From Friday the 13th and black cats to tossing salt over one’s left shoulder to ward off evil spirits, superstitions and rituals are rooted in a mixture of religion, mythology, and folklore. They have the power to ward off evil, bring good luck, cure sickness, even stop people from performing certain activities on certain days.
However, every culture is different and what is unlucky in one may be lucky in another. Instead of Friday the 13th, it is Tuesday the 13th that is thought to be unlucky in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Greece, Mexico, and Serbia. For Italy, it is Friday the 17th.
Where a black cat can be thought to mean bad luck, in Ireland it may lead to fortune as “several of the great lake serpents and water-cows of our Irish Fairy Mythology are supposed to guard treasurers; in some instances black cats are similarly employed” (Wilde, 98).
Some of Ireland’s other superstitions and rituals revolve around fairies and goblins, stating,
“…if you cast the dust that is under your foot against the whirlwind at the instant that it passes you, “them that’s in it” (that is, if they have any human being along with them) are obliged to be released” (Wilde, 130).
Then there are those that involve fire, most notably on days of celebration such as May Day and St. John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve:
“If a man was to perform a long journey, he leaped backwards and forwards three times through the fire to render himself invulnerable” (Wilde, 49).
“When the fire has nearly expired, and the dancing, singing, and carousing are over, each individual present provides himself with a braune, or ember of the fire, to carry home with him, which, if it becomes extinguished before he reaches his house, it is an omen of impending misfortune” (Wilde, 49).
“Walking around a burning flame during St. John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve spares one from being sick the whole year” (Putzi, 196).
Other curious Irish rituals include keeping spiders in a bag to be worn as a pendant or necklace to cure fever. However, if the bag is opened it will cause back luck. To remove a sty on one’s eyelid, the person should point to the direction of a gooseberry thorn nine times while chanting “Away, away, away!”.
But if things still go awry, you find your milk has curdled, you can always blame the fairies!
Other superstitions and rituals can be found in:
Putzi, S. (Ed.). (2008). To z world superstitions & folklore : 175 countries – spirit worship, curses, mystical characters, folk tales, burial and the dead, animals, food, marriage, good luck, and more. ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
Wilde, W. R. (1852). Irish popular superstitions. J. McGlashan.
Contributed by Mr. Edward Wightman, Former Research Intern and Student at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
The World War Two era was a period of great change not only in the United States but in the world. The war itself directly impacted the world with massive destruction and innumerable lives lost. The aftermath of the war saw the return of thousands of soldiers to the United States all hoping to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and its benefits and pursue higher education at universities throughout the country and Seton Hall was one of these many Universities that experienced this influx of new students returning on the G.I. Bill.
The Seton Hall student newspaper The Setonian gives us insight into the impact of the war on students and student life on campus although this source is limited as The Setonian was not running during the years of American involvement of the war despite the university being open. Despite this limitation The Setonian does provide excellent information about the period before and immediately after the war at Seton Hall. In the years leading up to the war there were a number of articles published that ask students about the threat of the rise of Communism, and if students think there will be another large scale global war. The Setonian also has a number of articles detailing the many different student organizations that are promoting peace among world powers including the Pax Romana organization and the Catholic Student Peace Federation. The articles tell us that there were many groups of students in the years between the two World Wars who were advocates of peace and hoped their movement could prevent another great war.
One of the other interesting areas that is briefly mentioned in The Setonian is the opinion of then Seton Hall the Rev. Msgr. James F. Kelley on the rise of both Communism and Facism throughout Europe. An article in The Setonian dated to March 23, 1937 describes President Kelley’s address at the Eighty First Feast of St. Joseph, during this address Re. Msgr. Kelley expresses his opinion as well as the opinion of the Catholic Church on Communism and its rise. There also is an article documenting a movement by students supporting the Catholic War Veterans of America’s campaign against communism in the United States. The pre war years at Seton Hall as documented by The Setonian depict a level of concern among students about the growing threat of Communism and the fears of another global conflict that were fears shared by many Americans at the time.
The Second World War began September 1, 1939 with the Nazi German invasion of Poland followed by the declaration of war on Germany by France and Britain on September third. The United States would later enter the war following the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war on the United States by Nazi Germany on December 11, 1941. As many universities would experience Seton Hall saw a vast majority of its students leave to serve in the war. It was at this time that The Setonian did not run as there were not enough students to run the paper so we have a very limited knowledge of what student life and activity was like at Seton Hall during the years of the war.
