Kate Van Winkle Keller (1937-2018)
It is with great sadness that we report the recent passing of Kate Van Winkle Keller (1937-2018). It was the idea of Kitty (as friends and family and colleagues called her) and her husband Bob to create the Colonial Music Institute with co-founders David and Ginger Hildebrand. For some 20 years she contributed articles, databases and other educational materials, but more importantly authored several ground-breaking books on dance in early America, many of which are available through the CMI store on this website.
Kitty was supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Connecticut Commission for the Arts, the Country Dance and Song Society, and the Connecticut Historical Society, and with strong support and help from her husband, Robert M. Keller, Kate Van Winkle Keller co-directed several projects including The National Tune Index (published in 1980) and its online edition, Early American Secular Music and Its European Sources, 1589–1839, and The Performing Arts in Colonial American Newspapers, 1690–1783 (published in 1997).
She designed and coauthored The Playford Ball, 103 Early Country Dances 1651–1820 as Interpreted by Cecil Sharp and His Followers. First published by the Society of Dance History Scholars in 1990, this now classic book on English country dance is in its third edition. Choreographer for the film “The Last of the Mohicans” (20th Century Fox: 1992), she has served as consultant in early dance and music to many performing organizations and individuals, archivists, collectors, composers and scholars. A specialist in early American music and dance manuscripts, her bibliographic studies were published by the Music Library Association and the Country Dance and Song Society. She is a contributor to the American National Biography, the Cambridge History of American Music, the Encyclopedia of the North American Colonies, and the New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Her path breaking work, ‘If the Company can do it!’ Technique in Eighteenth-Century American Social Dance (Historical Dance Foundation, 1990), was first presented to the International Early Dance Institute in 1989.
With Robert Keller and David and Ginger Hildebrand, Keller is a founding member and Research Director of The Colonial Music Institute (1998). In 2007 her major work on early dance was published as Dance and Its Music in America, 1528–1789 (Pendragon Press). Recent work includes a study of the Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads (a web-site) for the American Antiquarian Society and an exhibit and two books on American musical clocks, 1730–1830.
A graduate of Vassar College (class of 1959), Keller did post-graduate work at the Hartford Conservatory of Music. She was an officer and Executive Director of The Society for American Music, formerly The Sonneck Society, from 1977 to 2000, representing the Society at the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage. A tireless worker on behalf of early American music, she was honored with the Society’s Distinguished Service Citation in 1995. She served as Curator of the Library and Archives of the Country Dance and Song Society from 1985 to 1992 and was named Honorary Member in 1993.
In recognition of her scholarly achievements, Keller was elected to membership in the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, Massachusetts in 2004 and awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 by the Society for American Music.
“Among Ye Rocks Westward”: The Story of Fox Hill Village, 1990–2015. Westwood, MA:
Fox Hill Village Homeowners Corporation, 2015.
Early American Musical Clocks, 1730–1830. North Grafton: Willard House and Clock Museum.
In preparation with Gary R. Sullivan.
The Music of Early American Clocks, 1730–1830.
North Grafton: Willard House and Clock Museum. In preparation with Gary R. Sullivan.
Contra Dances from New Hampshire, 1783. Annapolis: The Colonial Music Institute, 2012.
With George A. Fogg.
The Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballad Collection. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society. A web site.
Keeping Time: Musical Clocks of Early America 1730–1830, Exhibit Catalog. North Grafton: Willard House and
Clock Museum, 2013. With Gary R. Sullivan.
“Eighteenth-century hit parade: Early American musical clocks.” The Magazine Antiques, (Sept/Oct 2013): 132–39.
With Gary R. Sullivan.
Several entries in New Grove Dictionary of American Music.
The Star-Spangled Banner. Music of the War of 1812 in America. Annapolis, MD:
Colonial Music Institute. 2015.
The Anacreontic Song. Music of the War of 1812 in America. Annapolis, MD:
Colonial Music Institute. 2015.
