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Archive & Library Collecting Policy

The Morris Federation places primary emphasis on Morris, sword and related traditional dance and collects comprehensively in this area.  However, in recognition of the fact the Morris Federation began as the Women’s Morris Federation the Library collects material about the origins, history and development of Morris dance by women.  Specifically, the Library collects significant books, scholarly journals, audio and video recordings, electronic media, and ethnographic field collections (to give a few examples) concerning Morris dancing.  Materials rendered in English and all other languages are collected.  As collections are acquired, we will change priorities for collecting.  As we become aware of gaps in the collections we will add these to the priorities.


(i)         Books and Periodicals

The Library will endeavour to acquire for its permanent collection monographs and serials that contribute to research about the history, theories, genres, styles, and performance of Morris in all its variety within the following guidelines:

The Library will maintain collections of:

  • works published in the United Kingdom
  • works on Morris published abroad
  • works published abroad about related traditional dance forms of countries other than the United Kingdom and works published by foreign scholars and other important figures in the field (including prominent tradition bearers) of national or international significance.


(ii)         Paper-based Records

The Library will maintain research-level collections about the history and development of The Morris Federation and The Women’s Morris Federation. The Library will collect the papers of important scholars and collectors. The Library will also collect the papers of traditional dancers and musicians, and related craftspeople of local, national and international significance, including notes and associated catalogues of audiotapes, videotapes, motion pictures, photographs, and digital recordings made in the field and at workshops and instructionals. The Library will maintain selected publications and collections of the institutional papers of dance organisations and related folk organisations.

(iii)         Sound and Moving-Image Recordings

The Library will acquire sound and moving image recordings in any format that document

Morris in context; explicate the history, forms, functions, and/or styles of traditions.

(iv)        Photographs

The Library will acquire original colour and black-and-white photographs in any format depicting traditional dance in context, material culture, and folk dance scholars of national or international significance. In general, images of member sides will be of highest interest.

(v)          Ephemera

The Library will maintain research-level collections of ephemera concerning Morris, including such items as posters advertising performances of folk dance, folk festival programs, folk organisation newsletters, and newspaper articles on aspects of Morris in the United Kingdom.

Collecting Priorities:  Archive of The Morris Federation

A guiding principle for Morris Federation acquisitions is broad representation, both nationally and

internationally, of Morris dancers and musicians, dance sides and related traditions.  Areas in need of strengthening are:

(i)         Original, unpublished field documentation (e.g., audio recordings, motion pictures, photographs, field notes) of Morris dance in the United Kingdom and abroad, and field documentation of related traditions in context, also in the United Kingdom and abroad.

(a)        Published and unpublished materials concerning the regional variants of Morris in the United Kingdom

(b)        Published and unpublished materials concerning calendar customs practised in the United Kingdom with related dance traditions (e.g., New Year, Plough Monday, Boxing Day).

(ii)         Multi-format documentation that constitutes the work of leading researchers and other traditional dance specialists, or the careers and history of Morris dancers, musicians and sides

(iii)        Original, unpublished sound recordings, motion pictures, photographs, digital material, and other documentation of folk festivals and other public programs of national or international significance that feature traditional dancers and musicians, and other related performers.

(iv)        Original, unpublished audio and video recordings of interviews with former dancers and musicians, including those who participated in Morris and related dance forms as schoolchildren.


In general, the Library does not collect three-dimensional artefacts (e.g., swords, garlands, costumes) that are products of folk dance.

Materials that are not considered to be of national or local significance are generally not considered to be of high priority. Persons offering collections that do not meet this criterion may be advised to contact local or regional archives, museums or other appropriate repositories.


Last Updated: November 2020



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