History of Social Dancing

Sailors aboard the Olympia waltzing at tiffin time, n.d.. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research in dance.

Personal Librarian:

TBD. If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms, or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Reference | Journal Articles | Historical Newspapers | Visual Resources | CLIO | Archival Collections

Reference Sources

Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion includes some 640 articles that describe the colorful facets of couture and textiles, from fabrics to such garb. Back matter includes a comprehensive index, a timeline, and a topical outline. (Barnard Library, GT507 .E53 2005)

International Encyclopedia of Dance includes articles on all aspects of dance, including theatrical, ritual, dance-drama, folk, traditional, ethnic, and social dance. (Barnard Library, GV1585 .I586 2004)

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World provides information about major world developments from 1750 to the present, with close attention to social, economic, cultural, and political topics.

Oxford English Dictionary is the largest dictionary and most complete historical record of the English language.

Oxford Music Online is an extensive and easily searchable online music resource.

Journal Articles

JSTOR includes full-text articles from back issues of more than 1200 scholarly journals

International Index to the Performing Arts is a multidisciplinary index to the performing arts.

International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP) Full Text contains more than half a million indexed articles, plus detailed abstracts and full text from 1874 to the present, covering the scholarly to the popular.

Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals contains annotated citations to articles on music and musical life in the nineteenth-century.

Historical Newspapers

19th Century British Library Newspapers provides searchable full text of full runs of newspapers specially selected by the British Library to best represent nineteenth-century Britain. Special attention was paid to include newspapers that helped lead particular political or social movements such as Reform, Chartism, and Home Rule.

19th Century UK Newspapers provides full-text and full-page-image access to periodicals in the following subject areas: Women's, Children's, Leisure and Sport, and Humor.

19th Century U.S. Newspapers includes numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.; and it encompasses the entire 19th century.

Barnard Bulletin Newspaper Archive contains more than 23,938 newspaper pages, dating from 1901 to 2002. Every newspaper in the archive is fully searchable by keyword and date, making it easy for you to quickly explore historical content.

Columbia Spectator Archive allows users to search and browse all issues of the paper published from 1953 to 1992, amounting to nearly 50,000 pages.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers offers full-text and full-image articles from major American newspapers.

Visual Resources


ARTstor documents the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, design, anthropology, ethnographic and women's studies, as well as many other forms of visual culture.

Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science.

Europeana is a single access point to millions of books, paintings, films, museum objects and archival records that have been digitised throughout Europe. It is an authoritative source of information coming from European cultural and scientific institutions.

Metropolitan Museum of Art provides online access to a portion of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Moving Images

Moving images are available from the media collection on the 1st floor of the Barnard Library, as well as through Butler Media Center. These titles -- as well as streaming videos available through databases like Dance in Video, Naxos Video Library and medici.tv -- are catalogued in CLIO.

Search the Catalog and Browse the Stacks

CLIO - Online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials available on campus.

CLIO Search Tips:

  • Use wildcards (wom?n) and truncation (femin?) to retrieve more results.
  • Use keywords such as Illustrated books or Pictures to retrieve books with images
  • Use catalog records to identify useful subject headings 
  • Substitute different century numbers or country names as needed
  • Remember you can limit search results to items physically held at Barnard
  • Limit results to films/videos or musical recordings
  • Use keyword searches to locate items, and then go to the stacks and browse those items as well as the ones nearby

Scanners are available in Barnard and Avery.

Archival Collections

The Barnard College Archives

The Barnard College Archives was founded in 1963 as the permanent repository for the records of the College.  Its primary purpose is to document the history of the College and to provide source material to the Barnard College community, as well as to scholars, authors, and outside researchers.

The Archives encourages all researchers to schedule an appointment to ensure that seating and materials are readily available. Please email the archives to schedule an appointment. You may find it helpful to identify materials prior to your visit:

  • Barnard College Dance Department Records provides a partial history of dance performance on Barnard's campus. Materials include programs, creative manifestos, correspondence, budget/grant materials, press releases, clipping files, and posters.
  • Barnard Digital Collections provides direct access to historical materials from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, including the Mortarboard.

The Columbia University Archives

The Columbia University Archives preserves the institutional memory of the University through the collection of official University records and related historical collections and materials. Search the Archives Collections Portal before your visit, and remember that all researchers are required to register their own Special Collections Research Account before their visit and validate it in-person with government issued photo identification or Columbia ID.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts houses one of the world's most extensive combination of circulating, reference, and rare archival collections in its field. To find items related to the history of performance at the College, search the Catalog, limiting results to Collection: Performing Arts Library.

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