Sister Rose Thering – A Centennial Remembrance

“No one who ever brushes shoulders with Sister Rose can forget the experience.  Her unique charism, blending warmth with idealism, moves everyone she meets.  She is also a team player who serves on many teams, all with the same fervent ideals.”

This passage was written to summarize the legacy of Sister Rose Thering upon the receipt of an honorary degree bestowed by Seton Hall University in 2000. These remarks show that the esteem she was shown in life was profound and remains ever strong even a decade after her death six years later.  Her life and works are diverse and continuously honored not only on the campus, but also on a global level alike. Sister Rose (as she was affectionately known) was most widely noted for her advocacy of Israel and promoting the spiritual and educational importance inherent within Christianity and Judaism.  Her respect for each religious tradition entailed a perpetual celebration of the uniqueness found within each faith and fostering respectful dialogue between both religious traditions whenever possible.  This became one of her most lasting contributions to humankind.

Tribute to Sister Rose Thering, Memorial Card, 2006

Rose Elizabeth Thering was born on August 9, 1920 in Plain, Wisconsin and entered the order of Racine Dominican Sisters at the age of 16.  She later earned her academic credentials that included an undergraduate degree from Dominican College (1953), master of arts from the College of St. Thomas (1957), and a doctorate from St. Louis University (1961) before embarking on her long-standing work as an educator.

The doctoral dissertation written by Sister Rose focused upon the negative treatment of Judaism found in Catholic-produced textbooks.  The findings of this study were utilized by Cardinal Augustin Bea, a German Jesuit priest who during the Second Vatican Council used the work of Sister Rose for perspective that resulted in the 1965 document: Nostra Aetate (“In Our Age”), A Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, which came down to the following major pronouncement in regard to the Crucifixion of Christ: “. . . what happened in his passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today”. As regarding how this issue was to be handled in catechetical instruction, it added, “The Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God.”

Text of Nostra Aetate, 1965

This adherence to Nostra Aetate in turn became a lifelong cause for Sister Rose where she advocated for Christians to understand and embrace this message of toleration and bring the principles from print to real life recognition.  Her activism resulted in fighting Anti-Semitism and becoming more involved in community initiatives where she was one of the founding forces behind the National Christian Leadership Conference Leadership Conference for Israel, United States Foreign Relations Committee, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) among many others.  In addition, Sister Rose became a charter member of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education where her work led to required instruction of the Holocaust and Genocide throughout all New Jersey Public School systems.  Her outreach was so widely known that a film about her activism entitled: Sister Rose’s Passion released in 2004 was later nominated for an Academy Award.

Even though she was a citizen of the world, Sister Rose made an important and lasting mark on Seton Hall when she arrived on campus in 1968 through her work as a faculty member in the College of Education.  She advanced to the rank of Professor and was elected Chair of Secondary Education before her official retirement in 1989.  Sister Rose further helped to enhance the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies, conducted over 50 tours of Israel and countless workshops on Judaism that helped lead to the origin of the Menorah Studies Program that led to the Graduate Department of Judaeo-Christian Studies founded in 1974.  She later became a Professor Emerita at Seton Hall and the Sister Rose Endowment Center named in her honors continues to the sponsor the annual “Evening of Roses” event where leaders in both the Jewish and Christian communities were honored for their contributions to mutual religious understanding.

 

 

 

 

Publications Celebrating the Work of Sister Rose Thering, 1974-2000

 

In addition to the memories and testimonials that remain, the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center houses the Sister Rose Thering Papers (MSS 0016) consisting of various works that show more detail on her life and work over the last century.  The following abstract provides an overview of this collection which is available for research consultation . . .

The Rose Thering Papers (1944-2005) consist of the professional and personal papers of Sister Rose Thering. The collection includes writings, correspondence, speeches, travel information, and subject files. Most of the material dates from Sister Rose Thering’s time in New Jersey working for the Institute for Judaeo-Christian studies, and documents her teaching and scholarly activities, her work for the state of New Jersey in creating legislation for the teaching of the Holocaust, her international activism, and her travel to gives talks to a wide variety of audiences. The materials also demonstrate the varied research interests of Sister Rose that are located in specialized subject files.

More details on this collection can be reviewed via the following link . . .

https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=thering&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

In addition, the Archives & Special Collections Center along with the University Libraries of Seton Hall contains a number of books authored by and about Sister Rose along with various articles that highlight her research and varied pronouncements . . .

https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/search?databaseList=283&queryString=Rose+Thering&clusterResults=false

For more information regarding Sister Rose Thering along with other figures related to the Judaeo-Christian Studies program and its history please feel free to contact us via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

 

Pope Saint John Paul II & The Silver Anniversary of His Journey to Newark

Sto Lat! This was a typical greeting shared by Pope Saint John Paul II whose words and outreach touched millions of individuals around the world during his lifetime and beyond.  This week marks a milestone for the local community when Pope Saint John Paul II visited the Eastern United States between October 4-8, 1995 with a special excursion to Newark and surrounding communities during the first two days of this much anticipated spiritual pilgrimage.

