Bob KellerPhoto courtesy of Margaret Dimock.

Remembering Bob Keller


It is with sorrow that we announce that Robert Keller, 86, of Westwood, MA, passed away peacefully after a brief illness on March 4, 2021. Bob was a devoted husband to his late wife of almost 60 years, Kate (Kitty) Van Winkle Keller, and a loving father to his daughters.

Bob and Kitty became interested in early American music and dance during the bicentennial celebrations of 1976. Over the next few decades, they became specialists and renowned national experts on historical music and dance. In 1988, Bob developed an unique system of indexing country dance figures and has compiled several major indexes of English and American country dances including American Country Dances 1730–1810 and The Dancing Master CD-ROM and website. He participated in the development of The National Tune Index and managed the programming for The Performing Arts in Colonial American Newspapers. He is the principal author of Early American Music and its European Sources.

Together with David and Ginger Hildebrand, Bob and Kitty formed what would become the Colonial Music Institute, which promotes and encourages the understanding of early American history through music and dance. The importance of this work is reflected in the fact that it is now housed at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon.

Bob's passion for historical dance and music documentation, particularly material from the U.S. Colonial period, continued into his final years. Over the course of his life, his labor and research helped bring to us The Colonial Music Institute Indices, The Dancing Master Illustrated Compendium, and most recently in 2020, the Dancing Across the Pond online database, available in the CDSS Library. CDSS is honored to host and share Bob's wonderful work, resources that will be valuable assets to dance historians and callers for generations to come.

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