The end of World War Two on September 2, 1945 led to the return of the many thousands of soldiers to the United States. These soldiers would be given many benefits under the Servicemen Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill. This bill provided returning soldiers with a number of benefits and among these was the ability to pursue a degree at a college or vocational school with tuition paid for by the government. This section of the bill led to an influx of new students at universities throughout the United States and Seton Hall experienced this first hand. The return of students to Seton Hall also brought the return of the student newspaper The Setonian which documented the impact of the students returning to school and those who were pursuing educations on the G.I. Bill. In the aftermath of the war a new column was started in The Setonian called “veteran’s corner” which was a dedicated column providing information for all veterans on campus regarding all manner of topics. We also see a number of articles that describe some of the issues faced by Seton Hall in the post-war period such as shortages of housing and food for the increasing numbers of students among other issues.
The Setonian is a very valuable resource for understanding the aftermath of World War Two and the impact of the G.I. Bill on universities. The many articles published at this time especially those in the “Veteran’s Corner” column are invaluable in providing information about what life was like for returning veterans, and what they were provided with while attending Seton Hall. We also see other articles outside of the “Veteran’s Corner” column discussing the influx of veteran students one such article is titled “Plan For Vets” from March 13, 1946 which is an article that discusses the plan by Seton Hall to manage the influx of veterans at the school and its plans to assist them. Another article is found in the “National College News” column which on November 3, 1946 published an article discussing the problems faced by universities throughout the nation including housing shortages as well as food shortages due to so many new students on the G.I. Bill and those students bringing their families to school with them.
The World War Two era was a time of great flux for universities throughout the United States as student attendance numbers rapidly decreased during the years of American involvement in the war, and then rapidly increased to all time highs in the years following the war. Seton Hall was among these universities who experienced this impact tremendously, as it faced the challenges of losing many students to the war, and then the challenges of the large number of students pursuing education on the G.I. Bill.
The liturgical commemorations that distinguish the feast days of All Saints (November 1st) and All Souls (November 2nd) that are both important times of reflection and veneration by many adherents who believe in the spirit of Christianity. Along with iconography and dedicated prayers, the most evident means of honoring the memories of those who came before us can be found in the bibliographic record created over time. This encompasses various accounts, sermons, pronouncements, and legacies of innumerable individuals have recorded relevant declarations throughout the past several centuries and preserved for the ages.
Within the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, a number of theological-based volumes have been collected by our past and present clergy that honor the prayers of the faithful along with titles on individual saints who have been memorialized over time. All Saints Day (or All Hallow’s Day) is a time of dedicated solemnity to honor all blessed individuals who have attained canonization especially blessed individuals who do not have their own respective feast day within the calendar. The start of formal celebrations in regard to sainthood possibly began in Antioch and the inspiration for present day commemoration of November 1st as the Feast of All Saints was first documented by 800 AD within such manuscripts as the Martyrology of Tallaght and Martyrology of Óengusfrom Éire and spread forward to Bavaria, Nothumbria (England), the Frankish Kingdom (a day of total obligation even prior to its emergence as part of the Holy Roman Empire) along its present-day presence.
When it comes to individual titles on those canonized located in our stacks, the oldest text devoted to a saint is a compilation of sermons and devotions created by Bernard of Clarivoux. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153 AD) was a native of Burgundy and spent his life as a monastic abbot within the Order of Cistercians (Trappists). He later became the first Cistercian placed on the Christian Calendar of Saints and was canonized on January 18, 1174 and over half a century later was bestowed with the title: “Doctor of the Church” in honor of his contributions to the faith. The volume that celebrates his legacy found within our collection is entitled (in the Latin): Sermones de t(em)p(or)e et de sanctis: cu(m) omelijs Beati Bernardi Abbatis Clareualle(n)s(is) ordinis Cisterciensis; cu(m) no(n)nullis ep(isto)lis eiusde(m) (English: Conversations about t [em] p [or] of the holy places [m] omelijs St. Bernard Abbot Clareualle [n] [is] a Cistercian [m] no [n] with no ep [this] issue eiusdë [m]) (Impressi Venetijs : Per Iohannem Emericu[m] de Spira Alemanu[m], sub anno I[n]carnatio[n]is D[omi]nice, 1495). [Call Number is: BXZ890.B5377 1495]
When it comes to the commemoration of All Souls Day (Latin: Commemoratio Omnium Fidelium Defunctorum also known as the: “Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed” or the “Day of the Dead”) in celebration of the faithful who are counted among the deceased. In terms of textual origins, the practice of praying for the corpus dates can be traced back as far as the Book of Maccabees 12:42–46.
