The SPIRIT – An 85 Year Celebration of Catholic Poetry

First published in 1931, the earliest editions of the SPIRIT were published bi-monthly and not included verse, but also articles on the art of expression and about the Catholic Poetry Society of America in some form along with literary book reviews of interest.  This periodical was also well-cross referenced to help readers find past submissions through the Catholic Periodical Index and Catholic Bookman from its founding days forward.  Additionally, the Catholic Poetry Society of America first headquartered in New York City had chapters in many major cities across the United States.  Over its first few decades the SPIRIT was published either in black and white or maroon colored text without illustrations.

spirit, a magazine of poetry                      more than the moment poem

A swell of popularity for the SPIRIT continued onward through the 1950s-60s as shown through anthology works and maintenance of its usual format of title, poem, and author citation.  Lengths varied, but the text in some way always reflected the mission of the society and publication focus.  The editions released in 1968 would turn out to be the last with New York City as its home base.  The SPIRIT would move its operations to the campus of Seton Hall University the following year.

Spirit cover, Summer 1969          Spirit cover, volume 60, 1995Spirit cover, Australian issue

During the course of 1969, the SPIRIT underwent various changes not only with new offices, but the publication also modified its look and aesthetic to reflect the times.  Under the Editorship of David Rogers and James R. Lindroth from the Seton Hall University Department of English, the SPIRIT would continue to publish further works and also artwork related to the Catholic experience.  This also inspired a campus-wide poetic anthology entitled – Puddle Wonderful which lasted for one issue.  Otherwise, latter day changes including more colorful cover art, theme-editions, and changing font types brought a more modern appearance to the SPIRIT through the 1970s and 80s.  Recent editions of the SPIRIT continued to promote artistic writing in verse form.  Full editions were less frequently produced and came out annually by the 1990s.  They content themes remained consistent, but the graphics would go back to more basic and classical representations found in early issues along with a change of logo from the early Eagle to a Spectre to capture the visual and symbolic look of the SPIRIT.

More about the early years and a historical overview along with examples of the poetry and art can be found in the text panels and full display visible from the Archives & Special Collections Center Reading Room and adjacent hallway from January-February, 2016.  For more information please feel free to e-mail us at:, or call: (973) 275-2378.


A Rare Accession: New Additions to our Rare Book Collections

The Archives has recently acquired some new materials to add to its rare book collections, which will strengthen our holdings in some of our key focus areas, such as Catholic Studies, Ireland and Irish-American Studies, Immigration, and local Newark and New Jersey history. Some notable additions to the collection include:

Directorium inquisitorum: A guide for inquisitors written as early as 1376 by Nicholas Eymerich, the inquisitor of the kingdom of Aragon. The text became the most influential handbook for inquisitors, and it was widely used until the 17th century. This copy, printed in Rome in 1578, is one of the first printings of the Directorium Inquisitorum to contain extensive commentary by Francisco Peña, a Spanish canon lawyer.


Directorium inquisitorium bottom edge blog
Bottom edge of the Directorium inquisitorium, showing the title inked on at an early point in the book’s history, and ex-library stamps from a previous owner.
Directorium inquisitorium page blog
Page from the Directorium inquisitorium.


Platform of Principles of the New York Know Somethings: A broadside defining the Know-Something Party, a group that separated from the Know-Nothing party in 1855. While they shared the Know-Nothing Party’s anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic beliefs, the Know-Somethings differed by taking a strong anti-slavery position.

Opinion of Assistant Vice-Chancellor Sandford, Nov. 5, 1844 : Citizenship by birth in the United States, –although of alien parents temporarily residing here. In chancery. Bernard Lynch vs. John Clarke and Julia Lynch. [Reported for the Albany Argus].: A pamphlet detailing Sandford’s landmark decision defining United States citizenship. He determines that Julia Lynch, a child who was born in New York City to Irish immigrants but lived in Ireland for most of her life, was a natural born citizen of the United States and therefore able to inherit property left to her by a family member who died in New York State. He rendered this decision 24 years before the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed, declaring that children born in the United States are citizens regardless of the citizenship of their parents.


Civil rights vs. Mayor Hague : extracts from a hearing before Hon. William J. Clarke, Judge of the Federal District Court, Newark, N.J., on an application by the American Civil Liberties Union and others for an injunction against the practices of Jersey City officials violating civil rights, (March 1937).: Excerpts from a hearing charging Frank Hague, Mayor of Jersey City from 1917-1947, of violating civil rights by using the police to prevent labor union members from striking.

Civil Rights vs Mayor Hague cropped
The cover of the Civil Rights vs. Mayor Hague pamphlet shows a political cartoon with the caption: “Mayor Hague signs a pact creating the newest international understanding, hereafter to be known as the Rome-Berlin-Jersey City Axis.”


Travels of an Irish gentleman in search of a religion. With notes and illustrations: The poet Thomas Moore’s controversial defense of Catholicism in which an Irish man searches for reasons to become a Protestant but fails to find justification for converting.

Foreign Pauperism in Philadelphia: A memorial to the legislature of Pennsylvania, exhibiting reasons for the amendment of certain laws in relation to the poor and to Foreign migrants, with the bill annexed.: A treatise by the American Emigrants’ Friend Society proposing the use of tax money to send immigrants entering the port of Philadelphia to the west, in order to relieve overcrowding and unemployment in Philadelphia.
A full list of the acquired books is available in our Rare Books Research Guide.

Materials from our rare book collections may be viewed by appointment in the Archives and Special Collections Center Reading Room. To make an appointment, please contact 973-761-9476 or