South Orange and Seton Hall – Local Research Ties

Seton Hall has enjoyed a historical relationship with the Village of South Orange since the school established their campus within its boundaries after moving from nearby Madison in 1860.  The original land which constitutes the present-day South Orange was purchased by Robert Treat (also acknowledged as the founder of Newark) from officials of the Lenni Lenape tribe around 1666. This led to official settlement by the Brown brothers (Joseph and Thomas) who built a farmstead along the present-day South Orange Avenue by 1680 that ultimately set the stage for the development of Setonia in due course.

Over the next few centuries this area experienced steady development in terms of a resort town during the 1800s and subsequent year-round residential growth.  This was in large measure made possible when South Orange became a transportation hub for the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad as of 1869 when the area was also incorporated as South Orange Township (that originally contained present-day Maplewood before this municipality became independent) and made for a prime destination that appealed to commuters, visitors, and students from across the metropolitan area.  South Orange is also known for its distinctive gas light posts and these illuminations served a symbolic and practical purpose for both hometown citizens and those affiliated with the college.  These milestones and others have led to many joint landmarks and project building initiatives over time.

Beyond this brief overview of local history, there are many layers of research potential that bond “town and gown” together including prominent individuals, property data, shared events, and many other topics of note.  Specific examples of collections found within our repository include, but are not limited to various files related to past University Presidents, Velotto South Orange Postcard Collection, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish files, and many other examples found through our Rare Book and various manuscript-based holdings.  More information and leads can be found via our homepage-based search engine – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?q[]=south+orange&op[]=&field[]=keyword&from_year[]=&to_year[]=&filter_fields[]=repository&filter_values[]=%2Frepositories%2F2

Along with our own resource base and work in preserving historical school records within the context of the town has been a constant.  Research tools of various types are available within the University Libraries and through its book catalog, databases, and different electronic-based sites.  Specialized connections have also been made with the South Orange Public Library, South Orange Historical Preservation Society, and other organizations and individuals around the area have provided valuable research connections over the years Further details can be located within a specially created Library Reference Guide devoted to South Orange resources found within the following link – https://library.shu.edu/south-orange

For more information on resources related to Seton Hall, South Orange, and other aspects of local history please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist via e-mail at: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or by phone: (973) 275-2378.

Object of the Month – Flemish Madonna and Child

Flemish Madonna and Child Statue
painted wood statue
71” x 36” x 22”
17th century
73.3.1
Gift of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary – Summit, New Jersey

The Madonna and Child was part of a pair of statues that represented St. Godelieve and were carved for the eponymously named abbey in Bruges, Belgium. The sculpture made its way to the United States sometime in the early 20th century. Documentation shows it was on display in 1933 at the Chicago Progress Exhibition, after which it came into the possession of an art dealer in New York who subsequently donated it to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, a Dominican Monastery, in 1963. In 1965, the statue was accepted into the Seton Hall University Collections. From 1994 until 2016, the statue was installed in the Art Center until being moved to its present location in the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center.

College life in the 1870s: John Erigena Robinson’s diary

The Archives & Special Collections Center recently acquired a historic diary of a Seton Hall student, which provides interesting glimpses into what it was like to attend Seton Hall College in the 19th century. The diary was written by John Erigena Robinson, who graduated from Seton Hall College in 1874. His diary concerns his everyday life at the college, including worrying about assignments, writing letters to his family and friends, and playing for the college’s baseball team. The campus that Robinson studied at during the mid-1870s was one that centered on a structured, liberal arts education that was emblematic of Catholic higher education during his age. He entered into a world of study at Setonia that consisted of two sessions lasting five months apiece from September through June.

Front cover of John Erigena Robinson's diary
Front cover of John Erigena Robinson’s diary

According to his recollections, Robinson primarily lived on campus during the school year, but on many weekends and holidays he would travel the roughly 24 miles from South Orange to Manhattan via the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad roughly three hours or more round trip to visit family and friends and then reverse his commute prior to the resumption of classes.  After walking from the train station to campus he would study on campus in a setting where “The College buildings are of great architectural beauty, large and commodious . . . ” and quite different in setting with the Orange Mountains in the background as opposed to the more congested streets of Brooklyn.  Along with the scenery and the structures where he would spend most of his time while at the school, Robinson entered a world that was structured and included a liberal arts curriculum of long standing.

