3D Printing the Past

A black Speedball black press, a gray inking plate, and a Speedball brayer.

Working in the Archives and Special Collections Center, we showcase historically significant print materials to visiting classes who have made these visits part of their curriculum. Implementing a printing demonstration and an opportunity for students and faculty to get involved with the printing process itself will bring a new form of learning into the space and a new way to engage and appreciate the items before them. A Faculty Innovation, or FIG grant, now makes this possible.

Over the years I have had the pleasure of attending Rare Book School out of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, which proved to be part of my inspiration for this project. Just this past summer I saw a working reproduction of an eighteenth-century press which is typically given the name of Franklin Printing Press since it is believed that Benjamin Franklin used something similar. I saw the metal moveable type that was laid out, how the ink was applied, how the paper was arranged, and the strength needed to press the paper onto the moveable type. The entire process made me wish I could requisition a press to be built, procure trays of moveable type, have ink balls, quality paper, and ink.

But that would require thousands of dollars, so the question became how can I do this without spending that amount of money? How can I make it portable? And how can I share the results with others?

My project was born. I decided to take one the earliest typefaces to bring back to life by using emerging technology of the 21st century. This project utilizes Photoshop and Illustrator from Adobe Creative Campus in connection with Fusion360 and a Dremel 3D40 printer which uses PLA filament. Additionally, this project uses a Speedball Block Press and brayer along with an inking plate. I will be using the Archives and Special Collections blog to share updates, tips and tricks, successes and failures so that the process can be expanded and even improved upon by others interested in creating a similar project.

While this project is aimed at becoming an interactive component to class visits in the Archives and Special Collections Center for faculty and students, I also get to practice and refine my skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, and 3D modeling while learning about the 3D printing process. And ultimately, I get to take my first steps in faculty scholarship and in crafting a unique learning experience for the community.

As part of this grant, I have been asked how this project can be implemented within the curriculum. Metal moveable type and the printing press, even the digital aspects of this project, relate to many different subject areas as I will outline below but can apply to much more.

Typography and Graphic Design
Since typography is focused on learning about letterforms and words as design elements as well as the historical roots which goes back to Gutenberg this project would be an addition to these learning objectives. As would it be to graphic design where students are focused on creative, conceptual, and practical aspects of graphic design and advertising.

Book History (History of Books)
This project will allow exploration into the process of how books were made focusing on the materiality of the book. It will allow further conversations into materials and even marks of book use and ownership.

Ethics
Much like we have plagiarism policies in place today to discourage the stealing and appropriation of someone else’s work as your own, a similar issue was around during the time of the printing press. Printers would merely obtain a copy of a work that is selling well and print it for themselves.

Education
The printing press led to an increase in books and printed items. Those who wanted books no longer had to rely on scriptoriums to hand-copy books and could now obtain them more easily. With a new influx of books being produced at a rapid pace, educational standards improved. More people learned to read and write while laws were created to ensure people received an education.

Ideology
Did you know Hitler banned Fraktur in a 1941 statement? According to the document the font was believed to have Jewish ties and was therefore banned. While this document was most certainly typed on a typewriter, the idea is the same. The printing press allowed people to share their thoughts more freely and spread their ideologies faster.

3D Technology
This project would not be possible without the use of 3D technology of the 21st century. There are many different applications in which 3D technology can be utilized, not just to replicate typefaces to explore printing press and history but to scan and have objects available for viewing digitally. Furthermore, it allows the development of digital skills in a digital realm where there seems to be very few limitations.

Communications
The printing press revolutionized mass communication. Where the world once relied upon oral traditions and the slow pace of a scriptorium, there was now the printing press which could print multiple pages at a time.

These are just a few examples of how this project can be used to start discussions in different subject areas that are part of the curriculum. And when fully developed and operational, the project in connection with displays of items from the archives and special collections that used a similar process when they were initially created will allow visitors to fully appreciate them.

In an increasingly digital world, materiality still has a foothold that can not be replicated. We can read, we can watch videos, but nothing compares to a live demonstration and exploration into the physical process that sparks conversation beyond our primary impressions.

Stay tuned for the next blog update as the project gets underway!

Time Machines: Meet the Researchers!

The Time Machines project, which supports undergraduate research in Special Collections, is off to a great start.  The sheer diversity of the projects—podcasts, a map of climate change in the Arctic, even a cookbook —showcase just how diverse primary source-based research can be. Read on to learn more about our student researchers, their proposals, and how their projects are going thus far.

