09/13/17

The United States Constitution and Early Imprints From The Seton Hall Collection

Select Minutes from the U.S.                  Constitution Congress of 1787

On September 17th, 1787, the United States Constitution was approved by delegates to a special convention with the goal of creating a set of reasoned legal standards for those who would be elected to lead and share in the welfare of their new nation.  Since its ratification, the Constitution has provided the framework for a democratic form of government that has distinguished domestic leadership and its impact on the American populace over the past 230 years.  In more specific terms, the content found in this document outlines the continued aspiration for shared and balanced authority between the three branches of government – executive, judicial, and legislative not only nationally, but also on the state and local level.  The original authors were also aware that changes might be needed over time, and to date there have been 27 separate amendments made with the first ten comprising the Bill of Rights and the rest covering different aspects of civil equality.

Since its introduction, the Constitution has not only been a part of secular society since its official release, but from an academic perspective this text has been studied widely and given rise to special courses and independent study that stands alone, or paired with various disciplines from law to sociology to history among others.  A major part of this rise in wider interest came after the American Revolution concluded with the need for schools, growing literacy rates, and spread of print media as a means of educational outreach. These incentives helped to create the means of inform the public about legislative developments that impacted upon the citizens of a new and developing country.

Banner from the first pubic presentation of the United States Constitution (September 19, 1787)

 

The first unveiling of the Constitution to the masses came two days after it was finalized through the efforts of John Dunlap (1747-1812) who was the founding editor of The Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, the first daily newspaper in the United States.  This milestone gave rise to a series of printed books that offer full-text treatment along with details on the process of different sections were crafted, commentary on the subject matter, and significance of the final content depending upon each individual volume and its particular focus. The examples presented in this exhibit represent not only the first published copy, but also select early nineteenth century works that cover the words of first president George Washington, early amendments, and perspective from the New Jersey delegation representing the third state to officially ratify the Constitution.

The Federalist, on the new constitution. By Publius. Written in 1788. To which is added, Pacificus, on the proclamation of neutrality. Written in 1793. Likewise, the Federal Constitution, with all the amendments. 2 vols.  (New York: George F. Hopkins, at Washington’s Head, 1802)

Select bibliographic examples and relevant pages from our collection can be found not only within this post, but in the bound volumes located within our collection.  These include – The Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, No. 2690, 19 September 1787 (Facsimile extract from: Farrar, Frederic B. This common channel to independence: revolution and newspapers, 1759-1789. (Garden City, NY: Farrar Books, 1975); The Federalist, on the new constitution. By Publius. Written in 1788. To which is added, Pacificus, on the proclamation of neutrality. Written in 1793. Likewise, the Federal Constitution, with all the amendments. 2 vols.  (New York: George F. Hopkins, at Washington’s Head, 1802); and Eliott, Jonathan. The debates in the several state conventions on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, as recommended by the general convention at Philadelphia, in 1787. Together with the Journal of the Federal Convention, Luther Martin’s letter, Yate’s minutes, Congressional opinions, Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of ’98-’99, and other illustrations of the Constitution / collected and revised from contemporary publications by Jonathan Elliot. Published under the sanction of Congress. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1836)

In addition to these aforementioned works, further information on the United States Constitution and resources related to this subject area are accessible via the University Libraries through the following link –

U.S. Constitution – University Libraries Resources

More detail on the titles featured in this exhibit and additional volumes found within the Archives & Special Collections Center related to the United States Constitution can be referenced here –

U.S. Constitution – Archives & Special Collections Resources

 

  • Examples from our collection will be on exhibit through the end of September, 2017 in the Reading Room of the Archives & Special Collections Center located on the First Floor of Walsh Library.

For additional background on the United States Constitution and questions about relevant holdings and other research topics please feel free to contact us at – archives@shu.edu or (973) 761-9476.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

09/11/17

Archives News: Conservation of Pope Paul V Papal Bull

The Archives and Special Collections Center recently had conservation work performed on an early 17th century Papal Bull issued by Pope Paul V, who was Pope from 1605 until his death in 1621. The Papal Bull is a large vellum document with a lead seal attached by a cord. It was donated to the Archives by Dr. Herbert Kraft, a Professor Emeritus of anthropology at Seton Hall and director of the Seton Hall University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Pope Paul V was born Camilo Borghese in Rome in 1550. He studied jurisprudence at Perugia and Padua and became a renowned canon lawyer. He was made a cardinal in 1596 by Pope Clement VIII and was elected as Pope Leo XI’s successor in May 1605. Pope Paul V was most famous for persecuting Galileo for his defense of the heliocentric theory of Copernicus. He also canonized St. Charles Boromeo, Frances of Rome and Albert de Louvain and beatified Ignatius Loyola, Philip Neri, Teresa of Avila and Francis Xavier.