Cover of the Catholic Advocate heralding the arrival of Pope Saint John Paul II – October 4, 1995

The choice to visit Newark was well-summarized by Mr. Jerry Filteau, a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter who offered the following prospectus for those unfamiliar with the deep-rooted diversity found within the city and surrounding communities:

“Newark viewed as place of hope,” In visiting the Newark Archdiocese, Oct. 4 and 5, Pope John Paul II will find a microcosm of the church and the nation . . . the archdiocese has 11 distinct offices just for racial and ethnic apostolates — Hispanics, African-Americans, Chinese, Filipinos, Haitians, Irish, Italians, Koreans, Poles, Portuguese and Vietnamese.  The Newark Archdiocese’s Catholics are the local teachers and retail clerks, police and meat cutters, homemakers and shop owners.  They’re the airline employees, truckers, railroad workers, shippers and dockworkers of Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth and Bayonne, one of the nation’s busiest transportation hubs. They’re the professionals and corporate executives who live in affluent Bergen County suburbs . . . “

In regard to the first chapter of the journey, Pope Saint John Paul II arrived at the Newark International Airport and met with various dignitaries prior to his first major talk before the United Nations General Assembly as a prelude to his day of activities in the “Brick City’ and environs.

The morning of October 5th Pope Saint John Paul II celebrated Mass at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford before 85,000 individuals where Pope Saint John Paul II in his homily expressed those present and millions watching on television that “Today we are celebrating the Good News of God’s Kingdom here in Giants Stadium, in the Archdiocese of Newark in New Jersey – ‘The Garden State’ . . . “ which was greeted with enthusiastic applause.  Moreover, he reminded the assembly of the ways in which the church has “made a home” in this country, embracing people of many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Pope Saint John Paul II delivered his sermon during an unforeseen downpour in which he quipped to the assemblage that: “I see the people of New Jersey know how to praise God in joyful praise and song, even in the rain.” . . . “water drenched faithful that “water is a sign of life, a sign of God’s blessing!”  This provided a graceful note upon which to end the ceremony and inspire the crowd.

That evening, Pope Saint John Paul II celebrated evening prayer at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart located in downtown Newark. On this occasion, the edifice was elevated to Minor Basilica status to henceforth be known as the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  This marked an enduring monument to the brief, but memorable time that Pope Saint John Paul II spent in our neighborhood.

 

The New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission (Headquartered within the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center) is also celebrating this occasion during early October with commemorative posts that are archived for reference and found on our Facebook Page via the following link: https://www.facebook.com/NJCHC

Screenshots of the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission Facebook Page & Pope Saint John II, October 2020

In addition, along with our Manuscript Collection on the Visit proper there are more resources related to Pope Saint John II (along with other Pontiffs over the centuries) can be found here via our ArchivesSpace holdings catalog . . .

https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=%22John+Paul+II%22&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

For further information on Papal History and any aspect of Catholic New Jersey please contact us by e-mail at:  Archives@shu.edu or via phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Spanish Language Instruction and Celebration of Bi-Lingualism at Setonia, 1856-Present

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) memorandum regarding equal rights in terms of learning-based opportunities. The issue of language and the need to educate all children on a nationwide scale regardless of English-language fluency became the major talking point for many viewing the overall theme and subtext of this pronouncement. All grade levels benefited from this renewed attention to linguistic-based instruction objectives.

Around the same time, the Puerto Rican Institute, now known at the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute, was founded at Seton Hall University. The creation of the Institute was to support the Hispanic community, ensuring Hispanic youths had opportunities for a full development through a variety of services and activities the university was able to provide. Due to the Institutes groundwork, Hispanic enrollment has increased along with an increase in the interest, recognition, and involvement of the community.

Today, Seton Hall University continues its language education that started during 1897-1898, before the DHEW memorandum and the founding of the Puerto Rican Institute, when only Spanish and Italian were offered. Currently, there are a variety of languages offered, such as Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, along with studies dedicated to different cultures around the world such as Latin American and Latino/Latina Studies.

 

Cover of the Puerto Rican Institute Inauguration Program – October 17, 1974

 

Additional data points on Spanish-themed resources and the overall scope of Central and South American life can be found within the Latin American Research Guide which is updated by Professor Lisa DeLuca, Professor Brooke Duffy, and Professor Lisa Rose-Wiles.

For more details about the history of the Spanish-language experience at Seton Hall University and other aspects of Latin America please feel free to consult the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute at Seton Hall University or contact Ms. Ana Campoverde, Executive Director by e-mail: latinoinstitute@shu.edu or phone: (973) 761-9422.

Additional aspects about the history of Latino and their contributions to Seton Hall can be researched via the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.  Please feel free to consult our website at: https://library.shu.edu/archives or contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist by email: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or phone: (973) 275-2378.

Back To School – Through The Years

The familiar refrain of “Welcome to Seton Hall” has been shared on many occasions with scores of students who have ventured through the front gates of the school over the last 160 plus years.  Although such a salutation can come at any point in time, early September just before Labor Day (or late August over the last decade in particular) has traditionally been designated as the dawn of an academic year for college bound individuals across the country with Seton Hall being no exception to this traditional rite of passage.  In this time of the COVID pandemic we are starting classes earlier on August 24th of 2020 with various safeguards in place to make the learning environment more safe, but no less interactive.

The first day of classes ever at Seton Hall came on September 1, 1856 in Madison, New Jersey (prior to the move of operations to South Orange four year later) when a total of five students enrolled at the fledgling institution after paying their room and board of $200 per annum.  The original attendance roster included the following names – Leo G. Thebaud (Madison), Louis and Alfred Boisaubin (Madison), Peter Meehan (Hoboken), and John Moore (New York City).

