

Morris Dancing in New Hampshire: 1898

An 1898 monthly periodical from Portland, Maine mentions a New Hampshire Morris dance.*39 A search of microfilm of the Manchester (New Hampshire) Union revealed an article describing the Annual May Party of the Universalist Church in 1898, including the Queen of the May, Jack-O-the-Green, Robin Hood, and Morris Dancers: "The dances throughout were of a most interesting and entertaining character. The children looked very attractive in their gay colored costumes and their work showed the careful training which they had received at the hands of Harry E. Wheeler, who drilled them in their steps."*40

The article gives the impression that this style of May Day celebration was new that year. It probably did not develop into a tradition as there is no mention of Morris in the newspapers of 1899. The choreography and source of these dances are unknown, and we can only speculate on how many similar displays took place elsewhere in this country. The Manchester Unitarian Church does not have any material on that May Day celebration, but the names of the instructor and eight of the dancers are preserved in the newspaper account,*41 and it is possible that somewhere in a New Hampshire album is a photograph of this Morris.

Elizabeth Burchenal and Morris Dancing in New York City Schools

Although I identify Josephine Brower's The Morris Book (1910) as the first American Morris book above, I am indebted to Jim Brickwedde for passing on to me evidence that as early as 1908 Morris dancing was taught in the New York public schools, apparently with Sharp's Morris Book and John Graham's Shakespearean Bidford Morris Dances as sources. In 1909, C. Ward Crampton published instructions and music for the Headington dance "Laudnum Bunches" in his The Folk Dance Book, the first such Morris description published in this country. Crampton (1877-1964) was a New York physician who published extensively on physical education issues, including the use of folk dance in schools.*42

Elizabeth Burchenal (1877-1959) of the New York Public School Athletic League was an extremely influential educator who had a major role in popularizing folk dance in American public schools in the first half of this century. She began to teach Morris in approximately 1908, although her first written description of Morris dance does not appear until the 1913 publication of Dances of the People. She was a prolific writer who also collected folk dances in Europe, including a 1908 visit to Bampton. I leave further details on Burchenal and her colleagues to Jim, who is researching the subject in detail. 

The surprise discovery of these dances may explain Mary Neal's comment upon arriving in New York in 1910 concerning "English peasant dances hitherto taught in America." These school children and teachers are also probably the audience for whom Josephine Brower's The Morris Book of 1910 was intended.*43

Florence Warren Brown, Part II

I have had the recent good fortune to be able to contact the family of Florence Warren Brown, the dancing instructor of the Esperance Guild of Morris Dancers who came to New York with Mary Neal in December 1910 to teach the Morris, and settled permanently in this country. Until now, her dancing in England and America from 1905 to 1911 has been described,*44 but few details were known of her early life and her activities following her 1912 marriage. Her three daughters have been very generous in sharing their memories with me, and information is only limited in that Florrie rarely talked about her life in England, and none of her children developed an interest in Morris during their childhood.

Florence Warren was born April 14, 1887, in London, the child of Thomas Warren and his wife Bridget McCarthy Warren, a native of Ireland. She was apparently orphaned at a young age, and grew up as a poor Cockney working girl. At some point she caught the attention of Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, a wealthy social activist whose husband Frederick was a prominent politician for many years*45 Warren's daughters are not certain whether the Pethick-Lawrences actually took Warren into their home, but it is clear that they were benefactors who closely oversaw her upbringing and education and who remained Warren's life-long friends.

Warren and Neal had agreed to a three month trip to America, with their exhibitions to begin in New York City and the surrounding area. Sometime that winter, they were invited to New Haven, Connecticut, for a function at Yale Law School. At the dinner following her performance, Warren sat at the same table as Arthur Brown, a law student from New Jersey. Brown was immediately taken by her, and in the following weeks travelled to her performances and, when this was impossible, kept in touch by mail.

Warren and Neal were booked to return to England in March 1911. The events of the day of their sailing were told by Arthur Brown to his children. Brown was in New Haven, distracting himself from the apparent end of their brief relationship with a game of golf. He suddenly made a decision and left in the middle of his game to take the first train to New York. He arrived at Warren and Neal's steamship before it had sailed, and asked Warren to come off the ship, stay in this country, and marry him. She agreed and they were married in New Jersey on Valentine's Day 1912.