Before treatment - folded vellum obscuring text and decoration

Before treatment – folded vellum obscuring text and decoration

 

Prior to its conservation, the Papal Bull was folded several times and remained in a folded condition for so long that it was impossible to unfold without risking damage to the document. Conservators at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia were able to use a process of humidification, which is the controlled introduction of moisture, to increase the suppleness of the vellum and to allow the document to be unfolded and safely flattened. Once the document was flattened, they cleaned its surface with soft polyurethane sponges and mended a small hole in the vellum. Finally, the document and seal were housed in a custom-made mat designed to support the heavy lead seal and framed for easy displaying.

Flattening the document revealed intricate text and decoration

‘After treatment – flattening the document revealed intricate text and decoration

 

Before treatment - hole in velllum

Before treatment – hole in velllum

After treatment - hole repaired with mulberry paper and dilute gelatin

After treatment – hole repaired with mulberry paper and dilute gelatin

 

Conserving the Papal Bull revealed its text and intricate design. However, the beautiful, ornate script presented a challenge for translators. We consulted Dr. Michael Mascio in Seton Hall’s Classics Department for assistance with translating the document. He was unable to decipher the script, and conferred with a few colleagues around the country who also were unable to decipher it. On his recommendation we contacted a specialist in this area of script analysis, the Reverend Doctor Federico Gallo of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Italy. Rev. Dr. Gallo was able to work on the text during the summer months to provide us with a translation from the archaic Latin script to modern Latin. Dr. Michael Mascio is now working with Dr. Frederick Booth, also in Classics, to translate the modern Latin to English.

Archaic Latin script

This archaic Latin script proved difficult even for experts to decipher and translate.

08/28/17

Setonia in Stage and Song – Fall 2017 Exhibit

John Barrymore, famed actor and former Seton Hall College student, c. 1891.

On display during the Fall 2017 semester is an exhibit entitled: “Setonia in Stage & Song – South Orange & New Jersey Perspectives (1856-Present)” that features connections between the artistic legacy of early Seton Hall and how the contributions of students and alumni along with special visitors to campus have made the campus a perpetual home for creative expression.  The earliest examples of musical inclination came through the rental of instruments by students during the early 1860s which complimented classroom and public recitations along with a thriving Drama Society that produced programs in honor of different school, church, and national holidays. Counted among the most prolific individual actors of the late nineteenth and early-mid twentieth century who attended Seton Hall include John Barrymore (1882-1942) who was accepted by most critics as the foremost English-speaking actor of his time for his mastery of Hamlet and Richard III among other Shakespearean works, and Lionel Barrymore (1878-1954) known for his motion picture roles most notably in Dr. Kildare and It’s A Wonderful Life. A contemporary of theirs was Albert “Raoul” Walsh (1887-1980) who came to South Orange in the 1900s, a famed director known for his work on High Sierra and White Heat among others.

Seton Hall College Drama Society Playbill, c. 1880s

From the turn of the century onward, Seton Hall was home to further dramatic productions with heavy patronage and perpetual interest. Those who belonged to student organizations often collaborated with local Catholic colleges for joint performances, campus visits, radio broadcasts (local radio stations, and over national networks – Mutual and CBS), but also the Seton Hall Orchestra, the Schola Cantorum (Choral Group that sing the Gregorian Chant and Polyphony for High Mass), and Glee Club under the direction of noted musicologist and Head of the Department of Music – Nicola A. Montani, K.C. St. G.) were in demand for events including the signing of signature school songs namely – “The Alma Mater” and “March Setonia” along with others at the “Annual Concert” in Newark and other venues throughout the East Coast.  From the late 1940s onward, campus radio station W-S-O-U (the first college-operated FM outlet to hit the air in New Jersey) offered listeners radio dramas and also played host to such noted entertainers as Vaughn Monroe and Connie Francis (from nearby Newark) along with regularly scheduled live musical programs. This ranged the gamut from early vinyl (and later CD) from classical and opera to religious to their current heavy metal format, many artists have been played on campus airwaves and keep the appeal of music alive.