Music of the War of 1812 in America. Annapolis:
Colonial Music Institute, 2011.
Printers of Ballads, Books, and Newspapers: Biographical Notes and Checklists for Nathaniel Coverly, Sr., Nathaniel
Coverly, Jr., and Joseph White. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 2008
“Nathaniel Coverly and Son, Printers, 1767–1825.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 17
(2007): 1:211–252, 2:451–469.
“Purveyor to the Peddlers: Nathaniel Coverly Jr., Printer of Songs for the Streets of Boston.” Life in the Streets
and Commons,1600 to the Present. Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife Annual Proceedings,
June 18, 2005. Boston: Boston University, 2007: 11–26.
Dance and Its Music in America, 1528–1789. Hillsdale: Pendragon Press, 2007.
“Dance in Colonial America.” Readex Report, 2/3 (Sept 2007), online.
“No Kissing Allowed in School!” A Virginia Dancing School in 1784. Annapolis:
Colonial Music Institute, 2006. With George Fogg
Dances for the Sun King: André Lorin’s “Livre de Contredance”. Several chapters and layout.
Annapolis: Colonial Music Institute, 2008.
“Forgery in the Music Library, A Cautionary Tale.” Notes 60/4 (June 2004): 865–892. With Gillian
Anderson and others.
Social Dances from 18th-Century Virginia: The Richmond Assemblies. Annapolis:
Colonial Music Institute, 2003. With George A. Fogg.
Early American Secular Music and its European Sources, 1589–1839: An Index. Annapolis:
Colonial Music Institute, 2002. An on-line data base compiled with Robert Keller, et al.
“The English Country Dance.” National Folk Dance Organization News (Spring 2002): 12–15
“Barbarini’s Tambourine—Who was Barbarini?” CDSS News 161 (July/August 2001): 7–8.
“Flute Music from Eighteenth-Century Lancaster: John Hoff’s Collection.” Journal of the Lancaster
County Historical Society 103/1 (Spring, 2001): 28–47.
“English Country Dance and The Playford Ball, 1651–1993.” I See America Dancing: Selected Readings, 1791–1990
by Maureen Needham. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2002: 61–65.
Country Dances from Colonial New York: James Alexander’s Notebook, 1730. Boston: Country Dance
Society, Boston Centre, 2000. With George A. Fogg
George Washington: Music for the First President, A Song Book. Sandy Hook: The Hendrickson
Group, 1999. Accompanies recording by David & Ginger Hildebrand
“Hezekiah Cantelo, 18th-century Dance Collector in Occupied New York.” Vistas of American Music:
Essays and Compositions in Honor of William K. Kearns. Ed. by Susan L. Porter and John
Graziano. Warren, MI: Harmonie Park Press, 1999: 19–38.
George Washington: A Biography in Social Dance. Sandy Hook: Hendrickson Group, 1998. With Charles Cyril Hendrickson.
Several entries in American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Chapter 3, “Secular music to 1800.” Cambridge History of American Music. Ed. by David Nicholls.
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1998: 49–77.
“The Eighteenth-Century Ballroom: A Mirror of Social Change.” New England Music: The Public
Sphere, 1600–1900. Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife Annual Proceedings, June 21–23, 1996.
Boston: Boston University, 1998: 16–29.
The Performing Arts in Colonial American Newspapers, 1690–1783. New York: University Music
Editions, 1997. With Mary Jane Corry and Robert M. Keller. A CD-ROM publication.
Several articles in Britain in the Hanoverian Age, 1714–1837, An Encyclopedia. Ed. By Gerald
Newman. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.
Fife Tunes from the American Revolution. Sandy Hook: Hendrickson Group, 1997.
“There are no waltzes in ‘The Last of the Mohicans.’” The Sonneck Society for American Music Bulletin
18/3 (Fall 1992): 97.