First page of the 1856 Seton Hall College Registration Ledger

This number rose to 11 by the end of September and either by on-time registration or those who chose delayed enrollment, the school was now in operation and set the trend for first days to follow thereafter.  For example, attendance figures for registrants to open a fall school term rose to 105 by 1865-66 and fluctuated below or near this number through the remainder of the 1800s.  An upswing figure-wise came during the 20th century as Seton Hall boasted over 200 newcomers for the first time by 1925-26 (259 total) as a prelude to the era of four-figure registrations which came about in 1938-39 when the Urban Division (Extension) Schools of Newark and Jersey City featured 1,025 students (481 at the South Orange campus) on their books.  However, it would not be until 1945-46 when the main campus hosted 1,008 new students (2,109 at the Urban Division) and the year following exploded even further in terms of Setonians who first arrived on site with 2,994 and 3,312 attending classes in South Orange and at the Urban Division respectively.  Thousands more per year and in sum thereafter have also experienced their first day in building a tradition that has endured to the present day.

Seton Hall University Orientation Guide – 1966

Regardless of year, prior to the moment of entry, plenty of preparation faces the undergraduate student from the Freshman who encounter a number of Orientation Sessions prior to attendance through Seniors who are making their final semester opening appearance on campus.  The fine tuning of course selection, purchase of school supplies, assisting with “Move-In Day” and other time honored and timely rituals are often routinely encountered by young scholars across the board.  Once arriving on site, the student body is busy settling in, meeting roommates, making  friends, selecting activities, studying course syllabi, book purchasing, and balancing meal plans among many other tasks start in earnest and helps to define the semester that lies ahead for each budding Setonian.  Reflection of these moments are often special to those who lived through these new experiences and many alumni have kept enduring memories of their first time on campus.  With this in mind, the literature produced by the school each semester reinforces the structure and substance that goes into planning for a starting term from the first one onward.

2005 Seton Hall University Orientation Guide Introductory Page

Various resources including listings that trace the beginning of each semester through the finish are available for research purposes here in our collection.  In addition, we have some electronic-based resources for off-campus consultation.  Our University History Library Guide can be located via the following link – https://library.shu.edu/University_History and our digital collections for a look at the earliest and most recent College/University catalog(ue)s and bulletins – https://scholarship.shu.edu/archives/

For more information about University History from start to finish please feel free to contact us via e-mail or by phone: (973) 275-2378.  New for this year, you can also use our bookings page to make an appointment for a research consultation or book a desk for quiet study in the reading room.  In the meantime, a perpetual “Welcome to Seton Hall” everyone!

Monsignor Thomas Fahy – Priest, Scholar, Humanitarian

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Monsignor Thomas G. Fahy (1922-76) as the fourteenth president of Seton Hall whose tenure was marked by a major series of initiatives that enhanced the administrative focus, academic infra-structure, and student experience for those connected to the university during his time as chief executive.  His life and example have been fondly remembered by those he touched along with future generations of Setonians who benefited from the forward-thinking initiatives he nurtured and approved between the years of 1970-76 in particular.

Monsignor Fahy looks over campus during his time as University President, c. early 1970s

A native of Jersey City, Monsignor Fahy graduated from Seton Hall College in 1943 and four years later became an alumnus of the Immaculate Conception Seminary just prior to ordination as a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark. He was later educated at Fordham University where advanced degrees in Theological Studies were earned.  The first educational-based assignments undertaken by Monsignor Fahy came as a Latin and Greek Instructor and Director of Athletics at the Seton Hall Preparatory School before joining the ranks of the university administration in 1955.  Prior to becoming president, Monsignor Fahy served Seton Hall as Athletic Director, Professor of Classical Languages, Dean of Men and Vice President of Instruction.

Upon assuming the presidency, Monsignor Fahy created the Center for Black (later known as African American) Studies was established in 1970. Another key addition to the campus landscape came to the fore when the Puerto Rican Institute was founded four years later. During the time of Monsignor Fahy, Seton Hall became more boarder-oriented when they opened Aquinas Hall, the first residence hall for women in 1971. Within academic circles, the Stillman Business School and Schwartz Nursing College Complex opened in 1973. Governance of Seton Hall originally balanced between a 25-member Board of Regents and 13 trustees, as operational leadership on a daily basis emanated from the office of Monsignor Fahy. In addition, Elizabeth Ann Seton, patroness of the University was canonized in Rome by Pope Paul VI in 1975, making her the first American-born saint. A year later, in response to a great swell in religious-based research, the New Jersey Catholic Historical Records Commission was founded at Seton Hall, where it remains active to this day.  These were just a few of the moves of lasting significance that remain connected to his legacy.

Monsignor Fahy discusses policy with faculty member, c. early 1970s

Monsignor Fahy was not only concerned for the welfare of the campus community, but for all citizens of the world  During his inaugural speech in 1970, he made mention of Catholic Higher education and the state of academic life, but also made the following pronouncement in regard to care for the earth and inhabitants based on the means of handling technology and ecology in a responsible manner:

“ . . . for us the most incredibly sophisticated marvels, the automobile and the jet plane to open up the country and the world; an agriculture whose yield is ten-fold what it was at the beginning of this century: a space program so incredible that we now somehow feel deflated that only two of our first three efforts to land on the moon were successful.  But while successive generations of college students were trained to produce these marvels, these students were apparently not warned to relate their achievements to man’s continued existence on earth.  As a result, we now face an ecological crisis of catastrophic proportions.  We could, we are told, be buried in our garbage, be asphyxiated by the exhaust of cards, or poisoned by the effluvia in our waters.”