“It’s Your World” serves as the maxim for the United Nations (UN), an organization that has been active in the promotion of fundamental human rights issues along with countless altruistic pursuits across the globe since the adoption of its charter in 1945. The work being done by the UN on a community-wide level encompasses the importance of fostering peace and positive social relations, eliminating illiteracy, and supporting the need for wide-spread and sustained educational initiatives. Each of the concepts also mirror the academic mission of Seton Hall and its impact upon the campus community in a myriad of ways.
With October 2020 marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations this is an opportunte time for Seton Hall to recognize their relationship with this worldwide association to build public awareness of its goals, sponsoring special thematic programs, and offering academic-centered links to classroom instruction and research opportunities among other activities. In recent years for example, Seton Hall has sponsored a Model UN team, UN Summer Program, the Center for UN and Global Governance Studies and a Certificate Program in UN Studies among other connected endeavors. This trend of advocacy has also been strengthened through the present-day work of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations and those connected with this entity, but the story of UN and SHU collaboratives can be traced back a number decades ago.
From the post-World War II period forward, Seton Hall has been actively involved with various aspects of world affairs and issues that impact the planet in general, and the UN in particular, with the creation of an International Relations Club during the late 1940s. In addition, the administration of Setonia has been very active in promoting the UN with regular correspondence between organization officials and event planning in tandem with frequent instances of faculty and connected student work. This outreach began in earnest under the leadership of Monsignor John McNulty during the 1950 and heightened further throughout the presidential term of Bishop John Dougherty (1959-69). Bishop Dougherty himself personally, or jointly sponsored a number of different symposia and philanthropic events that connected with UN causes both around Newark, and across most of Northern New Jersey during the 1960s.
Counted among the affiliated organizations with the UN that have established close bonds with Seton Hall include the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) which has enjoyed a productive partnership over the last several decades. The UNA-USA (formerly known as the American Association for the United Nations, or AAM during the 1940s) bills itself as a unique alliance constituted of Americans who devote themselves to aid through action to the UN and its mission. With a membership that numbers over 20,000 (across 200 chapters across the nation), those who belong to any UNA-USA chapter are cohesive in their commitment to positive global engagement based explicitly on the goals set forth within the UN Charter proper.
In 2011, Seton Hall acquired the bulk of UNA-USA archival records from its then-national headquarters in New York City and includes materials that date back to the AAM years (the first iteration of the UNA-USA) into the previous decade (c. 1943-2011). Individual file entries include: Board Minutes, Members’ Day (i.e. UN Day), National Convention Transcripts, Members’ Day (i.e. UN Day), Policy-Iran Dialogue, and various Chapter Files from across the entire United States. In addition, these holdings have been further enhanced by a number of UN and other UNA-USA produced journals and promotional materials including: TheInterdependent, Global Agenda, Vista, and the Washington Weekly Report among others.
October and early November also mark milestones in the lives of prominent women who are noted for their long-standing advocacy work and have an enduring presence within our various UN-related collections. The first is Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) who served as former Presidential First-Lady, Delegate to the UN General Assembly, and was commissioned as the first Chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights during the 1940s.
A number of materials within our UNA-USA files and contextual reference holdings bear her imprint and influence which has aided our research community in looking at the overall scope of the United Nations and its founding documents. Another important figure is Ms. Marsha Hunt (b. October 17, 1917) who just celebrated her 103rd birthday. Ms. Hunt is a retired actor, model, and activist who appeared in many acclaimed films including Pride and Prejudice (1940) among many others during her time in Hollywood. During the early 1950s, Ms. Hunt became deeply involved with UN-centered projects including the elimination of world hunger, building homeless shelters, awareness of climate change, and support of universal peace activism among other related causes.