A view of Seton Hall College from 1875
A view of Seton Hall College from 1875

Beyond the classroom, Robinson played baseball for the Seton Hall nine also commonly known in that age as the Alerts which began as a popular sport on campus during the late 1860s and engaged in more formal play the following decade.  According to existing documentation they played local teams mainly their arch-rivals St. John’s College (now known as Fordham) of the Bronx during the 1873 season.  The main highlight of his time was a defeat of St. John’s 24-13 during October of that year which carried the squad into the following campaign where they would play the same opponent twice more.  Robinson would be among the pioneer players for the team that would grow in competitiveness and success over subsequent seasons.

One of the earliest photographs of Seton Hall College's baseball team, The Alerts, taken in the early 1890s.
One of the earliest photographs of Seton Hall College’s baseball team, The Alerts, taken in the early 1890s.

John Erigena Robinson was the son of William Erigena Robinson, a congressman and a journalist whose political career is mentioned several times in the diary. Robinson must have been inspired by his father’s journalistic pursuits, because he writes in the diary about his desire to start a student newspaper for Seton Hall College. On January 26, 1873 he wrote:

“To start a paper. How, when, and where? These were the things that occupied me during the day and I may add during the night as I went to bed and fell asleep with visions of shears scraps and papers flying here and there. If we can only get the permission of Malley who owns a press and of Dr. Corrigan who heads the College we are all right. We have fixed the name it is the Setonian. We have got the outline and the matter for each page and now for the permission of the two worthies who at least in this case have a great case in hand!”

Unfortunately, Robinson never realized his dream of starting The Setonian. A full explanation is never given in the diary, but on February 14, 1873 he laments that his plans will not come to fruition:

“George and Bill received a valentine today. I also received one. It had a picture of an editor on it and some ridiculous rhyming lines beneath it. It was sent to me as it had got around that I was going to start a paper in the college. Alas, the poor ‘Setonian’ is but a dream of the past.”

The reasons why Robinson was not able to start a college newspaper are unknown, but fortunately for Seton Hall it was not completely “a dream of the past” but simply deferred. A college newspaper was eventually founded in 1924—51 years after Robinson’s plans and with the same name he proposed, The Setonian.

Front page of the first issue of the Setonian
The first issue of the Setonian was released on March 15, 1924, 51 years after Robinson’s initial attempt to start a newspaper for Seton Hall College.

After graduation, Robinson returned home to Brooklyn and filled his days by playing baseball and meeting with friends. When the school year re-commences and he does not return to Seton Hall, he muses in his diary:

“First day of September. Tomorrow school opens. I have no fears of the morrow. The noisy Setonia cricket no longer hears my tramp. The boys no longer shake me by the hand. The prefect no longer smiles in anticipation of the sarcasm and the lines he will burden me with. Such is the past. The future is alone known to God. Played ball.”

Handwritten entry in Robinson's diary reflecting on Seton Hall College
Handwritten entry in Robinson’s diary reflecting on Seton Hall College

Like many Seton Hall students, Robinson felt a connection to the College that extended well beyond his graduation, and further diary entries indicate that he remains aware of what is happening there and stays in touch with friends he met in school. His diary provides insight into the ways that student life has changed over the years, but also ways it has remained the same. For more information or to view the diary please make an appointment with Brianna LoSardo or Alan Delozier. We can be contacted at archives@shu.edu or (973)-761-9476.

Studying Ireland, Irish Resources in the Archives and Special Collections Center

With March upon us an increased interest in learning about the culture, history, individuals, events, and traditions associated with the Irish experience is both evident and welcome!  However, when it comes to finding resources related to both Éire proper and Irish-America alike we offer year-round opportunities to study a wide-range of subject areas related to, and inspired by Ireland proper.

The Archives & Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University features a group of printed volumes from the collection of Irish literary figure and noted book collector Michael Joseph (Meagher) MacManus (1888-1951) who wrote various nationalist-themed books and worked as editor of the Irish Press from 1931 until his death two decades later. This library includes over 3,000 titles dating from the seventeenth century to the present day and covers several different aspects of Irish and Irish-American life including culture, geography, literature, politics, biography, history and religion. Nearly all editions are printed in either English or Irish (Gaelach).  The core of this collection consists of acquisitions secured by MacManus during his lifetime, but arrangements have been made to add latter day works to what has become a continuously expanding bibliography.

