In my last post (“Letters to Mr. Scarlett”), I looked at some letters we discovered while processing materials for the CDSS Archives at UNH. These letters were from notable callers Ralph Page and Benjamin Lovett to one unknown “Andrew Scarlett”. Two readers wondered if there were any letters from Mr. Scarlett in the Ralph Page Collection at UNH. I went online and starting searching, virtually, through the boxes of correspondence and there it was — a letter from Mr. Andrew Scarlett, dated January 27, 1938. It is a reply to that first Ralph Page letter we have in the Hider collection.
Roland Goodbody, Curator of Special Collections at UNH, sent me a copy of the letter and all of a sudden Mr. Scarlett came alive. His penmanship and courtly writing made me think him old rather than young, but those were different days and polite writing was the norm.
You may recall that Page asked for “the Americanized version of Huntsman’s Chorus” and in the January 27 letter Scarlett obliges, writing: “The Huntsman’s Chorus is a grand folk dance with the universal appeal that pleases and thrills all groups. We use the Americanized form of the dance which differs from the English as baseball differs from cricket, or as the Declaration of Independence differs from Magna Carta. ”
Scarlett continues, writing: “The traditional music and dance was collected by Leta M. Douglas of Giggleswich, Yorkshire, England. It is published by her in a small collection of folk dances entitled Six Dances of the Yorkshire Dales Price 2/6 Postage 3d (that’s about .70 in our money).”
Scarlett suggests a visit to Page, “en route to my camp on Lake Winnepesaukee” [sic], and finishes his post with the observation that in the Oranges (New Jersey) they have five folk dance groups and a great many more in nearby New York “with its cosmopolitan population.” Even so, five groups is a wonderful number, whether they are cosmopolitan or not.
As far as the fate of the Page and Scarlett correspondence goes, Roland and I decided that, despite the correct rules of provenance, it is important that the letters be easily found if searched for. So, the Page letters in the CDSS Hider collection will join Mr. Scarletts’ reply in the Page collection. Copies of the letters and directions to the originals will stay with Hider.
And that, for the moment, is the end of the story of Mr. Scarlett and Mr. Page.
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If you are interested in donating to the CDSS Library or Archives please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org