Arthur and Florence Brown lived briefly in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and then Berkeley, California, where he took a job with the Zurich Insurance Company. Their first child, Cicely Mary (named for Mary Neal) was born there.*46 Arthur Brown was soon transferred to Chicago, where they lived the remainder of their lives,*47 and where their other two daughters, Dorothy Emmeline (named for Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence),"*48 and Vida were born.*49

The three daughters remember their mother teaching English folk dance while they were growing up,*50 but did not learn the dances themselves. To this day, none of them has seen a Morris performance, and they were surprised at the number of active American teams.

 Florrie Warren and Arthur Brown, from their 1911 engagement announcement. Courtesy of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, London.

Vida Brown made a career of another style of dance, becoming an accomplished ballerina with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and other troupes before joining the New York City Ballet where she served for many years as Ballet Mistress, working closely with George Balanchine. Her only recent exposure to Morris came a few years ago in New York City when she overheard a conversation about Morris by two men who were apparently dancers. She introduced herself, and briefly described how her mother had helped bring the Morris to America. The dancers, however, had never heard of Florrie Warren, apparently did not believe her, and weren't interested.

The Brown sisters have kindly shared with me their mother's hand-written dance notes, which include instructions for nine Morris dances and thirty two country dances. These were clearly written and used in this country, as they are headed by Florrie's married name and a Chicago address. They are significant in that they document the style Warren taught in America early in this century. One unfortunate omission from the notes is the Somerset Step Dance which Warren performed in this country and apparently has disappeared in England before it could be recorded.'" Warren's daughters do not recognize the name of the dance, and knowledge of this dance seems to have died with her.
As for the authenticity of these dances, Warren may have altered the dances over her years of teaching. Her original sources, however, are impeccable, including "traditional" Morris dancers from Headington, Abingdon, and Ilmington. Warren's Morris dancing notes are reproduced below (Endnotes have been added to explain unusual terminology used, or descriptions which differ from those of Sharp).

The Florence Warren Brown Manuscript*51


In all the Headington dances except "Bean Setting" and "Rigs of Marlow" the following movements:

1 Down and back turn, up and back face*52
2 Chain
3 Cross
4 Go and Come*53
5 Back to Back

are always danced with the same steps thus:

hop R.
hop L.


Both hop R.
Swing R. behind
Both hop L.
Swing L. behind

Green above means the feet are doing a back step*54

The position of the leg when dancing should be held as for walking, knee neither straight nor bent.*55 Put foot out as though for walking and that is about position.

1. Always pass R shoulders touching both going to partners place and returning to own place.
2. Always back to back first R shoulders touching then left.
3. In chain, centers always follow leader no matter which end leader may be. Morris dances are always danced by six people. This is called a side. 

~ In Morris dance books, 1 2 3 hop is called a 4/3 or 6/3 step.

~ R hop. L hop. is called 4/2 or 6/2 step.

~ Capering is called 4/1 or 6/1 step.


Handkerchief dance. Hold handkerchiefs at 4 corners as bunches of flowers. 


A Down and back turn; up and back face
Box once - half chain *56 
Box once - half chain back to place 
Whole chain 
Box twice 
Box twice 
Back to Back  
Box twice 
All in face as at start. No yell. 
  and up


Handkerchief dance. Hold a handkerchief in each hand by one corner. 


Down and back turn; up and back face.*58 
Dance 1 2 3 hop six times and back step in position.
Dance 1 2 3 hop six times, etc.
Dance 1 2 3 hop six times, etc.
Back to Back. 
Dance 1 2 3 hop six times. All in centre raise left foot and yell. 


Handkerchief dance. Hold handkerchiefs by one corner.
Corner dance. i.e. nos. 1 and 6 dance first, then 2 and 5 copy, then 3 and 4 copy.