Most of these volumes of the volumes found in the MacManus Collection are housed in our repository, but many non-rare titles featuring a connection to the Ireland and Irish-American experience in some manner are also included via our databases (including the JSTOR Irish Studies Collection – https://www.jstor.org/subject/irishstudies and the digital Irish Times and Weekly Irish Times [1859-2015] – https://search.proquest.com/hnpirishtimes/index?accountid=13793) along with various e-books or print volumes in our Main Collection and assorted Reference Collection holdings.  More information can be found via our Irish Studies Research Guide – https://library.shu.edu/Irish-studies

and complimented by one specializing on Irish Literature: Past and Present – https://library.shu.edu/irishlit compiled by Professor Gerry Shea.

Another collection donated by Rita Murphy (1912-2003), achieved status as one of the first female graduates of Seton Hall in 1937, prior to becoming a long-time director of the Irish Institute at Seton Hall during the 1950s and 1960s.  She also hosted a weekly Irish Music Program on W-S-O-U FM, South Orange and frequently appeared on local television.  Her collection of nearly 1,000 titles are complimented by other important works donated by prominent donors of Irish titles including the recently acquired Emmet-Tuite Library of volumes focusing on varied aspects of the Irish experience printed between from the 16-19th century, noted New Jersey based journalists Barbara O’Reilly; Jim Lowney and noted advocate Jim McFarland whose bequest centers on focused materials related to political issues in Northern Ireland over the past few decades.

Counted among our major subject collections featuring Irish subject matter include the reference papers of John Concannon (1924-2011) former author, publicist and National Historian of the Ancient Order of Hibernians whose voluminous source material on Ireland and Irish-America is especially detailed with particular emphasis on parades, noted political and military figures.  In addition, the Center houses microfilm editions of the National Hibernian Digest (1905-97), Hibernian Journal (1907-69), and Convention Proceedings of the AOH in America (1888-1990).  Various materials including ledgers, documents, and other items representing the New Jersey AOH have also found a central place within our collection.

When it comes to family ties and Irish-connected genealogy, the presence of church census data, select religious community information, educational files and various institutional and parish records are also found within this collection. Original and microfilmed nineteenth and early twentieth century sacramental registers from both current or closed parishes and various local cemeteries provide a wealth of data for those conducting genealogical research for their Irish and Irish-American ancestors either on-site or via mail inquiry. Supplementing these distinctive resources are bound or microfilm copies of Catholic Almanacs and Directories dating from 1851 onward.

Governor Richard J. Hughes greets President John F. Kennedy at Mercer County Airport – Trenton, NJ, c. 1962

In terms of manuscript collections individual figures with Irish surnames have also been featured prominently in the organization of archival collections featured at Seton Hall through University connections including such academics and former presidents as Bernard J. McQuaid (1856-1857 and 1859-1867); James H. Corrigan (1876-1888); James F. Mooney (1907-1922); Thomas H. McLaughlin (1922-1933); Francis J. Monaghan (1933-1936); James F. Kelley (1936-1949); John L. McNulty (1949-1959) and John J. Dougherty (1959-1969).  Other prominent collections include resource materials from the laity including Congressman Marcus Daly (1908-1969) of Monmouth County, the first Catholic Governor of New Jersey Richard J. Hughes (1909-1992); and Bernard Shanley III (1903-1992), political advisor to President Dwight Eisenhower to name a few.

For more information about these, and other resources, and/or to schedule a research appointment please contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist/Education Coordinator via E-Mail:  Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or by Phone: (973) 275-2378

China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Visit

Calligraphy Creation
China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Members
Jeanne Brasile, Peiliang Zheng, and Greg Stevens with the finished calligraphy
Jeanne Brasile, Peiliang Zheng, and Greg Stevens

A 17-member Chinese delegation from the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles organized by the Triway International Group of Falls Church, Virginia visited the Walsh Gallery on November 5 and 7, 2018. They viewed the two solo exhibitions on display in the gallery, David Freund’s Gas Stop: Culture and Tom McGlynn’s Standards, and then heard presentations on relevant museum topics, specifically the changing roles of museums and curators, by Gallery Director, Jeanne Brasile, and chair of the Museum Professions graduate program, Greg Stevens. During the visit, Mr. Peiliang Zheng, the Deputy Director of the Professional Commission of Calligraphy and Art Center, created a piece of calligraphy that is now in the Seton Hall University Permanent Collection and hung in the Walsh Library’s Chinese Corner.

For more information about the visit, check out this article.

Chinese Corner Chinese New Year Celebration
Chinese New Year Celebration in the Chinese Corner

 

 

 

Women of Accomplishment and Authority Honoring the First Female Administrators and School Leaders of Seton Hall (1928-1959)

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that honors some pioneering female professionals who made a difference in the building of a stronger administrative and educational institution over the last several decades on campus.