In an interview conducted with the author in 2018, Ms. Hunt noted that she began her life of advocacy after a return journey from around the world in 1956 that resulted in her credo that: “. . . we’re all a part of the planet.” From here she served in a number of capacities including an affiliation with the National Board of the UNA-USA along with a stint as their Vice-President while simultaneously engaging in numerous other activities on behalf of regional chapters in California and New York City that also complimented frequent speaking engagements across the country. Among her most effective contributions to the cause of UN involvement came with her producing and co-writing a documentary film entitled: “A Call From The Stars” released in 1960 that features a number of famous actors that have worked with Ms. Hunt including Bing Crosby, Paul Newman, and Harry Belafonte among others along with various radio programs and composing the words and music to the song: “Cry of a Refugee Child” during that same decade. When asked about the value of researching UN and UNA-USA activities, Ms. Hunt concluded that the importance is: “To learn about all the UN specialized agencies . . . to give audience members literature so that they might learn more. I never spoke of politics but only of helping people who were hungry and in need . . . Be a part of the planet, not the politics . . . “ continues to serve as her overall message.
Other individuals including Ms. Toby Gati (former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, 1993-97 and former Senior Vice President of the UNA-USA) who have supported the collection, Professor Courtney Smith of Seton Hall who facilitated the donation of materials to our repository, Mr. Edward Elmendorf (President and Chief Executive Officer of the UNA-USA) and many others including Ms. Sarah Burns, a friend and associate of Marsha Hunt who has served on the Boards of the National Women’s Political Caucus and the National Council of UNA-USA among other organizations has been very supportive of our efforts at Seton Hall on behalf of the UN and its lasting significance.
Ms. Burns in an interview done in conjunction with the author in 2018 provides additional and important context as a long-time advocate of the UN and UNA-USA especially from her grade school days when she learned of the organization in the Weekly Reader along with an early visit to the UN building in New York City. These seminal events led her to reflect that: “I was immediately mesmerized. I became fascinated by the UN and fell in love with it: I wanted to become a part of it and its important mission. Thus it became my professional goal to become a part of the United Nations and to help carry out its important work.” This involvement escalated further to include a major appointment as the Committee for Non-Governmental Relations (NGO) Liaison and later the Deputy Director for the Washington Office of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) where she headed this important agency for many years. This focus included extensive collaboration with the UNA-USA National Office while also serving as a representative to various governmental agencies while also engaging with media outlets including radio, television, international symposia and other means of communication to share needed information updates. When it comes to the need for continued research with UN and UNA-USA documentation, Ms. Burns noted that: “I hope researchers who come to see and work with this collection at Seton Hall University will discover the invaluable work that the UN does to protect refugees, eradicate poverty, support family planning and keep the peace. I hope that researchers and students will understand the importance of the UN and the meaningful role that those who support it can play, in particular those who can shed a public spotlight on the UN and its work, such as actors, performers and artists.”
A number of researchers have already availed themselves of UNA-USA holdings in particular as long-time author, Mr. Jim Wurst wrote a detailed study of the organization in his book entitled: The UN Association-USA: A Little Known History of Advocacy and Action (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2016), Mr. Wurst spent a number of years reviewing the UNA-USA collection and this work drew in large measure upon resources within UNA-USA Papers located within our repository combined with research collaboration efforts made with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations on campus. As the preface in this volume noted in effect: “The issue of international welfare combined with historical preservation offers our research community the opportunity to learn more about how the UNA-USA developed over time and continues to move forward into is seventh decade of activity.” Even today the work of Mr. Wurst has inspired others to collaborate with us on research projects that connect to the UNA-USA including a doctoral student from the Netherlands who is communicating with the Center via e-mail during the Fall 2020 semester at this time of Covid quarantine precautions and international travel restrictions in mind.
Along with the UNA-USA holdings, Seton Hall features a number of collections that connect to the UN and also others which have unique and specialized content. These include, but are not limited the following Manuscript Collections . . .
Nancy Forsberg Papers (Mss 0022) Nancy Elizabeth Forsberg was an expert in Hebrew culture and education. She was ordained in June 1951 and became pastor of the First Congregational Church in Union, New Jersey in 1967. This collection includes various files related to UN activities including the following topic areas: American Association of the United Nations (AAUN), Church Center for the United Nations; Israel and the UN; Middle East Affairs, 1954-67; Music and Prayer; Plays; Speaker Services; Specialized Agencies of the UN; United Nations 1952-62; UN Charter and Declaration of Human Rights; and Visual Aids among other content.
Thomas and Margaret Melady Papers (Mss 0072) Ambassador Thomas P. and Dr. Margaret B. Melady have been involved in diplomatic and international affairs since the 1950s, particularly on the continent of Africa along with multiple diplomatic posts for the United States. Former ambassador and SHU faculty. This collection includes various files related to UN activities including the following geographical areas: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Sengal along with the Africa Service Institute among other entities abroad.
