Opening up the Reading Room

The Reading Room of the Archives and Special Collections Center has undergone a minor facelift! With a brand-new conference table in the Mr. and Mrs. George L. Steciuk Conference Room, and shifting and re-appropriating of furniture in the William T. and Marie J. Henderson Special Collections Reading Room, we have opened up the space to give researchers (and staff) a little more room.

Special Collections Reading Room
Special Collections Reading Room

Use of the Reading Room is a very important part of conducting research in any archives or special collections. Because our materials are often old, fragile, and sensitive to light damage or other causes of deterioration, and because all of our materials are meant to be kept safe for use by researchers 50 or even 100 years from now (or more!), the use of archival and special collections materials must be carefully monitored and controlled. So a Reading Room provides a space for researchers to access materials in a controlled environment that also allows them to make use of library resources often necessary as supplementary research items. We provide wireless and desktop access to all library resources as well as many vital reference books, volumes, yearbooks, and microfilm. With our new desk set-up, we can accommodate more researchers in the Reading Room while providing better security for our materials. Our new conference table will more comfortably accommodate classes that visit the Archives or groups who make use of the conference room. The new arrangement also frees more of our beautiful glass walls and makes the space feel more open.

Archives Conference Room
Archives Conference Room

There is still some re-decorating to do, to showcase some of our framed pictures and items, but the Reading Room is ready for our fall visitors and researchers. Come by the Archives to see some of our early yearbooks, to conduct original research on the Archdiocese of Newark or Seton Hall University, or check out the rotating displays in our exhibit cabinets. You’re always welcome!

Ace Alagna photographic collection: Online Finding Aid

Ace Alagna with camera.
Mss 0018: Ace Alagna with camera. 00182583

TheĀ Ace Alagna photographic collection, 1944-1998, Mss 0018, is a unique, rich resource depicting the history of Newark, the Italian American community in and around Newark, New Jersey politics, people, places, and events in beautiful black and white. This collection, which has more than 2,000 images already available online through the Ace Alagna photographs digital collection, has about 40,000 items including photographic negatives, prints, videos, and layout sheets from the Italian Tribune newspaper. Now, a finding aid describing the almost 30,000 negatives in the collection has been completed and is available online.

Ace Alagna was a photographer from Newark who worked in the White House Press Corps before buying the Italian Tribune newspaper. He edited the newspaper for almost 30 years, during which time he and the Italian Tribune were the organizers and main sponsors of the Newark Columbus Day parade. The annual parade usually had a celebrity grand marshal, often someone of Italian heritage, who would be present for the parade and attendant celebrations. Ace Alagna knew a wide a range of people in New Jersey, and traveled around the country and around the world.

Ace Alagna and Frank Sinatra at Tribune Award in Atlantic City.
Mss 0018: Ace Alagna and Frank Sinatra at Tribune Award in Atlantic City. mss0018_E0388_011

The Ace Alagna photographic collection, 1944-1998, Mss 0018, includes images of notable politicians, actors, athletes, musicians, and writers such as John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, N.J. Governors Richard Hughes and Brendan Byrne, Congressman Peter Rodino, Danny Aiello, Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, Phil Brito, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Piscopo, Tony Curtis, Bob Hope, and Tony LoBianco, among many others. The collection includes numerous pictures of Newark and the Columbus Day parade from the 1970s-1990s, and a large number of pictures of N.J. politicians in the state senate and assembly.

Many of the images in the collection have been scanned, and so far a small percentage of those scans are available online. There are also unprocessed portions of the collection that have not yet been described in the finding aid, particularly black and white and color prints of many of the negatives, videos related to the Columbus Day parade, and some materials that appear to be layouts for images to appear in the Italian Tribune. Materials that are not available online are available for research, with the assistance of Archives staff, at the Archives and Special Collections Center. Additional scans will be made available online in the future, as time permits, and unprocessed materials will be added to the finding aid as they are processed. Keep an eye out for more images and materials, and meanwhile, take a close look through this rich window into Newark’s history and culture!

Online exhibit from the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA)

Treasures of the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA): Women Religious: An exhibit online through October 2013. Screenshot.

The Archives and Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University is proud to be a part of the new web exhibit Treasures from the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA): Women Religious. This exhibit, conceived of by SHU Librarian Marta Deyrup, highlights archival and special collections materials related to women’s religious orders held by a variety of institutions, both by members of the CRRA and non-members. Thirteen institutions contributed images on a variety of topics and in a variety of formats, making for a diverse and fascinating exhibit.

Each contributing institution gave information about the collection from which they included images. Some collections focus on a particular school, highlighting the academic and service contributions of the sisters and educators, while other collections focus on a particular order, documenting the missionary, nursing, or other work performed by the sisters of that order. Some collections belonged to an individual, highlighting the range of activities of one remarkable woman. All of the materials provide insight into the depth and breadth of women religious, and the many accomplishments or contributions they have made to their orders, schools, families, and communities.

The exhibit can be browsed or searched in several ways. Images can be viewed by contributing institution, geographic region, time period, format, or subject, or browsed through from the home page. There is also a search box available. Each image allows commenting, and viewers are invited to comment, or to share information about additional resources not included in the exhibit. Information about several institutions not included in the exhibit is provided on theĀ Additional Resources page, but the exhibit creators would welcome further suggestions. Information about the exhibit and links to the CRRA and the home institutions are also provided. The exhibit will be live through the end of October 2013, and will be available online after that, but comments and questions will no longer be answered.

Marta Deyrup of Seton Hall Libraries was the main motivator behind this exhibit, and Tracy Jackson (that’s me!) of Seton Hall Archives helped deal with the images, as did Tom McGee (who created the site) and Mike Soupios of Seton Hall’s Teaching Learning and Technology Center (TLTC). Jennifer Younger and Pat Lawton of the CRRA were very helpful and supportive as well, as were all of the institutions who contributed, and the hardworking archivists, librarians, and special collections folks at each who selected and scanned the images, wrote the description, and sent them along.

Check out the exhibit, and then explore the related resources via the CRRA’s Catholic Portal!