A1 Down and back turn, up and back face partner.
B1 Nos. 1 and 6 kick R foot. Start L (1 2 3 hop three times, stamp and kick R foot). Nos. 2 and 5 copy. Nos. 3 and 4 copy.*60
C Nos. 1 and 6 change places, 1 2 3 hop four times and back step. Pass each other on second step, turn at corners on third step, meet face to face on fourth step, and still facing dance back step backwards into place of one with whom you are dancing. Nos. 2 and 5 copy. Nos. 3 and 4 copy.
A Chain.
B Nos. 1 and 6 kick L foot start R.
Nos. 2 and 5 kick L foot start R.
Nos. 3 and 4 kick L foot start R.
C Nos. 1 and 6 cross to own place 1 2 3 hop four times and back step into position as in C1 first time. Nos. 2 and 5 copy. Nos. 3 and 4 copy. All are now in original places.
A3 Cross.
B Nos. 1 and 6 kick R foot start L.
Nos. 2 and 5 kick R foot start L.
Nos. 3 and 4 kick R foot start L.
C Nos. 1 and 6 caper (15 times) to opposite places and back step. Pass about 4 capers, turn about 8, meet on 15 and back step. In capering you jump with left feet together on 4, 8, 12, 15. Nos. 2 and 5 copy. Nos. 3 and 4 copy.
A Back to Back.
B Nos. 1 and 6 kick L foot start R.
Nos. 2 and 5 kick L foot start R.
Nos. 3 and 4 kick L foot start R.
C Nos. 1 and 6 caper to places (as in C3 first time).
Nos. 2 and 5 caper to places. Nos. 3 and 4 caper to places.
And when nos. 3 and 4 have reached the 15th caper, instead of doing back step, all join in and dance towards centre 4 capers and a yell, left foot up in centre and hands raised.


Jump w/ quick circle
(change to
Jump w/ quick circle
left foot)

RIGS OF MARLOW - stick dance*61

Step throughout: L hop R hop except when dancing stick movement. Hold sticks in middle, palm up when using them at other times hold them down at R side. To start, hold them at right angles. 


A Hop forward four steps, back four steps (facing forward) tap twice (start  L foot). 
B Stick movement.
A Chain.
B Stick movement.
A Cross.
B Stick movement.
A Back to back.
B Stick movement. All in face as at start, sticks in same position.


  X X   X X
Gent 1 2 3 4


1 2 3 4
Feet for All L L L L   R R R R
2nd Time R R R R   L L L L


  X X X X X X
Gent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Feet for All L L L L R L R L
2nd Time R R R R L R L R


Step: R hop L hop throughout dance.
Hold sticks as in Rigs of Marlow, but for position G places his stick on top of L, both being held parallel to the ground.*64


A Circle (2 follows 4) (4 follows 6) (6 follows 5) (5 follows 3) (3 follows 1) (1 follows 2)
B Dibbing.
A Cross.
B Dibbing.
A Back to Back.
B Dibbing. All in face as at start.


This dance comes from Berkshire*66 so rules for Oxford dances do not apply to this.

Step: Polka throughout with back leg well raised.
A jump onto R foot is always made to own R corner, no matter which direction dancer is facing at end of every eight bars.


1-8 bars Forward three steps.
Back three steps.
Face partner one step - jump to R corner. Dance eight bars facing partner.
9-16 Side step: four steps L 
four steps R
two steps L
two steps R

  Clap hands twice.
Bow offering R hand. 
  Clap hands twice.
Bow offering R hand.

Leaders and ends change places, leaders passing in between ends.
  Repeat side steps.
Leaders and ends walk to own places.
  Dance eight bars facing partner.  
Dance eight bars while forming a circle. On last bar, all jump into centre on both feet, fling up hands and yell.


Tune: "Hey Diddle Dis" - Morris Dance Tunes by Cecil Sharp. Part III, or "The Girl I Left Behind me" - Esperance Book Part I.

All carry a handkerchief in each hand.

All dance onto stage 1 2 3 hop, 1 2 3 hop to position as arranged. Having reached it, each dances in position until all are in place. The leader then calls All In, and at finish of next eight bars, all back step, throw up hands and yell, without moving from position.

If one dance only is to be given, and that a stick dance, dancers should enter carrying a handkerchief in each hand and the stick in right hand. Morris On as before, and after yell, put handkerchiefs away and start dance with sticks.

Tune: Josephine Brower's book.*69
After last item on programme, all fall into one straight line, dancing 1 2 3 drop heel (start on R foot drop R heel). Effect should be sort of jog trot. Dance round stage once and then off. When passing before audience for last time, wave hand nearest audience. A right about turn is made after every six steps, that is 1 2 3 drop six times, turn 1 2 3 drop 1 2 3 drop and so on until all are off stage.
SHEPHERD'S HEY (Headington)*70
Stick and hand clapping dance.*71
Tune: Josephine Brower's book.

