Since its inception in 1899 as the Journal of the Folk-Song Society, the Journal has had a long and auspicious history. From 1932 onwards, it incorporated dance within its brief as the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and assumed its current title in 1965. Many eminent scholars have been associated with the Journal. These include Lucy Broadwood, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Kidson, Percy Grainger, Lady Gomme, Cecil Sharp, Frank Howes, Anne Geddes Gilchrist, Patrick Shuldham-Shaw, Maud Karpeles, Margaret Dean-Smith, Douglas Kennedy, A.L. Lloyd, and more recently, Mike Yates, David Buchan, Roy Palmer, and Keith Chandler.
Before its amalgamation with the Folk Song Society in 1931, the English Folk Dance Society also had a distinguished publishing programme. Its journal was published in two series, the first as The English Folk Dance Society's Journal in 1914-1915, the second as Journal of the English Folk Dance Society from 1927 until the merger.