The Seton Hall College Orchestra, c. 1927

“March Setonia” record produced in the studios of W-S-O-U FM radio and sung by Vaughn Monroe, c. 1953.

Over the last half century, Seton Hall has produced a number of individuals who have been active in the entertainment business including actors Ron Carey (’56) (Barney Miller), Kevin “Chuck” Connors (The Rifleman and Old Yeller), Josephine Siao (Hong Kong actress), and producer E. Duke Vincent (’54) (Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place).  Many others have a connection to the school, but also those who visited our site for special concerts or recitations are legendary.  A number of locally famous individuals including Bruce Springsteen (and the E-Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, a Seton Hall student) (Freehold), Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Newark), Dionne Warwick (East Orange) and many others who graced our stages across campus over the last several decades.

The Four Seasons Tour Poster when they played Seton Hall University on December 10, 1967

Traditions have endured and adapted with the times with the Drama Society becoming known more widely as the “Theater-in-the-Round” with performances held in the Dougherty Student Center and as of the 2000s at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. Other groups including the Gospel Choir, Coffee House Concerts, Celtic Theater, and the Pep Band among others have kept alive traditions and brought new ones to campus to celebrate the creativity of our student population.  Like those early Setonians of the 1860s who were interested in music and expression, over the years the school has maintained a coursework in the applied arts (now known as Communication and the Arts) for those with an academic interest in the field.  Further concerts, productions, and related

Dionne Warwick of South Orange played Seton Hall in 1970.

contributions remain strong for the Setonia community to explore and share as we move forward into the 2017-18 semester and beyond.

This exhibit can be viewed on the first floor of Walsh Library (across from the stairway) through the Fall 2017 semester.  For more information about this and related school history please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist by phone: (973) 275-2378, or via e-mail: <Alan.Delozier@shu.edu>

08/22/17

Highlights from the Catholic Right Ephemera collection: Fiat newspapers

The Archives and Special Collections Center recently acquired a small collection of Catholic Right Ephemera. Among these materials is an incomplete run of the rare Irish newspaper Fiat. Fiat was the monthly newspaper of the Maria Duce movement, which was a small ultraconservative Catholic group founded in Ireland in 1945. The group’s founder Fr. Denis Fahey was an Irish Catholic priest who was born in the village of Golden, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1883. He entered the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Fathers at the age of 17 and studied in France and Rome before returning to Ireland in 1912, where he was appointed professor of philosophy at the Senior Scholasticate of the Irish Province of the Holy Ghost Fathers at Kimmage, Dublin. Fahey is best known for his writings, which were widely distributed and controversial. He was forcefully opposed to anything he perceived as an attempt to go against God’s divine plan. Fahey was especially critical of naturalism, a philosophical viewpoint that proposes that only natural forces are at work in the world, discounting the spiritual or divine. This put him in conflict with systems that he felt promoted naturalism, including communism, Freemasonry, and Rabbinic Judaism.

Front page of Fiat newspaper showing Father Fahey obituary

The Maria Duce movement grew out of a study circle held by Fr. Fahey. There was some secrecy surrounding the group so exact membership numbers are not known, but it is estimated that at its peak it probably did not exceed one hundred members. One of the most notable activities of the Maria Duce organization was its campaign to amend Article 44 of the Irish Constitution of 1937, which recognized the “special position” of the Catholic Church in Ireland, but also recognized Jewish congregations and several Protestant groups. In his writings Fahey called for stronger recognition of the Catholic Church by the Irish Constitution, and objected to the fact that Article 44 placed it on the same level as other religions. From 1949 to 1951 Maria Duce members circulated petitions calling for the article to be amended to reflect the Catholic Church as the “one true church” of Ireland. However, the campaign was largely unsuccessful because it was not able to secure the backing of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid of Dublin. The movement lost momentum after the failed campaign and Fahey’s death in 1954. In 1955 Archbishop McQuaid ordered the group to change its name as an indication that it did not have official church support. The group continued publishing Fiat into the 1970s under the name Fírinne, and eventually dissolved.

Front page of Fiat newspapre showing the headline "Revolt Against God"

For more information about the Fiat newspapers or the Catholic Right Ephemera collection, visit the Archives or contact us at archives@shu.edu or (973)-761-9476.

