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Dance Heritage Coalition

BIOGRAPHY Table of Contents Series Description and Container List

Morton (Virgil) Papers



The Virgil Morton Papers document Morton's professional dance and teaching activities and also provide a valuable source of information on the history of folk dance groups in the Bay Area. Morton's life is illustrated in photographs ranging from his early childhood to his later years as an instructor at San Francisco State University. Through resumes and chronologies, as well as newsclippings and correspondence, the course of Morton's career from the 1930s-1960s can be traced. The collection also contains a scrapbook documenting Morton's naval career during World War II and examples of his writings and dance class offerings.

Programs, newsletters, correspondence, and photos from various folk dance organizations and dance and theatre companies provide a chronicle of the men and women who pioneered the study and teaching of traditional folk dances. Among the groups included in the collection are the California Alpine Folk Dancers, Chang's International Folk Dancers, the Folk Dance Federation, Swedish Applied Arts, Menlo Amigos, the Savoy Light Opera, and the Sherry Players. Early performances of folk dances by Morton and Chang's International Folk Dancers at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939 and 1940 are illustrated in photos and programs. Other individuals who helped to popularize folk dancing, particularly Morton's partners, Madelynne Greene and Grace Perryman, are also highlighted by the collection. Information on folk dancing techniques and steps is available in hand-outs and notes Morton compiled for his classes. A few miscellaneous examples of folk dance music are present in the form of musical scores and a tape recording.

BIOGRAPHY Table of Contents Series Description and Container List