Step: 1 2 3 hop, etc.
All girls hold sticks upright in fists and knock them together at end of each chain, etc. Boys clap hands at same time.


A Down and back turn
Up and back face.
B Knock sticks six times. Dance 1 2 3 hop. 1 2 jump. Repeat. 
Boys clap knees.
A Chain.
B Knock sticks as before.
Boys clap chest.
A Go and come. First to own R, then to L.
B Sticks as before. 
Boys clap cheek.
A Back to back.
B Sticks as before. 
Boys clap heads.
A Go and come.
All In Face as at start and dance eight bars facing audience double quick time. Throw up both hands and yell.

Dancers from Florrie Warren's Morris team taken between 12/11/10 and 3/4/11. Courtesy of the New York Public Library Performing Arts Center, Lincoln Center.


One of my most treasured memories of Morris dancing is when Florrie Warren's three daughters accepted my invitation as honored guests at the Marlboro Morris Ale in the early 1990s. Despite having had a very close relationship with their mother, they had never actually seen Morris dancing before, and it was a very moving weekend for them. I do believe that they appreciated their mother's work being recognized some eight decades later by so many young and active dancers.

1. Contemporary articles treated the Morris as a curiosity of a past age, rather than as a an ongoing tradition; see, for example, "Morris Dancing and May Day Games," Walford's Antiquarian, 9 (1886), 195-204. 

2. Frank Kidson and Mary Neal, English Folk Dance and Song (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1915), pp. 158-159, refer to Bidford; Manning Manuscript, Bodleian V Library, Oxford University and Jackson's Oxford Journal (18 March 1899) cite Headington.

3. Michael Heaney. Personal Communication. 

4. Cecil J. Sharp and Herbert C. MacIlwaine, The Morris Book: A History of Morris Dancing With a Description of Eleven Dances as Performed by the Morris Men of England 1.  (London: Novello and Co., Ltd., 1907), p. 3.

5. Mary Neal, "Set to Music," in The Esperance Morris Book (London: J. Curwen and Sons,
Ltd., 1910), p. 2. 

6. Mary Neal, quoted in The (London) Morning Post (5 May 1910), p. 3.

7. Roy Judge, "Mary Neal and the Esperance Morris," Folk Music Journal, 5 (5 November 1989), 559, 572, in letters from Cecil Sharp to Mary Neal (26 July 1909) and Archibald Flower, respectively. 

8. Maud Karpeles, Cecil Sharp: His Life and Work (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967); Judge Mary Neal; Neal, The Esperance Morris;  Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, My Part in a Changing World (London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd., 1939), pp. 134-139; Roy Dommett, "How Did You Think It Was?" Morris Matters, 3 (1980), 3:4-9; Kidson and Neal, English Folk Dance and Song

9. Edward Haies, "Edward Haies' Narrative of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Last Expedition," in David Beers Quinn, The Voyages and Colonizing Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1940), 1:385-423.

10. Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages, AD 500-1600 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 574; "The First Known Morris Tour of America," American Morris Newsletter, 11 (1987), No. 3.

11. The previously mentioned letters and virtually all primary material concerning Gilbert's second voyage may be found in Quinn, The Voyages.

12. The Dictionary Catalogue of the Music Collection of the New York Public Library lists a collection of songs by Florence: Songs of the Florences: Comprising the Original Melodies of Those Distinguished Delineators of the Irish Boy and the Yankee Girl, (New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, c. 1860). Catalogue of Printed Music in the British Library (New York: K. G. Saur, 1987). T. Allston Brown, "The Origin of Minstrelsy," in Charles H. Day, Fun in Black, or, Sketches of Minstrel Life (New York: Robert M. DeWitt, 1874), p. 6. Carl Wittke, Tambo and Bones. A History of the American Minstrel Show (New York: Greenwood Press, 1968), p. 33. "Such a Getting Upstairs. Sung by Bob Farrel (The Original Zip Coon)," sheet music (Baltimore: G. Willig, Jr., c. 1830-1840?). Catalogue of Printed Music in the British Library lists "Sich a Getting Upstairs," arr. William Henry West (London, c. 1845) in their collection. Manning Manuscript. Kidson and Neal, English Folk Song and Dance, p. 131.