Monsignor Fahy was an advocate for the United Farm Workers cause and other advocacy groups of note. Clipping, c. early 1970s

Beyond the board room, Monsignor Fahy was known as a thoughtful presence on campus who would sit on the steps of Presidents Hall and gladly talk to anyone who happened by about their lives and concerns. This is another side of the man that lives on in memory.  Monsignor Fahy accomplished many important landmarks during his lifetime, but tragically passed away in 1976 at the age of 54.  When the news arrived on campus he was widely mourned and eulogized.

Among the most poignant tributes came from past university president, Bishop John J. Dougherty who articulated that:

“Thomas George Fahy with honor, for his life was an honor to everything of which he was a part.  He was an honor to the family whose name he bore.  His achievement was begotten of what his parents had give him. He was an honor to the priesthood.  His fellow seminarians respected his gifted mind, his unassuming manner, and his manly and unobtrusive piety.  His priestly and professional life served a cause: the cause was Seton Hall. He was an honor to the human community. He was compassionate not only in thought and feeling, but in action.”

Additional postings regarding the life and legacy of Monsignor Fahy will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, please feel to contact us if you need further information on Monsignor Fahy and all aspects of Seton Hall University.  We can be reached via e-mail at:  archives@shu.edu

 

Summer School at Setonia

On most college and university campuses, the voluntary option of attending Summer School between the end of any Spring semester and the beginning of a Fall term is a concept that is commonplace today.  This has traditionally been a time when students could undertake selective coursework in order to repeat classes for added intellectual reinforcement, quicken the pace of their respective graduation timetable, or even for self-knowledge and continuing education purposes.  Seton Hall has systematically followed this trend of student support through most of the twentieth century into the present day.

Historically, the typical Academic Year for a Setonia student during the nineteenth century entailed a regimented ten-month academic experience along with their proscribed vacation time to help rejuvenate themselves in time for an Autumn opening.  General catalog(ue)s of the 1860s-90s highlighted this required modus operandi in the following manner:

“The Academic year, which consists of two terms of five months each, begins on the first Wednesday of September and ends on the third Wednesday of June.  At Christmas there is a vacation of twelve days; and in May students are permitted to be absent for a day or two, to procure Summer clothing.  At no other time are they allowed to leave the College, except for reasons of great importance . . . General examinations are held at the end of each term.”

“Welcome to Seton Hall Summer School!” A press clip from the Newark News showing the first class of women to attend the South Orange campus of Seton Hall College in 1937. Dr. Howard E. Merity, Director of the Summer School welcomes from left to right: Sally Webster, Natalie McMahon, Lillian Driscoll, and Rita Smatherust

Over subsequent decades, the number of months that a student at Seton Hall were required to stay on campus had been reduced with final examinations taking place in late or early May with commencement exercises taking place shortly thereafter.  This left around three and a half months worth of vacation time as the twentieth century moved forward.  As enrollment multiplied along with an increased number of course offerings especially when the Urban Division of Seton Hall (Newark and Jersey City) was created in 1937 became a catalyst to encourage co-educational study.  This also led to an opportunity for all students (both Men and Women) to freely attend classes at the South Orange campus.  However, Women could not fully avail themselves of course enrollment at any time during any formal Academic Year until 1968.

From the 1930s forward, especially after World War II a full calendar of Summer-based course offerings were planned and scheduled on an annual basis and representing every individual College, School, and Department on campus along with offerings from the School of Continuing Education and Internet-based learning communities as well.  The evolution of Summer School has undergone various developments over the years and continues onward as the popularity of this program had endured.  The time usually spent taking any course outside of the traditional Academic Year period is usually accelerated and completed within a matter of a week or two on average, but no matter how long, participation was a valuable experience for many individuals as we move forward into the twenty-first century.

For more information on the history of Summer School and other aspects of University History we are glad to assist you.  Inquires can be sent via the following e-mail address: Archives@shu.edu

A History of the Seton Hall Annual, 1924-2006

The concept of a collegiate yearbook (or annual) arose from the need to record student enterprise from the earliest volumes published during the early 1800s into a regularly anticipated fixture among most elite Eastern institutions and eventual adoption among many Catholic colleges and universities between the mid-nineteenth century into the early twentieth.
The trend of producing a yearly chronicle of academic life reached its zenith during the “Jazz Age” of the 1920s when the appeal of student life on college campuses entered the national conscious in a major way through positive and popular depictions in motion pictures, radio programs, and the daily press throughout the decade. Within this context, the Seton Hall
yearbook known originally as the “White and Blue” was christened in 1924.

Cover of the 1924 Seton Hall College – White & Blue

From the first, the promise and appeal of memorializing the Setonia  experience received strong support throughout campus. Officially released during May of 1924 (covering the 1923-24 academic year), the “White and Blue” (prior to its being re-named and bearing the legend – “The Galleon”
in 1940 and 1947-2006) reflected its original and enduring objective to prepare: “through word and picture a summary of all activities . . .” within a published memorial designed to honor each graduating class from its introductory edition to last imprint.  Historically, the “White and Blue” was directly inspired in large measure by the colorfully written and illustrated student-run Dramatic Society playbills in vogue during the early 1920s.