List of First Female Faculty at the Urban Division of  Seton Hall College (1937)

The varied contributions made by women in the annals of Setonia have always been significant from her earliest days forward. A portent of success was found when Mme. Chegary, a successful school mistress sold her academy to the Diocese of Newark in 1856 on land in Madison that served as the first home of Seton Hall.

Upon establishment of the school, the work of the Sisters of Charity was enlisted to provide spiritual leadership and nursing care and supervision of the infirmary during the 19th century.  The mothers of the all-male Seton Hall student body also provided a strong influence as role models and support for their college-bound sons.  The accomplishments of women during the early years of Seton Hall was rarely documented and mostly done in the shadows, but their varied and valuable contributions cannot be denied.

When it came to individual females who began the trend of administrative leadership on campus, Ms. Marie K. Fitzsimmons began her affiliation with Seton Hall as the College Registrar in 1928 and lasted through most of the 1950s.  Her work defined who would ultimately attend Setonia and she also oversaw the dawn of co-education when women were first admitted to the Urban Division of Seton Hall (Newark and Jersey City) in 1937.

Marie K. Fitzsimmons (Registrar)

This move towards admitting female students also paved the way for the first women faculty (either adjunct or full-time) members.  This included a number of subject experts including – Sr. M. Aloysius, O.P., Ph.D. (Psychology); Sr. M. Anthony, O.P., A.M. (Education); Sr. Catherine Jonata, M.P.F. (Modern Languages), A.M.; Mary A. Colton, LL.B. (Law); Sr. M. Ines, O.P., A.M. (English); Blanche Mary Kelly, Litt.D. (English); Julia Killian, B.S. (Library Science); Mary T. Mooney, A.M (Sociology).; Dorothy I. Mulgrave, Ph.D. (English); Mary C. Powers, A.M. (English & History/Social Studies); Aileen Reilly, A.M. (English); Elizabeth Scanlon, Ph.D. (Education); and Sr. Teresa Gertrude, O.S.B., Ph.D. (Education).  Complimenting this roster of instructors was Ms. Rita Murphy who became first head of an information center when she became Director of the Urban Division Library during the 1938 academic year.

Blanche Mary Kelly, Litt.D. (English)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary C. Powers, A.M. (English & History/Social Studies)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership opportunities arose shortly afterwards when Professor  Anne E. Murphy, B.A., B.S. was named as the first Dean of Nursing.  She became the first-ever female department head at Seton Hall in 1940. Her example led the way to the hire of other professional women who continuously led the School of Nursing in succession to the present day.  Other milestones initiated across campus included creation of the Dean of Women positon first held by Ms. Ruth Dugan, A.M. during the early 1950s.

When it came to national recognition, Seton Hall instituted its Law School in 1951 and school administration selected Miriam T. Rooney, LL.B. as the inaugural Dean who served in this capacity until her retirement in 1959.

Eventually more women served as key managers, faculty, vice presidents, deans, trustees, and within the last few years assumed top  positions within the administration.  Provost and Executive Vice President, Karen Boroff, Ph.D. and Acting University President appointed in 2016 and Mary Meehan, Ph.D. named in 2017 who serve in their respective capacities have made history and continue to blaze trails in the process.

Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from February through May of 2019 in the First Floor foyer of Walsh Library located across from the stairs and elevator.

  • For additional background and more information on this topic and other aspects of Seton Hall please feel free to contact University Archivist, Alan Delozier at: alan.delozier@shu.edu  or by phone: (973) 275-2378.

Exhibit Features Artists in Dialogue with Science

Strange Attractors

 January 14  – March 8, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, January 25, 6pm to 8pm

Charcoal drawing on paper
Linda Francis, Threes


The Walsh Gallery is pleased to present Strange Attractors, a group exhibition conceived as an extension of a symposium hosted at New York City’s CUE Art Foundation in November 2017. Organized by artist and writer Taney Roniger, the symposium, also called Strange Attractors, examined interdisciplinary approaches to art-making with an emphasis on how visual art can generate insight into subjects studied by other fields. Co-curated by Taney Roniger and Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile, the exhibition aims to resume the dialogue in visual form by featuring work by many of the conference participants. The participating artists are: Suzanne Anker, Gianluca Bianchino, Catherine Chalmers, Linda Francis, Lorrie Fredette, Michael Hadley & Elaine Reynolds, Daniel Hill, Ed Kerns, Eve Andrée Laramée, Matthew Ritchie, Taney Roniger, Leonard Shapiro and Werner Sun.