13. For a history of the minstrel shows in England, see Harry Reynolds, Minstrel Memories: The Story of Burnt Cork Minstrelsy in Great Britain from 1836-1927 (London: Alston Rivers, Ltd., 1928). Theresa Buckland, "Black Faces, Garlands, and Coconuts: Exotic Dances of Street and Stage," Dance Research Journal, forthcoming. While researching 19th-century American stage dancing, I have found several one-line references to coconut dancers, but always without information on choreography or origins. The only coconut dance in the Cotswold Morris was found at North Leigh. Its origin and original choreography are unknown. In 1982 I saw the newly revived North Leigh men perform a recreation of this dance. For more details on Chirgwin, see Reynolds, Minstrel Memories. For details of the costume and music of the border Morris, see David Jones, The Roots of Welsh Border Morris (np: David Jones, September 1988).

14. Part of the 1861 program has been previously reproduced, though with little background material, in American Morris Newsletter, 11:2. My dating is as follows: the American Concert Hall existed from 8/8/60 to 2/15/66. Billy Quinn (a dancer mentioned in the poster) died 9/5/63; the poster mentions an upcoming show on Wednesday March 20, and March 20 fell on a Wednesday in 1861. Harry Leslie was born in East Troy, New York; for more details of his career see T. Allston Brown, A History of the American Stage from the First Performance in 1732 to 1901 (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1903), 1:470-472. Leslie died immediately after a minstrel performance in Allygarth, India, on 7/3/1876, according to the Boston Advertiser (2 September 1876). George C. D. O'Dell, Annals of the New York Stage (New York: Columbia University Press, 1931).

15. Roy Judge, "Theatrical Morris," in Theresa Buckland, ed., Traditional Dance (Crewe, England: Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education, 1988), 6:202-206.

16. G. D. Wilson, The Morris Dancers, sheet music (Boston: White, Smith, and Co., 1878); Wilson was born in Connecticut and lived most of his life in Nyack, New York, according to Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 4th ed. (New York: G. Schirmer, 1940), p. 1192. Alexander MacKensie, Morris Dance, sheet music (New York: Novello, Ewer, and Co., 1899); Mackensie was a Scot who received his musical training in Germany according to Stanley Sadie, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: MacMillan, 1980), 11:441. H. E. Warner, Morris Dance, sheet music (Philadelphia: Theodore Presser, 1904); several other works by Amer were published in London, but no other information has been found. Percy Grainger, Mock Morris, sheet music (New York: G. Schirmer, 1911); Grainger lived in Australia, Germany, and England before settling in the U.S. in 1914 and becoming recognized as a collector of English folk song and composer. The four later pieces are Rosseter G. Cole, Morris Dance, from the opera The Maypole Lovers, Act II (Chicago and New York: Clayton F. Summy Co., 1948); Robert Crane, Morris Dance (Publisher unknown, 1954; copy in the Library of Congress); Hazel Cobb, Morris Dance (New York: Mills Music, 1962); and William Kraft, Morris Dance, percussion solo (Los Angeles: Western International Music, 1964).

17. Sharon Stutz, Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, Connecticut, personal communication. The quotation is from Marguerite Steen, William Nicholson (London: Collins Clear Type Press, 1943), p. 16.

18. Also, an article in a 1906 Canadian magazine describes the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, mummer's plays, Haxey Hood game, and other folk traditions: Sarah A. Tooley, "Old Christmas Customs in England," Canadian Magazine, 28 (December 1906), 124-134. See the obituary of Beerbohm in the New York Times (20 May 1956), p. 86:1 and Lillian Browse, William Nicholson (Plymouth, England: Bowering Press, 1956), p. 17. Max Beerbohm, "A Morris for May Day," Harper's Magazine (October 1907), 787-794 and Yet Again, 3rd. ed. (Kingswood, Surrey: Windmill, 1951), pp. 165-181.

19. 0. L. Hatcher, "Old Warwickshire Morris Dances and Songs, The Nation, 99 (15 October 1914), 465.

