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.

 

Family History Month

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: jacquelyn.deppe@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 761-9476.

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.

Working with Seton Hall’s Audiovisual Collections

by Kyle Brinster, MS-MLIS candidate at

photo of damaged record
A laquer disc with deterioration of the plasticizer

St. John’s University

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 sarah.ponichtera@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.

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


African American Studies – 50th Anniversary of Distinction

The legacy and importance of formal African American Studies curricular development on campus goes back five decades.  Originally known as the Center for Black Studies, its founding date of August 1, 1970 heralded the start of a unique and valuable learning opportunity for the Seton Hall University academic community which continues to this day.

Student Artist from the African-American Studies program, c. early 1980s

From its adoption, the early vision of Dr. George Jackson who was appointed the first Director of Black Studies combined with strong administrative support from Msgr. Thomas Fahy, University President and Bishop John Dougherty, President Emeritus, the program had a successful launch and solid foundation from which to build further recognition.  The Center for Black Studies offered students the choice of a certificate, or degree-bearing option of study which included a Bachelor of Arts in Black Culture or Black Community Studies upon successful completion of coursework.  This program has continued to evolve over time and from the 1980s forward changed its operating title and is now focused on offering diplomas centered on both African American and Africana Studies in particular.

The ongoing mission of the Center for African American Studies has been well-documented throughout its history via the existence of various writings produced by the institute from its planning days during the late 1960s forward.  The following passage captures the philosophical approach created by the founders and developed upon over time: “The Black Studies Center seeks to encourage Black scholars to develop vital skills in the interest of the Black community . . . It also recognizes that part of its mission must be to operate in a manner which will promote humane application of contemporary knowledge and skills to the Black community and to society in general.  If scholarship is to be one of the tools by which total freedom is to be obtained then the Black scholar and those who guide his development must accept no compromise for excellence.”  This all tied into the prime objective of training individuals who would continue to promote research and create publications related to African American themes for present and future generations to explore in more depth.

The archival records that correspond to the Center for African American Studies contain materials documenting the operation of the institute from 1970 until the late 1980s.  Included within our holdings connected to this area are examples of budget data, office memoranda, course offering overviews, meeting minutes, newsletters, notices, and various operational files that show the inner-workings of the Center.  More details about this collection can be found by consulting the following finding aid:  https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/316

In addition to the Center for African American Studies proper, the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center holds a number of other resources related to the African American experience.  More details on specific collections and relevant holdings can be found via the following site:  https://library.shu.edu/collections-guide/african-american-studies

For more information on any aspect of African-American or University History you can contact us by phone: (973) 275-2378, or via e-mail at: <Alan.Delozier@shu.edu>

“Ever More” – Edgar Allan Poe & Rare Book Holdings

With the calendar pointing to late October, reading trends this time of year often focus on tales of mystery and mayhem connected with the observance of Halloween.  Counted among the most famous authors who represent this time of year so vividly is Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49).  Among his varied literary accomplishments, Poe is often credited with being the first to create and popularize the genre of science fiction.  Many of his stories touched on the darker side of human nature, but his writing style was unique and captured the public imagination.  Within an academic context, the short stories penned by Poe are still assigned by many professors as required reading for their students to study and learn from in turn.

Illustration from “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” (New York: Brentano’s, 1923)

When it comes to learning more about Edgar Allan Poe, biographical information and introductory information on some of his more famous writings can be found via the University Libraries Search page at: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/results?vid=0&sid=c0971814-1a94-41d1-b97c-87b36a01b8dc%40sessionmgr101&bquery=Edgar%2BAllan%2Bpoe&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZ0eXBlPTAmc2VhcmNoTW9kZT1BbmQmc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d

Inside the Archives & Special Collections are different historical anthologies and special edition volumes that capture the written legacy of Poe in greater detail.  Included are the following titles under his authorship:  Eurkea, Marginalia; A Chapter on Autobiography (Boston: L.C. Page, 1884);  Poetical Works With Original Memoir (New York: J.S. Redfield, 1858);  Poems and Essays (Boston: L.C. Page, 1884);  Prose Tales (Boston: L.C. Page, 1884); and Tales of Mystery and Imagination (New York: Brentano’s, 1923) among other works of scholarship that have endured the test of time.

Illustration connected to the Poe short story: “The Raven” from “Poetical Works With Original Memoir”(New York: J.S. Redfield, 1858)

These and other works by Poe and different authors who specialize in suspense and other genres can be found through within our collection.  For more information about Edgar Allan Poe, Rare Book holdings, and research opportunities please feel free to contact us to arrange an appointment via e-mail: <archives@shu.edu> or by phone at:  (973) 275-2378.

The Latino Experience & Seton Hall University – From Pioneering Students to the Unanue Institute

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month and the 45th Anniversary of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute, the Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that honors the contributions of this Center and its varied accomplishments.

First Page of the 1856-57 Student Register

The historical course of Seton Hall has been enhanced with the presence of Latino students from its foundation years to the present day.  Within the earliest college registers it has been discovered that Mr. Ernesto Regil, a native of the Yucatan Mexico was the 20th student ever enrolled at the school on October 20, 1856.  This milestone led the way to a number of other students from across Mexico along with future classmates from the Latin American countries of Cuba, Ecuador, and Panama among other lands who would consistently fill class rosters during the mid-late 19th century.  Their example led the path, but over time countless students, faculty, administrators, and friends of the Latino experience have also contributed to the positive growth of Seton Hall in their own respective ways.

More formal recognition of the contributions made by the Latino community came about in 1974 with the creation of the Puerto Rican Institute (which would later come to be known as the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute) at Seton Hall University.  Their objective has been to promote scholarship, culture, history, and build further recognition of the value connected with this unique area of study as shown in part through various examples found within this exhibit and within our collective research holdings.

Various reproductions from original texts found within the Archives & Special Collections Center have been included to highlight the early days of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute in order to show in part the educational mission, cultural support, and overall vibrancy and value of this organization across campus and to the wider community.

Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from September through December of 2019 in the First Floor foyer of Walsh Library located across from the stairs and elevator.

  • For additional background and more information on this topic and other aspects of Seton Hall please feel free to contact University Archivist, Alan Delozier at: delozier@shu.edu or by phone: (973) 275-2378.