From this inspirational point, the yearbook became one of the first regularly produced and distributed non-single event campus publication (aside from the College Catalogue) along with its counterpart “The Setonian” (student newspaper) which opened its presses a couple months
beforehand. This weekly (later monthly) serial became an allied publication with the “White and Blue” and regularly featured updates on yearbook issues including the promotion of staff members, production updates, and sale potential through its pages during the 1920s and 30s in particular. The yearbook reciprocated space-wise with “The Setonian” by including a special section on the newspaper and its activities under its Student Organizations chapter in most every volume that followed suit.

Yearbooks in both a general and traditional sense were produced with a firm timeline in place to cover any given 12-month academic period. Each provide a means of immortalizing the students, faculty, and administrators affiliated with Seton Hall and also offer “snapshots” of life on campus broken down by different departments or sections to honor popular trends during a respective time and place. The traditional format and sections found in most annuals with Seton Hall being no exception tended to include in varying order the following categories:  Welcome Page(s), Dedication; Graduates (Senior Portraits and List of Activities – Text and Photographs, 1920s-1950s); Undergraduates (Frosh, Sophomores, and Juniors); Faculty, Student Life (Activities, Current Events, Special Events, etc.); Academics (Departments, Who’s Who, etc.); Athletics, Student Organizations; Advertisement Section (earlier editions often featured a special emphasis on South Orange, Newark, and other local companies); and in some cases an Index, Colophon (statistical data), and a Notes/Autograph page(s) are found thereby providing a unique look at Setonia in a traditional and organized manner.

In regard to the first work plan based on historical models, the inaugural edition of the “White and Blue” featured an introductory forward by the College President at that time – Rt. Rev. Thomas H. McLaughlin, S.T.D. who wrote about the justification of this enterprise in regard to the institution and its lasting intrinsic value: “In years to come this book will serve to revivify events and intensify the love which every Setonian bears to Alma Mater. It will be an incentive to live up to the religious and educational standards presented and exemplified in daily life during college years.” This pioneering work in 1924 was undertaken directly under the leadership of Reverend John J. Sheerin, Faculty Moderator (this role would usually fall under the guidance of a priest until the 1950s when a member of the lay faculty usually assumed leadership duties); Editor-In-Chief, Francis J. Walsh; and a staff of researchers, writers, illustrators, photographers, and other volunteers which handled various duties associated with content management and marketing opportunities. During its first year, which involved a significant learning curve, the yearbook staff was able to finalize a volume in time for commencement and with funds collected via advertising space and subscriptions the “White and Blue” office collected $706.00 from various sources which helped defray supply costs and a
printing bill of $521.00 that led to a final first year net profit of $19.00. From here the consistent search for content and subscription drives became a regular fixture of the yearbook office thereafter.

Various Seton Hall White & Blue Covers, 1920s-30s

The following year in 1925, editors of the “White and Blue” expressed the need for a yearbook with more clarity and eloquence after its first attempt succeeded and a methodical tradition had started. Therefore, finding a rhythm passing on experiences to the next class led to a sustained presence that lasted on campus for nine decades.

“Without a doubt if most Graduates were asked to name that event which, of the varied multiplicity of forms, loomed largest on the horizon of the scholastic year, their choice would be the publication of the Year Book . . . it is the result of their attempts to portray in succinct form, both to Alumni and Under-Grads, all that which occurred within the cycle of their daily lives at Setonia. WE present it with pride, for we fell that in it we have attained our purpose . . . We have merely presented phases from the humble life-drama of Setonians. Those figures that strutted unimportantly before the eyes of many are now paraded in a steady light. Those associations which engrossed our attention are seen in pleasant retrospect. We have turned the X-ray on the thought, spirit, deeds, and accomplishments of a student life and disclosed the skeleton. We have not attempted to analyze, to caricature, or to be distinctly erudite. In a word, our purpose was to present in the simplest way the record of a family life. If there are
occasional little traits of delicate feeling and sentiment manifested, we feel that the reader will not censure us for it. Especially informative in its character, the Year Book served to bridge the gap between the student and Alumnus. It is a story which a student tells to the “Old Grads.” A
story – yes, for it contains those varied elements that minster to our delight. It is enlivened by incidental adventures; it describes the places in which the scene is cast; the motley groups of character are skillfully drawn; genial humor pervades its pages, and the whole is a lively picture
of a real student life. It is well that such a story should be told occasionally by Setonains, for it is certain that there are many who will be interested in it . . . It is the wish of the editors that it will be greeted with the same spirit which made possible its present success and that future classes will find in it an incentive to carry on the pleasant duty of preserving the traditions of
their Alma Mater.”

By virtue of their timely focus, yearbooks are usually issued at the end of an academic cycle, but take several months to produce in order to: “. . . record, highlight, and commemorate the past year of a school.” Publications of this type had their ancestral origins in self-created student diaries, journals, and scrapbooks especially when it came to pasting snapshots, news clippings, cards, etc. and writing marginalia notes to accompany these artifacts. This personalized means of autobiographical expression became the general inspiration for the concept of school yearbooks in the modern sense and memorializing connections between a student and their
institutional ties as a result. The “White and Blue” was no exception. When it came to the Seton Hall approach in yearbook creation and looking at its legacy those digitized and found in the Digital Collections repository include the “White and Blue” (1924-1933, 1939, 1941-1942) and “Galleon” (1940, 1947-2006) in full text. However, due to financial issues and World War II no annual was produced during the years 1934-1938 and 1943-1946 respectively while the last edition featured is a combination of the 2002-2006 in one volume to honor the Sesquicentennial of the school.