References:

DELANEY, EDNA. (2011). Anti-Communism in Mid-Twentieth-Century Ireland. The English Historical Review, vol. 126, no. 521, 2011, pp. 878–903.

DELANEY, EDNA. (2001). Political Catholicism in Post-war Ireland: The Revd Denis Fahey and Maria Duce, 1945-54. The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 52(3), 487-511.

08/2/17

New Exhibit Features Anti-Catholic Ephemera

The papists bloody oath of secrecy, and letany of intercession for the carrying on of this present plot

The papists bloody oath of secrecy, and letany of intercession for the carrying on of this present plot. Robert Bolron, London: Printed for R. Taylor, 1680.

A new exhibit in the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center Reading Room highlights materials from our Anti-Catholic Ephemera collection. This small collection dates from 1765-1952.  It contains several pamphlets expressing anti-Catholic sentiment and denouncing Catholicism. Although they are not displayed in this exhibit, the collection also includes some materials relating to the Philadelphia Nativist Riots, in which Protestant nativist groups lashed out against Irish Catholic immigrants and burned several Catholic churches. In addition to materials from the Anti-Catholic Ephemera collection, several of the items in the exhibit are from our Rare Books collection.

Let's test Catholic loyalty

“Let’s Test Catholic Loyalty” – a pamphlet by the Knights of Columbus in response to Anti-Catholicism, 1952.

Anti-Catholicism grew out of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, and continues in some forms today. It was most common in countries that were majority-Protestant, such as Great Britain and the United States, and sometimes led to discrimination and violence. Catholics were often derogatorily referred to as “papists” or “Romanists,” and were suspected of remaining loyal to the Vatican rather than their countries. Anti-Catholic sentiment overlapped with movements such as nativism when majority-Protestant countries experienced an influx of Catholic immigrants.

Some of the items featured in this exhibit include “Let’s Test Catholic Loyalty,” a 1952 pamphlet produced by the Knights of Columbus as a response to Anti-Catholicism; Popish idolatry; a discourse delivered in the Chapel of Harvard-College in Cambridge, New-England by Jonathan Mayhew, 1765; and The papists bloody oath of secrecy, and letany of intercession for the carrying on of this present plot by Robert Bolron, printed in London in 1680. This document relates to the “Popish plot” and murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, an English magistrate whose mysterious death stirred up Anti-Catholic turmoil in England.

For more information about the exhibit or the Anti-Catholic Ephemera collection, stop by the Archives or contact us at archives@shu.edu or (973)761-9476.

Popish Idolatry: A Discourse

Popish idolatry; a discourse delivered in the Chapel of Harvard-College in Cambridge, New-England. Jonathan Mayhew, 1765

The narrative of Mr. William Boys, citizen of London

The narrative of Mr. William Boys, citizen of London. William Boys, London: Printed for Dorman Newman …, 1680.

A discourse on the errors of popery

A discourse on the errors of popery : delivered in the chapel of the University in Cambridge, September 4, 1793, at the lecture founded by the Honourable Paul Dudley, Esquire. John Lathrop, D.D.A.A.S. Pastor of the Second Church in Boston, 1793

"Carta em que um amigo sendo consultado por outro sobre a inteligencia da lei do primeiro de Agosto de 1774", Anti-Church Law Explained

“Carta em que um amigo sendo consultado por outro sobre a inteligencia da lei do primeiro de Agosto de 1774”, Anti-Church Law Explained. Lisboa: Na Regia Officina Typografica, 1774.

 

07/20/17

New Acquisitions in the Archives & Special Collections Center

The Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center recently acquired two new rare books:

Ordo Romanvs De Officio Missae, authored by Georg Cassander (1513-1566), was issued with another of Cassander’s works, Litvrgica de ritv et ordine dominicae coenae celebrandae, and sold as a single volume. Working towards the reunification of Catholics and Protestants, Cassander sought common ground in the teachings of the early Church. In his writings, he draws upon the importance of the immutable texts of the Mass, and references ancient, medieval, and modern writers to state his case.

 Georg Cassander. Ordo Romanus de officio Missae. Issued with Litvrgica de ritv et ordine dominicae coenae celebrandae. Cologne: Heirs of A. Birckmann, 1561.

Georg Cassander. Ordo Romanvs de officio Missae. Issued with Litvrgica de ritv et ordine dominicae coenae celebrandae. Cologne: Heirs of A. Birckmann, 1561.