20. Luther Halsey Gulick, M.D., "Teaching American Children to Play: Significance of the Revival of Folk Dances, Games, and Festivals by the Playground Association," Craftsman, 15 (November 1908), 192-199. Karpeles, Cecil Sharp, p. 75. Helen Storrow, "Folk Dancing" (Address given at the fifth annual meeting of the Playground and Recreational Association of America), Playground, 5 (August 1911), 161.

21. Barbara Naomi Cohen-Stratyer, Biographical Dictionary of the Dance (New York: Schirmer Books, 1982), p. 358; Emily Burbank, "Mademoiselle Genee: The Danish Dancer Who Revives Memories of Taglioni," Putnam's Magazine, 5 (November 1908), 170-174; Florence Warren Brown and Neva L. Boyd, Old English and American Games for School and Playground (Chicago: Saul Brothers, 1915).

22. Judge, "Mary Neal," p. 552; Karpeles, Cecil Sharp, p. 73; The Times (London), 7 May 1910, p. 17c; Warren had personally instructed as many as 400 school teachers in a two-week period, according to Neal, The Esperance Morris Book, p. 1; a fragment of a letter from Florrie Warren while staying at Lady Paget's home, being waited on by servants, is reprinted in Pethick-Lawrence, My Part in a Changing World, p. 138; The Times (London), 11 August 1910, p. 96; immigration records for the port of New York City, the National Archives, Washington, D.C.

23. New York Tribune, 15 December 1910, p. 10d; New York Times, 22 January 1911, V:11:1; "Morris Dancing in America," Literary Digest (4 March 1911), pp. 406-407.

24. Mary Neal to Clive Carey, 30 December 1910, in the Carey Collection, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, London.

25. New York Times, 20 December 1911, p. 13:3; New York Times, 21 December 1910, p. 2:3; Neal to Carey, 30 December 1910; a 29 December 1910 New York Performance is known only through a brief reference in one of Neal's letters: "our first millionaire show. It was detestable." Neal to Carey, 30 December 1910; on 26 January 1911, they performed at a fundraiser for the Bide-a-Wee Home for Animals, New York Times, 23 January 1911 (1:7:5) and 27 January 1911 (11:4).

26. Mary Neal, The Esperance Morris Book, Part II (London: J. Curwen and Sons, Ltd., 1912), p. xiii. The names of three of Warren's New York City dancers are known; Marcus Brook danced at the MacDowell Club show; Thomas Rector and Romer Richardson went to Albany later in 1911 to assist Warren. The three photos lie unlabelled in a folder of loose clippings and photos on "Morris Dancing" in the Performing Arts Research Center at Lincoln Center. "Morris Dancing in America," pp. 406-407.

27. In February 1911, Neal collected sea shanties at the Sailor's Haven in Charlestown, Massachusetts, where sailors boarded while in the port of Boston, "a seaman's rest where every week the men sang the old shanties on a specially rigged-up mast and rigging on the platform," according to The Esperance Morris Book, Part II, p. xiii; see also Mary Neal to Clive Carey, 24 February 1911, in the Carey Collection, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, London. Boston Herald, 26 April 1911, p. 10.

28. Boston Herald, 4 May 1911, p. 7; Boston Globe, 6 May 1911, p. 2; Boston Herald, 6 May 1911, p. 2; The (London) Times, 22 July 1911, p. 11c. In 1929, another Morris dance performance was given at Carnegie Hall by a touring EFDSS company including Douglas Kennedy and Joan Sharp (Cecil's daughter); the lead singer was Clive Carey, the former Esperance music director; see the New York Times, 3 November 1929, p. 16:2 and 10 November 1929, p. 24:3.

29. Hartford Daily Courant, 20 May 1911, p. 14; a program of this performance was published in the American Morris Newsletter, 11:3 (1987), although the identity of the dancers and other background information were not known at that time.

30. The (Albany) Times Union for 1911 printed items on May 10 (p. 1), June 2 (p. 2), June 24 (p. 5), and July 5 (p. 5); The Knickerbocker Press item appeared on 23 May 1911.

31. New York Times, 23 February 1912, p. 11; Brown and Boyd, Old English and American Games, Pethick-Lawrence, My Part in a Changing World, p. 139.