Various Covers of the Seton Hall College/University White & Blue/Galleon, 1940s-50s

The overall and specific appearance of each edition of the Seton Hall-produced yearbook from the “White and Blue” through the “Galleon” periods alike varied each time as depicted by the preferred graphics, font type, jargon, period humor, photographic poses, and other illustrative
choices that distinguished this specialized tome over time including such early loose themes as – “Collegiate Humor,” “Egyptian Motifs,” and “Medieval Learning” among others of note. After the final format for each edition was approved it was remitted to a professional publishing firm.
The first partnership made was with the Colyer Printing Company of Newark (1924-1933, 1947) and followed in sequence by publishing/printing concerns including Robert W. Kelly of New York City (1939); New City “Engravatone” of Union City (1940-1941); Baker-Jones-Hauser, Inc.
of New York City (1942); Campus Publishing of Philadelphia (1948-1949); and Progress Associates, Inc. of Caldwell (1950-55) leading up to the commemorative Centennial Edition of 1956.

From this landmark text onward, other professional publishers were employed and adopted the responsibility by working in tandem with various official local photography studios over the years in conjunction via the editorial team and publisher to create a finished product that is viewable in the electronic copies found on this site. In terms of size, page lengths varied from the first edition of 1924 that featured 78 inside pages and grew to most subsequent volumes featuring no less than a few hundred glossy sheets as a standard over time. The physical dimensions of each yearbook has also varied over the years with the most compact being the 1925 edition (8’ x 10”) and the 1974 and 1976 boxed editions (approx. 9 ½” x 12 ½” each) the largest with most other latter-day copies measuring the standard 9 ¼” x 12 ¼” extent.

The characteristic appearance features a traditional facing page approach with content bound within a hard cover (aside from the 1924 which was all paper) as the typically accepted template. Production usually consisted of a two-color (usually black and blue text with black and white photography) approach from 1925-1947 and multi-color editions eventually became
the accepted pattern from 1948 through 2006.

Various covers of the Seton Hall University Galleon, 1980s

From a research standpoint, the Seton Hall yearbook remains a popular social history reference work that provides latter-day readers and family historians in particular with life in a prescribed time period. It also fosters memories and is a marker for those interested in historical research
and student demographic trends. On the sociological front, formally published yearbooks are becoming extinct in the traditional sense as social media and other means of presentation have modernized the process of student expression and memorialization.

As you can see upon reading different editions of the Seton Hall yearbook, the content offerings have changed from a balance of textual and photographic representation during the first six decades to a more photographic-based volume each year from the 1960s through the early-mid 2000s. At its core, the lasting need for such information is pointed out in the pages of the Diamond Jubilee History of 1931, whereby the value of the school yearbook was timely upon publication and remains manifest upon reflection. “The publication of a Year Book or ‘Annual’ by the graduating class has in recent years become a regular part of a college activity. Such a book is to the members of the class a permanent record of their achievements while in college, and a source of happy reminiscences in later life . . . Each succeeding issue of the “White and Blue” (and “The Galleon”) has been enlarged and improved in one way or another . . . ” which will benefit the reader of today and the future alike.

Various Covers of the Seton Hall University Galleon, 1990s-2006

Access to the digitized collection of Seton Hall Yearbooks can be found via the following link –  https://scholarship.shu.edu/yearbooks/  Hard copies of the Yearbook can be accessed via the Archives & Special Collections Center during office hours and by appointment.

For more information regarding yearbook content and all other aspects of school history please feel free to contact us via the Archives & Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University – Alan.Delozier@shu.edu / (973) 275-2378.

Seton Hall 150 Years Ago – 1870

When looking back at the nation and world 150 years ago there were many memorable milestones that have since shaped society in various ways.  These included the start of construction on the Brooklyn Bridge, enactment of the 15th amendment to the United States Constitution allowing African American males the right to vote, and Pius IX declared papal infallibility in matters of faith and morals among others.  On the local front, Seton Hall College was in the process of celebrating its 14th anniversary of operations and tenth on the South Orange campus with its eye to future development as a modest, but growing institution of higher education.

The student catalog(ue) for that year noted that the campus proper: “ . . . is situated near the village of South Orange, distant, by railroad, sixteen and a half miles from New York, and six and a half from Newark: accessible from New York in about an hour.  The College buildings are of great architectural beauty, large and commodious, thoroughly ventilated, well heated by steam, and lighted by gas.  In addition to the buildings represented in the frontispiece, a large stone home has been erected for the Sisters and servants the Wardrobes and Infirmaries . . . The location is upon high ground, overlooking a beautiful country.  The Orange Mountains have long been recommended by physicians as a most favorable residence for their patients.  For years past, the advantages of the surrounding country, for breath, extensive view, and proximity to New York, have been fully appreciated; hence the villas and mansions on every eligible site for miles around.”  This presented the incoming student with a helpful overview of their surroundings and vista if they stayed to experience the entire seven year curriculum in vogue at that time.

