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Jack Murtha Papers

Identifier: D101


This collection contains memorabilia from Jack Murtha's career as a square dance caller and his active life within the square dancing community, including awards, a portrait, and some clothing.


  • 1981-1999

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright not evaluated: The copyright and related rights status of this Item has not been evaluated. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. See:

Biographical / Historical

Jack Murtha was involved in square dancing beginning in college. Jack served as the original Director of Woodleaf Outdoor School and developed a square dance teaching program for elementary schools. Jack developed the Diamond System, a series of records and written instructions, which made it possible for other callers and dancers to enjoy the hobby. This system is still in use in many places around the world today. For over ten years, Jack and Thelma, his wife, flew to China to teach the Chinese dance leaders to dance, teach, and call American square dances. The Murthas played a major role in bringing a group of Chinese dance leaders to America where they attended the Callerlab Convention in Los Angeles. Jack attended Callerlab Conventions and over the years he served on a number of important committees and was chairman of several. He received the Chairman's Recognition Award for his dedicated service to the organization and to square dancing. For many years Jack maintained an archives of square dancing, recording the backgrounds and experiences of many of the activities' leaders. Jack passed away in July 1999 and was posthumously awarded Callerlab's highest honor, the Milestone Award, in 2001.


4.5 Linear Feet (5 containers)

Scope and Contents

This collection contains four (4) square dance awards given to Jack Murtha, a magazine cover with Murtha on it, and a photograph of a square dance. It also contains pins from events and groups, clothing Jack Murtha wore, and a painted portrait of Jack Murtha.


This collection is arranged into three (3) series: Awards and Realia, Textiles, Framed Objects.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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