Pacôme’s description of the Cistercian monastery at La Trappe, Description du plan en relief de l’abbaye de la Trappe, features etched illustrations showing exteriors and interiors of the abbey, scenes of daily life, agriculture, communal meals, and the journey of the exiled James II of England. The description was meant to accompany a sixteen-by-fourteen foot scale model of the monastery, commissioned by the Abbot to be presented to Louis XVIII.

Pacôme, Delorme, frère. fl. 1708. Description Du Plan En Relief De L'Abbaye De La Trappe. Paris: J. Collombat 1708.

Pacôme, Delorme, frère. fl. 1708. Description Du Plan En Relief De L’Abbaye De La Trappe. Paris: J. Collombat 1708.

 

Cassander, Georg (1513-1566). Ordo Romanvs De Officio Missae. [Issued with: Litvrgica de ritv et ordine dominicae coenae celebrandae]. Cologne: Heirs of A. Birckmann 1561.

Pacôme, Delorme, frère. fl. 1708. Description Du Plan En Relief De L’Abbaye De La Trappe. Paris: J. Collombat 1708.

07/6/17

Highlights from the Rare Book Collection: Aldine Press

These two volumes of the works of Cicero, which are part of the Tullio Ascarelli collection, are examples of books from the Aldine press. The Aldine press was founded in Venice by Aldus Manutius (Aldo Manuzio, c. 1449-1515). Manutius was educated as a humanist and sought to preserve classical Greek literature by printing many significant Greek works. He also printed notable Latin and Italian authors. Manutius is also known for his contributions to typography. His firm was the first to use italic type, and introduced books in the octavo format, which can be considered as the equivalent of the modern paperback. His goal was to print small, inexpensive books for scholars. Books published by the Aldine press can be identified by the unique printer’s device, which depicts a dolphin and an anchor. After his death, Manutius’ firm was carried on by his son Paulus, followed by his grandson, Aldus.

M.T. Ciceronis epistolarum ad Atticum, ad Brutum was printed in 1513, presumably under the direction of Aldus Manutius. Rhetoricorum ad C. Herennium was printed under the direction of Manutius’ son Paulus (Paolo) in 1559.

M.T. Ciceronis epistolarum ad Atticum, ad Brutum // ad Quintum fratrem, libri XX.

M.T. Ciceronis epistolarum ad Atticum, ad Brutum // ad Quintum fratrem, libri XX.

Rhetoricorum ad C. Herennium libri IIII. incerto auctore

Rhetoricorum ad C. Herennium libri IIII. incerto auctore.

References:

“Aldus Manutius.” In The Columbia Encyclopedia, by Paul Lagasse, and Columbia University. 7th ed. Columbia University Press, 2017. 

“Aldus (?1450 – 1515).” In Thames & Hudson Dictionary of the Italian Renaissance, The, edited by J. R. Hale. Thames & Hudson, 2006.

“Aldine Collection.” Stanford Libraries.

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, and Aldo Manuzio, Andreas Torresanus, de Asula, Titus Pomponius Atticus, M Junius Brutus. M.T. Ciceronis epistolarum ad Atticum, ad Brutum // ad Quintum fratrem, libri XX. Venetiis : In aedibus Aldi, et Andreae soceri., mense Iunio 1513.

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, and Paolo Manuzio. Rhetoricorum ad C. Herennium libri IIII. incerto auctore. Venetiis: Apud Paulum Manutium, 1559 [Colophon: Venetiis, apvd Pavlvm Manvtivm, Aldi filivm, M.D. LIX.].

06/19/17

Highlights from the Rare Book Collection: Directorium inquisitorum

The Directorium inquisitorum was written by Spanish theologian Nicholas Eymeric (c. 1320-1399), who was appointed grand inquisitor of Aragon in 1357. Intended to be a guide for inquisitors, the Directorium inquisitorum elaborates on hundreds of heresies and prosecution procedures, categories of offenses like witchcraft, as well as the belief system of the Inquisition. It also influenced later texts such as the Malleus maleficarum (Hammer of witches, 1486), and remained an important volume well into the 17th century.

The text was first printed as early as 1376. This edition, printed in 1578, is the second Italian printing, and third edition overall. It includes commentary by Francesco Pegna (Peña, c. 1540-1612), an Aragonese canonist with connections to the Roman Curia.