Rev. Michael A. Corrigan, Fourth President of Seton Hall

Counted among the administrative highlights during this year included the bishopric of James Roosevelt Bayley, first leader of the Diocese of Newark and founder of Seton Hall along with the fourth president of the college, Rev. Michael A. Corrigan, who would later become Archbishop of New York.  Invaluable support was provided by clergy, lay teachers, and representatives from the Sisters of Charity who tended the infirmary.  They were ever cognizant that: “. . . the object of the Institution is to impart a good education, in the highest sense of the word – to train the moral, intellectual and physical being.  The health, manners, and morals of the pupils are an object of constant attention.  The system of government is mild and paternal, yet firm in enforcing the observance of established discipline . . . The better to carry our the design of the Institution . . . For this reason, it is expedient that parents who wish to accrue, places for their sons in SETON HALL should make early application.”  These spiritual and academic mentors managed a diverse student body that not only featured learners from New Jersey and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, but also from such locales as Alabama, Louisiana, and abroad from Cuba, Colombia, New Grenada, and the Yucatan.

When it came to preparation for college life, each budding student had to arrive in South Orange with the following required articles if they were to be boarding on campus:  “ . . . four summer and three winter suits.  He should also have twelve shirts, twelve pairs of stockings, twelve pocket handkerchiefs, six towels, six napkins, three pairs of shoes or boots, a pair of slippers a cloak or overcoat, and two silver spoons, two forks, and a napkin-ring, all marked with his name.”  In terms of expenses, the board and tuition, use of bed and bedding, $400 per annum, payable half-yearly, in advance.  Washing and mending of clothes and linen, $20.  Physician’s fees medicines, etc., $10, Music, $60, and drawing, $50 per annum, for those who wish to learn them.  For use of Piano, $10 per annum.  The German, Italian, and Spanish Languages, each $25 per annum.  Each of these costs represented a substantial investment by parents and students alike prior to the greater inflation associated with expenditures found in the present day.

Once the student were on campus they encountered an academic year that consisted of two sessions of five months each, commences on the first Wednesday of September, and ends on the last Wednesday of June at which time there was a public Exhibition and Distribution of Premiums.  At Christmas there was a vacation of ten days; and in the spring, absence for a day or two will be allowed, when necessary, for the summer equipment of the students.  At no other time were they permitted to leave the College, except for reasons of great importance.  The regular visiting day for parents was on Thursdays.  In addition, weekly reports of all the classes are read before the Professors, Tutors, and Students.  Monthly reports are sent to the parents or guardians.  Below you will find a copy of the academic year calendar that each student followed per term . . .

When it came to the “Fundamental Rules of Discipline” which guided student conduct, this showed the correct ways from staying out of trouble and maintaining decorum among the student body.  These guidelines included the following examples: “The Rules of the College require of all Students a manly bearing and kind, courteous deportment towards each other at all times; application to study during the hours of study, and the through preparation and recitation of the lessons assigned . . . No Student ever leaves the College grounds without permission . . . Leaving the College grounds after nightfall subjects the Student to expulsion . . . The use of tobacco is forbidden . . . No other books other than text-books and works of reference recommended by the Professors can be held by the Students, unless by permission of the President . . . Students are not allowed to receive newspapers, except for their Reading-room, which is under the direction of the President . . . Correspondence is permitted only with parents, guardians, and relatives . . . “  These limitations and other items were part of the student experience along with making sure they paid close attention to their physical health through visits to the college gymnasium and the required classrooms to attend to their proscribed study schedules.  This summary provides but a capsule look at the life encountered by the Setonian of 1870.

For more details about Seton Hall during the 1870s digitized Student Catalog(ue)s and Bulletins can be consulted via our eRepository site at – https://scholarship.shu.edu/undergraduate_catalogues/  and for other queries concerning University History you can e-mail us at – Archives@shu.edu for more information.  Thank you for your interest.

Louis Firth – First Graduate of Setonia

We are currently poised to celebrate the latest Seton Hall commencement in creative ways during this time of COVID-19, but even without a formal communal ceremony we are proud to honor the graduates of the Class of 2020 nonetheless.  We offer them congratulations, but also pause to remember several thousand others who received degrees from Seton Hall over the last few centuries.  In looking back at the history of school commencement exercises and alumni rolls, a common question often arises.  Have you ever wondered who was the first individual to receive a diploma from the Seton Hall?  The answer takes us back to 1862 when a young man by the name of Louis Firth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and became the first to set a trend that lasts to the present day.

When Louis Firth crossed the Hudson River to New Jersey from his New York City home to attend Seton Hall College as a freshman in 1857 he knew that a seven-year academic journey (Prep and College divisions were combined at this time) that a unique intellectual awakening awaited him.  What he experienced followed a set of prescribed and orderly goals that he and his fellow Setonians took to heart: “The object of the Institution is to impart a good education in the highest sense of the word – to train the moral, intellectual, and physical being.  The health, manners, and morals of the pupils, are an object of constant attention.  The system of government is mild and paternal, yet firm in enforcing the observance of established discipline.  No pupil will be received from another College without unexceptional testimonials, and none will be retained, whose manners and morals are not satisfactory.”

After graduation, Firth moved back to New York City and lived most of his life at West 37th Street in Manhattan as one of a growing number of alumni who remained in the metropolitan area. In an interview conducted during the early 20th century, Firth opened up to the local press about his days at Seton Hall and some of the memorable figures he encountered during his halcyon days on campus.