Donald M. Payne Papers (Mss 0078) Donald M. Payne was New Jersey’s first African American congressional representative and served as New Jersey’s 10th district representative from 1989-2012. During his time in Congress, Congressman Payne served on a number of important committees and was a leading advocate for education, democracy, and human rights. He has various files and photographs related to the United Nations within his collection holdings during his time in Congress.
Other prominent figures in our Manuscript Collections area from Rev. Edward Flannery to Msgr. John Oesterreicher to Sister Rose Thering also have UN-related content in their respective papers especially in regard to Israel. Additionally, New Jersey legislator Mr. Marcus Daly has an original manuscript of lecture notes entitled: “The Second Period of Collaboration: The United Nations” from the 1950s that focuses on the state of organization and the world in honor of its 15th anniversary of works. Further information on these and other UN references found within our Manuscript Collection can be provided via the following link – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?q=%22United+Nations%22&op=&field=keyword&from_year=&to_year=&page=1
In addition, Professor Lisa DeLuca of the University Libraries has produced a well-developed Reference Guide on the United Nations which can provide the researcher with relevant resources related to the United Nations and its operations. The site can be accessed here – https://library.shu.edu/un
For more information on documents related to the United Nations and the UNA-USA and other international or local queries alike please feel free to contact the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.
“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.
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.”
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.
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 . . .
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 . . .
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.
This October, in celebration of Family History Month, explore the Genealogy Resources the Archives & Special Collections has from Catholic parishes and various Catholic cemeteries in the Archdiocese of Newark, comprising of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union Counties. Find your ancestors and discover clues about their life! While we encourage researching family history with our collections, we do so by asking you to submit a Genealogy Research Request Form where we will perform a FREE 1 HOUR search on your behalf. Please note we do not search for baptismal, communion, confirmation, or marriage records post-1930 because of privacy concerns.
If you have further questions about our collection, or your family history research, please contact Jacquelyn Deppe, the Special Collections Assistant, via e-mail: email@example.com or by phone at: (973) 761-9476.
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.
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
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 . . .
During the Winter-Spring 2020 semester I served as an intern at Seton Hall where I worked in the Archives and Special Collections Center under Walsh Library. They house a number of collection areas including institutional records, New Jersey history, Irish and Irish-American history, and additionally serve as the repository for records regarding the Archdiocese of Newark. But over the next few months my work was focused on SHU A, or the university’s audio-visual records.
One thing I have learned during my fledgling archival career is that the real world is very different from coursework. Although this may seem obvious the differences manifest in surprising ways. Often archivists are not part of an organization’s record keeping plan from the outset; they enter the scene well after one or several people have compiled records deemed important. In the past the same has been true of Seton Hall. Books and records were dutifully kept but without full consideration as to whether they fell under the archives’ purview. Similarly, the decision was made to separate out certain record types from their original collection. This is the case with SHU’s photograph collection, and before this semester was true of SHU A. When Technical Archivist Sheridan Sayles pointed out the 3 shelves full of boxes my first day in late January, I thought perhaps I was in over my head. There were boxes full of VHS and cassette tapes, many of which were blank or confusingly labeled. On the shelves beside the boxes were rows of record albums. These came in their commercial boxes and homemade sleeves, with a books of multi-disc albums rounding out the row of records.
I took part in several different AV projects during my semester at SHU. Initially, I consolidated and organized the array of VHS tapes. This consisted of surveying what was in the collection, weeding out commonly produced or off-focus tapes, and rehoming objects with their original existent collection. Separating taped episodes of The Sopranos from the collection was easy, but categorizing the wide range of news clips, Seton Hall TV spots, filmed lectures, and other miscellaneous tapes was something of a challenge. Many were also lacking much or any descriptive information, so they were viewed in order to try and find context so they could be better sorted.
I then set to work capturing the existing collections where the tapes belonged. These areas included the Athletics, College of Business, Poetry in the Round, and WSOU, just to name a few. I created spreadsheets outlining the new additions to the collections, including metadata information like the title, date, and format for easier search and organization in the future.
The process was then repeated with record albums: they were surveyed, weeded, rehoused, and reassigned to their original collections. In this way over the course of a few weeks we transformed SHU A from over a dozen linear feet of shelving into 3 neat boxes.
The archives welcomes undergraduate interns and has a variety of appropriate projects suited to different interests. Current Seton Hall students interested in working in the archives who are eligible for federal work study, please send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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