Directorium inquisitorum R.P.F. Nicolai Eymerici

Directorium inquisitorum R.P.F. Nicolai Eymerici, … ; Nicolai Eymeric; Frances Peña. Romae: In aedibus pop. rom., 1578.

Directorium inquisitorum R.P.F. Nicolai Eymerici, … ; Nicolai Eymeric; Frances Peña. Romae: In aedibus pop. rom., 1578.

06/12/17

Recent Finds in the Archives & Special Collections Center

The Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center has in its rare book collection a copy of Gratian’s Decretum, with commentary by Bartholomaeus Brixiensis and Johannes Teutonicus Zemeke. This edition was printed in Strassburg by Johann Grüninger in 1484. It is one of the few examples of incunabula in our rare book collection. “Incunabula” are books printed in Europe prior to 1501.

Gratian’s Decretum was first published in the twelfth century as a textbook of canon law. Although the Church never formally recognized it as the official version of canon law, Decretum was widely used in the study of canon law from the mid-twelfth to the early twentieth century. Commonly referred to as the Decretum Gratiani, this text is comprised of excerpts from a variety of authorities, including church councils, papal letters, penitentials, Roman civil law, regulations of Germanic rulers, and the writings of Church fathers. Gratian’s goal was to resolve discrepancies among canons, and organize the vast amount of rules governing the Church into a comprehensible legal system.

Gratian's Decretum.

Gratian’s Decretum.

Another notable find in the Archives is a proclamation by King George III. The proclamation is dated May 15, 1770. It appears to grant a parcel of land along the Hudson River in Orange County, New York to two disbanded non-commission officers, Archibald Brecken and William Arison, who had served in North America.

King George III was Great Britain’s longest-reigning monarch prior to Queen Victoria, ruling from 1760 to his death in 1820. During his reign he sought to root out political corruption in Britain and enforced unpopular taxes on the American Colonies, which eventually led to the American Revolution.

Proclamation by King George III.

Proclamation by King George III.

References:

Brundage, James A. The Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. Accessed June 8, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central.

George III. Biography.com. Accessed June 8, 2017

“George III, king of Great Britain and Ireland.” In The Columbia Encyclopedia, by Paul Lagasse, and Columbia University. 7th ed. Columbia University Press, 2017.

Gratianus (12th century). Decretum. With commentary by Bartholomaeus Brixiensis (c. 1200-1258) and Johannes Teutonicus Zemeke (d. 1245). Printed in Strassburg by Johann Grüninger, 4 Sept. 1484. 

05/15/17

Reading Ancient Éire – Oldest Volumes in the Setonia Irish Collection

When it comes to understanding print culture and erudition potential in seventeenth century Ireland this era provided an early look at how published communication would take on deeper and more wide-spread significance over time  As scholar Raymond Gillespie noted in his work – Reading Ireland : Print, Reading and Social Change in Early Modern Ireland (Manchester University Press, 2005)  he wrote that the early-mid 1600s was a burgeoning and “revolutionary” time in the Irish publishing industry which fit natural learning objectives and needs.  In other words . . .

“The conditions of print for instance, instructed their followers how to read the Bible, and lawyers and politicians thought they knew how statutes could best be read. These social, political, economic, institutional and cultural frames which surrounded both reading and printing provide a point of departure in understanding the world of print in early modern Ireland.”

Gillespie went on to note that this was an era when the oral tradition was giving way to a growing print culture.  In addition, those of the middle and upper class typically viewed manuscripts as “sources of authority” when it came to the recording and transferal of information as found on the printed page.  The status symbol of collecting books was rated high among those who had the means to purchase and preserve them.  Gillespie went on to add that . . .

“Books by their ability to spread ideas, in conjunction with manuscripts and the spoken word, could be either socially cohesive or disruptive. They also had another more tangible social attribute since the book as object also had the power to carry a wide range of messages. The collecting of books for display in private libraries, for example, was seen as an indicator of social status. A large library, whether read or not, could act as a sign of learning, or pretention to learning.”

With this context in mind, latter day scribes, publishers, and book collectors have provided the foundation for libraries and related information centers to promote educational support on various levels including that of our Irish texts holdings at Seton Hall University.