Early in the article the reporter noted that: “Mr. Firth who is hale and hearty and as active as a man twenty years his junior, paid a tribute to the work of the first president (Father Bernard McQuaid) when the college was at Madison, where he first saw him in 1857, and at South Orange when the college was established there.”  Of Reverend McQuaid, Firth marveled at his “vigor” and went on to recount that: “. . . this remarkable man had a wonderful influence over the boys at college . . . the holy and learned men with which he surrounded himself and taught us imparted the qualities which fit a man to live.  Character was formed at Seton Hall, because of the environment.”

Rev. Bernard J. McQuaid, President of Seton Hall College (1856-57 and 1859-68)

When it came to recollecting his graduation day, Firth colorfully illustrated the scene and his creativity in marking this historical day . . .

“The first commencement exercises were held on an improvised stage built under the trees just east of the present college buildings.  There were but a small number present, as South Orange was but a hamlet, and there were no cars to Newark.  Through a prank played by the boys a few nights before commencement day, I came very near not being the first graduate of the college.  It happened in this way: The college bell rang every morning at 4 o’clock, and the farmers for miles around roe by it.  One night we planned to ring it at 2 o’ clock instead, and after setting the college clock two hours fast, I was selected to pull the rope.  I did it, and hustled back to bed.  The college prefect, whose duty it was to ring the bell, appeared just then, looked at the clock and went about his early morning work, wondering all the while how the bell rung.  The farmers were awakened and started in to do a day’s work.  Needless to say, when the sun did not rise at the appointed time, watches were compared, and the faculty decided that a prank had been played.”   Needless to say that despite the “time change” Firth managed to make it to the ceremony and receive his honor due.  A full overview of the ceremony can be viewed below . . .

For more information on the 1862 academic year  and other early 19th century details featuring studies at Seton Hall please consult our Undergraduate Catalog(ue) links found via the Archives & Special Collections – eRepository site at – https://scholarship.shu.edu/archives/    We are also available to assist with information on commencement ceremonies along with other research questions concerning Seton Hall and we can be reached via e-mail at:  Archives@shu.edu

WSOU-FM – The First Air Date and Researching This Milestone

Contributed By  Jack Kelly, BA ‘66,  MMAS US Army Command and General Staff College, 1981

Anyone writing about Seton Hall student organizations history can access significant material in the Archives & Special Collections Center.  This is especially true with regard to the founding and first airing of radio station WSOU-FM, the first College operated FM station in New Jersey.  On April 14, WSOU celebrated its 72nd Anniversary.

Front Page of the March 5, 1948 Setonian proclaiming the creation of W-S-O-U FM

Among the archival items which provided the background and ensuing explanation of the WSOU founding were the Memoirs of Msgr. James F. Kelley ’24, the President of Seton Hall College.  The Memoirs have a section devoted to WSOU as a student run activity and can be coupled with important description of the events which took place from the inception and thought to the actual on-air event on April 14th, 1948.

As a new of enterprise, Seton Hall needed approval of the Board of Trustees and the then Archbishop of Newark, Thomas J.  Walsh for whom the Walsh gymnasium is named and the home of WSOU for its 72 year history. Msgr. Kelley described an exchange with U.S. President Harry Truman and his daughter Margaret, at which time a possible allocation of a station might be accomplished.  He merely had to educate and persuade the Board of Trustees.  In addition, the actual cost of the building of the station would be a significant amount of money, Msgr. Kelley finessed this by persuading several donors to finance the acquisition of the needed equipment, and through his many contacts, he even acquired a radio tower, which still stands today at the rear of the Walsh Gymnasium and Regan Athletic Center complex.

Cover Art of Early W-S-O-U FM Program Guide, c. 1948

Construction of the Seton Hall radio station actually began in January 1948, as reported in the Setonian, under the tutelage of Fr. (later Msgr.) Thomas J. Gillhooly ‘33 whom he had appointed the Director, in the previous December with a mission of actually getting station built.  Fr. Gillhooly organized the original staff of the station and with the help of several students, notably Thomas N. Parnham ‘50, who would remain the Chief Engineer until his death in 1994 and Victor J. Kemper ’50, later to become a noted cinema-photographer in Hollywood, the actual physical installation of the WSOU was accomplished in time to go on air as needed on April 14, even if the radio tower was not yet erected and a lower power output had to be used.

Studio Engineer “cues up” a record for broadcast within the W-S-O-U FM studio, c. late 1940s-early 1950s

The big day arrived on a Wednesday, and at 8:00 PM the first words were spoken by Fr. Gillhooly to start the event, with the Archbishop in attendance along with the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Ted Husing, a noted sports announcer of the time, and for whom the Press box in Walsh Gymnasium was subsequently dedicated.  Soon afterward the initial launch,  the “Voice of Seton Hall” would be on the air seven days a week, providing a variety of programs, including live performances, recorded music, the first nationality oriented programs and eventually remote broadcast of events such as Baseball and Basketball as well as community topics of interest in the New York Metropolitan area.

Various collections concerning WSOU-FM radio can be found via our Homepage at:  https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=wsou&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

Additional information about the history of WSOU-FM radio are welcome along with questions about existing resources can be found by contacting us via e-mail site at:  Archives@shu.edu