“Secular Music and Dance.” Encyclopedia of the North American Colonies, vol. 3. Ed. by J. E. Cooke.
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993: 364–374.
Fiddle Tunes from the American Revolution. Sandy Hook: Hendrickson Group, 1992.
Social Dances from the American Revolution. Sandy Hook: Hendrickson Group, 1992. With Charles
Songs from the American Revolution. Sandy Hook: Hendrickson Group, 1992.
“Finding Early American Music and Dance.” Harmonia (September, 1992): 7–8.
“Fiddle, Dance, and Sing with George Bush: A New Source of Eighteenth-Century Popular Music.”
Sonneck Society for American Music Bulletin 18/2 (Summer, 1992): 47–49.
“Last of the Mohicans.” Film produced by Michael Mann and Hunt Lowry, 20th Century Fox, 1992.
The Playford Ball, 103 Early English Country Dances, 1651–1820, as interpreted by Cecil Sharp and
his Followers. Pennington, NJ: A Cappella Press, 1990. With Genevieve Shimer. Also published
in Studies in Dance History, 1/2 (Spring/Summer 1990). 2nd edition, Northampton: Country
Dance and Song Society, 1994.
‘If the Company can do it!’ Technique in Eighteenth-Century American Social Dance. New York:
Historical Dance Foundation, 1990. Revised ed.: Sandy Hook: Hendrickson Group, 1992, 3rd ed.:
Annapolis: Colonial Music Institute, 2007.
“James Alexander’s Collection of Dances, New York, 1730.” In Israel J. Katz, ed. Libraries, History, Diplomacy, and the Performing Arts: Essays in Honor of Carleton Sprague Smith. Stuyvesant: Pendragon Press, 1991: 353-369.
“John Griffiths, 18th-century Itinerant Dancing Master and His Influence on Traditional Social Dance
in New England.” Itinerancy in New England and New York. Dublin Seminar for New England
Folklife, Annual Proceedings, 1984. Boston: Boston University, 1986: 90–111. Reprinted. Sandy Hook, CT: Hendrickson Group, 1989.
“A Bibliography of Eighteenth-Century American Social Dance,” Country Dance and Song (Spring
“Musical Clocks of Early America and Their Music.” Music & Automata (1985–1986): 2/6:84–96;
“Upon a Summer’s Day to The Federal March: Indexing British-American Melody, 1651–1800."
English Dance & Song 46/1 (Spring 1984): 18–21.
“Musical Clocks of Early America and Their Music.” Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and
Clock Collectors 24/3 (June, 1982): 252–316.
“Playford, Feuillet, and the Apple: New Techniques of Indexing Music.” Proceedings of the Dance
History Scholars Conference. [Cambridge]: Harvard University, 1982, 28–34.
Popular Secular Music in America through 1800: A Preliminary Checklist of Manuscripts in North
American Collections. Philadelphia: Music Library Association, 1981.
“Selected American Country Dances and Their English Sources,” Music in Colonial Massachusetts,
1630–1820. Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1981, 2–73.
National Tune Index 18th-Century Secular Music. New York: University Music Editions, 1980. With
National Tune Index Users Guide. New York: University Music Editions, 1980. With Carolyn Rabson
Connecticut’s Music in the Revolutionary Era. Hartford: American Revolution Bicentennial
Commission, 1980. With Ruth Wilson
“American Country Dances,” (recording). Country Dance in Connecticut, 1976, performer, director,
editor. Remastered and reissued by Hendrickson Group, 1988.
“Music of the American Revolution,” vol. 3 (recording) Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums, 1975.
Consultant for repertory and notes.
“Birth of Liberty” (recording). Recorded Anthology of American Music. New World Records, 1975.
Consultant for American Fife Ensemble.
A Choice Selection of American Country Dances 1775–1795. New York: Country Dance and Song
Society, 1975. With Ralph Sweet
Giles Gibbs, Jr., His Book for the Fife. Hartford: Connecticut Historical Society, 1974.