Written by Rev. Michael Barone
The Spring 2018 semester at Seton Hall University found Archives staff at the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center beginning to process the collection belonging to the eponymous former University Archivist, Director of Special Collections, and Rare Book Librarian, who died in December 2000.
Speaking to people who knew him, one learns that “Father Field” was a fixture on campus and in the Archdiocese of Newark, for which he was ordained a priest in 1940.
While the arrangement and description of the collection is still an ongoing project, looking through Monsignor’s papers and ephemera, one sees the story of a priest, scholar, lecturer, and traveler beginning to take shape. After all, archivists process and maintain the collections of persons so that their lives and work might be preserved for future generations of researchers and historians. While tedious at times, the task of archiving invites oneself to experience a sense of reverence or respect for the subject and creator.
Being himself an archivist for 30 years, Msgr. Field’s papers gives insight into the work of a Dean of Library and Special Collections Director, who earned his MLS from Columbia University in 1961.
Most of the collection is structured to organize his academic papers. However, Monsignor Field was also a gifted poet who sent and received numerous greeting cards from all across the globe. These are part of a correspondence series. Msgr. Field kept detailed travel logs, postcards, and brochures from years of travel. Beloved chaplain and member of several professional societies, the numerous awards, religious and devotional objects, owned and collected by the priest, will be discoverable by use of a detailed finding aid describing its inventory of materials and their structure.
Entering the reading room, one notices a prominently placed bust and portrait of Msgr. William Noé Field, welcoming visitors to his beloved
Archives, which bear his name. Founded during his lifetime, and organized with help of Peter Wosh, the Center remains a valuable repository and resource. For more information, or to schedule a visit to the Archives at Seton Hall University, located on the ground floor of our Walsh Library. We look forward to this collection being available to the public in the very near future.