32. Karpeles, Cecil Sharp, p. 84. Despite her early enthusiasm for teaching Morris to both sexes, Neal had a curious change of view, writing in the late 1930's: "I realized, in a devastating moment, that these dances were the remains of a purely masculine ceremonial,...that by putting women on to this masculine rhythm I had quite innocently and ignorantly broken a law of cosmic ritual and stirred up disharmony....I believe now that this misuse of the Morris Dance was the reason for the bitter estrangement between my colleagues and myself," quoted in Judge, "Mary Neal," p. 575. Springfield (Massachusetts) Union, 20 February 1914, p. 4. New York Times, 2 February 1914, p. 5:3. New York Times, 24 August 1913, V:1.

33. Jane Garry, "The Literary History of the Morris Dance," Folklore, 94:ii (1983), 219-228.

34. New York Times, 24 February 1912, p. 11.

35. Certainly this was the suspicion of Margaret Dean-Smith, former editor of the EFDSS Journal, who wrote, "The 'blank' of that period seems to be a moral or immoral one. By 1912 Mary Neal had, I think, more or less given up the struggle and subsequent EFDSS members either genuinely knew nothing of her work, or knew of it only as a minor stumbling-block by that time fortunately removed. Of Sharp's debt to Mary Neal (would he ever have started without her?) nothing was said. It looks so like deliberate suppression or a disagreeable 'para-politics' story, with all the past deliberately shoved behind an iron curtain." Margaret Dean-Smith to Clive Carey (12 September 1962), Carey Collection, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, London.

36. Washington Irving. Bracebridge Hall. Tarrytown, New York: Sleepy Hollow Restoration, 1978. P. 226.

37. Washington Irving. Old Christmas. London: MacMillan and Company, 1876. P. 111.

38. Henry Blackburn. Randolph Caldecott: A Personal Memoir of His Early Career. London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1886.

39. Melvin Ballou Gilbert, ed. The Director. May 1898. P. 189.

40. Manchester Union. Manchester, New Hampshire. May 3, 1898.

41. Bernice Barnard, Harold K. Parker, Hattie L. McIntire, Percy Dunbar, Ethel Welch, Frank D. Love, Laurette B. McKenzie, Charles F. Jackson.

42. John Graham, Shakespearean Bidford Morris Dances (London: Curwen, 1907). Charles Ward Crampton, The Folk Dance Book for Elementary Schools, Class Room, Playground, and Gymnasium (New York: A. S. Barnes, 1909).

43. The information about Elizabeth Burchenal, including the 1908 Bampton trip, is from a personal communication with Jim Brickwedde. Elizabeth Burchenal, Dances of the People (New York: G. Schirmer Inc., 1913).

Mary Neal's quotation doubting the authenticity of the "English peasant dances" is from The New York Tribune (15 December 1910), p. 10d. It is reproduced in Part I of this article in CD&S 21 (March 1991): 1-18. Josephine Brower, The Morris Dance: Descriptions of Eleven Dances as Performed by the Morris Men of England (New York: H. W. Gray Co., 1910).

44. Rhett Krause, "Morris Dancing and America Prior to 1913," Country Dance and Song Heading 21 (1991). Roy Judge, "Mary Neal and the Esperance Morris", Folk Music Journal (November 5, 1989). Roy Dommett, "How Did You Think it Was?" Morris Matters 3 (1980): 4-9. Frank Kidson and Mary Neal, English Folk Song and Dance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1915.

45. Emmeline Pethick Lawrence's autobiography is My Part in a Changing World. London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd., 1939.
Sleepy Hollow

46. Now Mrs. A. Everett Joslyn of Oak Park, Illinois.

47. Florence Warren Brown died October 6, 1944 at her River Forest, Illinois, home; Arthur Brown (1875-1963).

48. Now Mrs. Walter Kosek of Lynwood, Illinois.

49. Now Mrs. Stanley L. Olinick of Washington, D.C.

50. More of her time was spent playing golf, at which she was a local champion. Florrie and Arthur Warren were also tournament bridge players.

51. Roy Dommett. Personal communication.

52. I have infrequently added punctuation, spelled out an abbreviation, etc., to clarify what I believe is the meaning of the text.