Since the early 1950s, the library of noted writer and bibliophile Meagher Joseph (M.J.) MacManus (1888-1951) have been housed on the campus of Seton Hall University.  The diversity of the titles collected during his lifetime numbered in the thousands and have been the core of a consolidated Irish-centered collection that actively serves our research community to this day.  The vision of MacManus went back centuries and covers a wide-range of subject areas with a particular emphasis on history, biography, political science, and religion among other themes that make up the Irish experience.  There were also no limits imposed on how old the books had to be when it came to building his substantial library.  With this in mind, the lasting legacy of his bibliography contains volumes dating to the 1600s and leading up to his untimely death during the early 1950s.

Among the three oldest surviving volumes found in our combined Irish collections are ones found in English, French, Latin, and/or Irish with each constituting their own story within a story based on the content and what the seventeenth century reader learned and what remains by way of reference text for the reader of these works.  Included are the following examples . . .

Le primer report des cases & matters en ley resolue & adiudge en les Courts del Roy en Ireland [1604-1612], by Sir John Davies and Ireland, Courts, 1st ed. (Dublin: Iohn Franckton, 1615)

Le primer report des cases & matters en ley resolue & adiudge en les Courts del Roy en Ireland

This work was a French language publication and translates to – “A report of cases and matters in law: resolved and adjudged in the King’s Courts in Ireland [1604-1612]” in the English and is a legal review and digest-oriented volume.  The monarch who ruled over Ireland during this time period was James I (1566-1625) who reigned over Éire from 1603 until his death two decades later and held jurisdiction over the isle during the time this work came to light.  This text was also one of the earliest legal reference works of any type found in our holdings catalog.

Analecta sacra, nova et mira de rebus catholicorvm in Hibernia pro fide & religione gestis, diuisa in tres partes, quarum I continet semestrem grauaminum relationem, secunda hac editone nouis adauctam additamentis & notis illustratam, Il paraenesin ad martyres designatos, III processum martyrialem quoru(n)dam fidei pugilum, by David Rothe (Coloniae, apud Stephanum Rolinum, 1617) [581 pp.]

Analecta sacra, nova et mira de rebus catholicorvm in Hibernia

An early Latin text related to Ireland when translated into English reads – “(Analecta sacra) and for the faith of the new religion in Ireland, and, the marvelous tales of the deeds of the things Catholic, divided into three parts, one of which contains the six months old burdens the relations of 1. the second edition of this new (adauctam) additions in terms of (notis) illustrate, 2. (paraenesin) to the elect, and the martyrs, 3. the process of martyrialem (Quorum dam) of champions.”  Among those named in the text are Dermod O’Hurley and Richard Creagh, Archbishops of Cashel and Armagh and Primate of Ireland respectively who exercised spiritual guidance to their congregations during the early-mid seventeenth century and provides the researcher with a review of early Irish ecclesiastical history.

Tiomna Nuadh ar dTighearna agus ar Slanuigheora Iósa Criosd: ar na ṫarrv₁ng go firn̄eac̓ as Greigis go Giodeilg, by William Daniel and Andrew Sall; Robert Boyle, ed.; Huilliam O’Domhnuill, trans. 1st ed. (A Lunnduin: Ar na c̓ur a geló rē Robert Ebheringṫam, an blíaḋain dc̳óis an Tiġęrna, 1681) [364 pps.]

Tiomna Nuadh ar dTighearna agus ar Slanuigheora Iósa Criosd

This tome when loosely translated into the English centers upon the “New Testament and Our Jesus Christ” as its central theme.  The book proper was financed by a gentleman by the name of Robert Boyle (1627-1691) who also served as editor of the work.  The rarity of Irish language works within our collection (and beyond) was based on limited economic opportunities, total number of Irish readers, and problems with surplus storage among others factors that faced those who had no access to these specialized writings.  However, certain texts such as these were connected to religious reference and in the vernacular of the citizenry at large.

Within the broader context of Irish history, these books were published a few decades after the Nine Years’ War of 1594 and the flight of Hugh O’Neil and Red Hugh O’Donnell against Elizabeth I in Ulster, establishment of the Plantation of Ulster by Scottish Presbyterians in 1607 and a prelude to the Irish Rebellion of 1641.  From here further works were produced that highlighted circle of life in Éire representative of the leaders, religious, and others who contributed to its historical development overall.

For more information and questions about these and other books in our library please consult our Irish Studies Research Guide for more information and details and/or contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist via e-mail at – Alan.Delozier@shu.edu