While drawing on the strengths of different systems of knowledge, Strange Attractors celebrates nature and its infinitely interdisciplinary characteristics.  In conjunction with the exhibition, a panel discussion to be held in the gallery will further explore questions raised during the original dialogue (details to be announced). The exhibition has been made possible though the generous support of the Robert Lehman Foundation and the Essex County Arts Council through a re-grant of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

The Walsh Gallery is open 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday—Friday.

Remembering Monsignor Francis R. Seymour, KHS (1937-2018)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Monsignor Francis R. Seymour, KHS who served for many years as the first Archivist for the Archdiocese of Newark when he was named to this position in 1969.  He was also a founding member of the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission in 1976 and became Chair of this organization in 2009.  The contributions Monsignor Seymour made to the Monsignor William Noe’ Field Archives & Special Collections Center were many and memorable.  Counted among his most important and lasting works include his careful organization of research files related to the priest community, collecting of important documentation from autographed photographs to memorial cards to parish histories and many other items and objects related to the story of Catholic New Jersey.

It was also in the personal sharing of his knowledge and recollections where he really brought history to life.  His memory for details was remarkable and brought both enthusiasm and a gentle touch to his interactions with the many people he touched during the course of his life.  On a personal level, Monsignor Seymour will be remembered fondly and missed greatly by the many individuals who and had the privilege to learn from his example and had the privilege to call him a colleague and friend.

Among those associated who treasure his kindness are Tiffany Burns, Assistant to the Dean of University Libraries who remembers “My first job on the SHU campus was as an employee with the Archdiocese of Newark. Monsignor Seymour hired me to process sacramental requests in Archives and Special Collections twice a week. During my time in the Archives my brother passed away suddenly. It was Monsignor who most comforted me with words of kindness and his gentle explanation of the Church’s teaching during the saddest days of my life. I always felt that when Monsignor Seymour entered the room he brought the Lord with him.”

Sarah Ponichtera, Assistant Dean of Special Collections and the Gallery, adds, “Monsignor Seymour was a font of knowledge about the history of the Archdiocese.  He knew off the top of his head what would take an average researcher days to track down.  His passing is an enormous loss for historians of the university, the Archdiocese, and the region.”

Monsignor Seymour with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, c. 1981
  • More information about the life and accomplishments of Monsignor Seymour can be found via the official announcement issued by the Archdiocese of Newark.

St. Nicholas Illustrated – Christmas Stories & Beyond

Within the Rare Book Collection of the Seton Hall University Archives & Special Collections Center are a number of volumes from the St. Nicholas Illustrated series.  Although no longer published, St. Nicholas was a popular children’s monthly that achieved popularity during the late 19th century.

First published in 1873 by Scribner & Company publishers, this magazine dedicated its pages to featuring quality short stories, poems, and other creative writing examples about a wide-range of topics penned by novice and experienced writers alike including Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, and Joel Chandler Harris to name a few.  Pieces that saw print were often accompanied by stylized black and white illustrations and wood engravings that complimented the text.

During its peak years, single issues St. Nicholas arrived in mailboxes monthly and achieved an average subscription rate of 100,000 readers.  Publishers worked on other ways to attract further readership and show its aesthetic quality throughout its run.  This manifested itself through the option of purchasing bound copies for a particular year(s) with a specifically designed cover to better showcase the magazine as shown above.

After seven decades, the magazine ceased operations by 1943 as readership diminished during the war years, but the existing copies that have been preserved offer an illuminating insight into juvenile literature of another age.  Additionally, St. Nicholas and its Christmas-centered themes that were written in honor of the holiday and celebrating a wide-range of aspects that touched on everyday life is part of its lasting legacy.

For more information on St. Nicholas Illustrated and our Rare Book collections please contact us at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

 

Object of the Month – Nazi Era Star of David

Nazi Era Star of David Patch 4” x 4” 2018.05.0001 Gift in Honor of the Jeifa Family

During World War II, German forces occupied parts of France from 1940 until 1944. Starting in June 1942, it was required that people of Jewish descent wear the six-pointed Star of David – a common symbol of Judaism—to signify their heritage. “Juif,” the French word for “Jew,” is written in Hebraic-style lettering. This star belonged to Michel Jeifa of Paris who was sent to southern France and hidden by a Christian family in 1942 at age 16. He and his sister survived the Holocaust, while their parents lost their lives at Auschwitz concentration camp.

This patch is part of the Jeifa Family Collection and was donated in honor of the Jeifa Family.