53. This is the equivalent of "foot up" followed by "foot down" in the terminology commonly used today. The initial direction "down" comes from Warren's convention of dance notation in which the dancers begin facing the audience, which is considered the "down" side. This is the opposite of Sharp, but the same as Josephine Brower. In Mary Neal's The Esperance Morris Book. Part II (London: J. Curwen and Sons, Ltd., 1912), this position is noted as:

6    |   5 
 4    |   3  
2    |  


I am grateful to Brad Sayler for pointing out that this probably comes from the theatrical convention of "downstage" being towards the audience.

54.  This is apparently a mistake, as the figure "Go and Come" is not from the Headington tradition.

55. This is somewhat different than the description of the Headington back step in The Esperance Morris Book (by Mary Neal: London. J. Curwen and Sons, Ltd., 1910) and The Esperance Morris Book Part II, which is as follows:

Swing the right foot behind and alight on both feet.
    Hop on the back foot and take the front one away to the side. 
Swing that foot behind and alight on both feet.
    Hop on the back foot and take the front one away.

In the manuscript, it seems that the right foot is meant to be swung behind on the second beat, rather than the first.

56. "The unemployed leg should, in general, be straight but not stiffened. The effect should be one of naturalness and ease." Neal, Esperance. Part II, p. 3.

57. "Box" is described in The Esperance Morris Book as "hand clapping."

58. The choreography of "The Blue Eyed Stranger" has been a source of confusion. With the dance-in-place chorus, Warren is actually describing the dance known to most American dancers as "The Twenty Ninth of May." In The Esperance Morris Book Part II, she had described "The Blue Eyed Stranger" as a side step and half hey dance. Sharp (The Morris Book Part I. London: Novello and Co., Ltd.) described the dance-in-place version in his 1907 first edition, and in his 1910 second edition wrote that either version was correctly known as "The Blue Eyed Stranger." According to Lionel Bacon (A Handbook of Morris Dances. N.p.: The Morris Ring, 1974, p. 184), Sharp later admitted that this was a mistake, and the dance-in-place version should be known as The Twenty Ninth of May. Bacon also writes that despite the acknowledgement of this error, "the dances are now reversed by the Headington Quarry Men and most clubs."

59. This beginning figure is called "Shake Up" in Neal, Esperance, Part II

60. Warren's description of "Trunkles" differs from Sharps's in two major ways. She omits two figures noted by Sharp (the ones followed by the side step corner crossing). Also, the foot work in her "Trunkles" whole capers (R L R Together) differs from Sharp's (L R Together R) and is identical to the footwork in Sharp's "Laudnum Bunches" corner-crossing capers. Warren's "Laudnum Bunches" capers (Neal, Esperance. Part II) are distinct from anything that I have ever seen danced (Together Together R L).

61. Warren's description of kicking with the foot opposite to the one that starts the challenge contrasts to her description in Esperance. Part II, in which the starting foot is also used for the kick. The manuscript version is in accordance with Sharp. 

62. Referred to as "Rakes of Mallow" in Esperance (Part I).

63. As in country dancing, "Gent" refers to the odd side, and "Lady" to the even side. The X signifies on which beat each strike occurs. Additional instructions (not provided in the manuscript) are required to show where each stick is struck. These more detailed descriptions may be found in Esperance. Part I, The Morris Book Part I, and in Bacon's Handbook. The sticking described in all three of these sources is identical.

64. Sharp and Bacon have a fourth figure (whole hey) in their versions.

65. "G" presumably for Gent, "L" for Lady.

66. Warren's dance is significantly different than Sharp's (The Morris Book Part III; also found in Bacon's Handbook). Sharp's version is twice as long, including the figures Side by Side and Back to Back, each followed by the chorus of side stepping (or "slipping"), clapping, and hey. Also, Warren and Sharp differ on the hand clapping, the bow, and the hand movements following hand clapping.

67. Specifically, it is from Abingdon. Due to 1974 border changes, Abingdon is now part of Oxfordshire.

68. Probably from Abingdon.

69. From Bidford.

70. Brower. The Morris Dances.

71. Although Warren describes this as a Headington dance, this is almost certainly from Bidford.

72. This progression of hand clapping (knee, chest, cheek, head) does not appear in either Esperance Part 1 or Sharp's Morris Book.

 AMN, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 2005  ISSN: 1074-2689