Pegi Bracaj

Object of Choice: The Miriam Rooney Papers 

Pegi Bracaj is a political science student with aspirations for a career in law upon graduation. She was drawn to the papers of Miriam Rooney, the founding dean of Seton Hall Law School and the first female dean of a law school in the United States. Pegi decided to expand upon the primary source material by creating a multi-episode podcast series. The first episode will be dedicated to Rooney’s life as based on the archival findings. In later episodes, she plans to “contextualize Miriam Rooney’s accomplishments in the context of the broader legal history, showcasing her influence on subsequent generations of female lawyers”. Through interviews with current female lawyers at Seton Hall Law School, Pegi seeks to connect Miriam Rooney’s life to the ongoing discussion and challenges faced by women in the legal sphere today.

Ashley Skladany

Object of Choice: Collection of 1967 Newark Rebellion Newsclippings 

Ashley focused her project on the 1967 Newark Riots and its impact on the campus through two mediums-an academic paper and a podcast. As a technical producer of the Global Current, the official international affairs podcast of SHU’s School of Diplomacy, Ashley will utilize her skills to record and edit a podcast that interviews individuals who attended the university at the time or who were impacted.

Eman Fatima

Object of Choice: Coin from the Mughal Dynasty ; Coin, ¼ Anna

Eman Fatima spent the first sixteen years of her life in Pakistan and describes her interest in history and decolonization stemming from a lack of substantial education on British colonialism (particularly in South Asian countries) in schools’ curriculum. In wanting to explore how colonialism has molded and continues to mold the identity, culture, and daily life in South Asian society, Eman intends to write an academic paper comparing two coins: one from the Mughal Dynasty, and the other from the 17th century amid British rule over India and Pakistan.

Collin Doyle

Object of Choice: Journal of Roy Fitzsimmons, 1937-1938*

Collin came to the Archives upon hearing that the Archives had recently acquired the journal of Roy Fitzsimmons (SHU class of 1937), a physicist and polar explorer who took said journal on the MacGregor Arctic Expedition from July 1, 1937 – October 4, 1938. The goals of the expedition were to conduct a magnetic survey, collect weather data, photograph the aurora borealis and study its effects upon radio transmission, and to explore the area northwest of Ellesmere Island. Collin intends to create a data visualization project incorporating computer algebra systems such as Mathematica to generate 3D maps, as well as contour plots, of the arctic landscapes explored by Roy Fitzsimmons in the late 1930s, with the goal of highlighting the effects of climate change over the last century. Through this medium, Collin seeks to “breathe life into the journal’s observations” while providing commentary on the urgency of climate change and the threat it poses to our society and planet as a whole.

*Journal is not currently available online but is available to view at the Archives by appointment.

Hope Mahakian

Object of Choice: WWII Ration Books, 1943 

Hope, a History major, has always been interested in the effects of WWII on the American home front. When researching possible items for this project she came across the WWII ration books but was not initially interested in pursuing them. However, after a trip to the Archives and viewing the object for herself, research questions began to emerge–”Who is or was the person that owned them? What were they used for? What do the different stamps mean? Why were some used more than others?” After discovering that all the ration books were owned by women, who were most likely in the same family, Hope decided to take a more personal approach to this project by creating her own cookbook based on the recipes that were created or became more popular due to rationing. In addition, she intends to also create a short video in the style of a 1940s infomercial, complete with filters and wardrobe choices to create the proper aesthetic, where herself and fellow actors cook the recipes themselves. Through both of these mediums Hope intends to convey what rationing looked like and how it differed across different types of families.

Austin DelSontro

Object of Choice: Setonian Newspapers, 1924-2019 

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of The Setonian, Seton Hall’s student run newspaper, Austin approached this project wanting to explore not only how campus life has changed over the course of 100 years, but what has remained the same. Further, Austin’s research will focus on the evolution of writers, the topics covered over the years, and the response to significant cultural/political events over the past 100 years. While Austin’s primary project will be an academic paper, he also intends to supplement a digital component, such as a website or a blog, and use images to illustrate key differences. Austin is also exploring the possibility of creating his own personalized newspaper, inspired by The Setonian itself, to provide a comprehensive overview of his research findings.

Final projects will be shared with the community in April 2024. Stay tuned for more updates—we cannot wait to see how they will turn out!

100 Years of The Setonian

FIrst page of the Setonian newspaper, dated 1924

On March 15th, 1924, the first edition of The Setonian was published. In the inaugural article, the author writes about the years-long trials and efforts faced to get the publication off the ground, with the hopes to put forth a periodical that represents the goings on of the student body. “Get behind the paper, and it will live; neglect your duty and it will soon pass into oblivion,” the author implores in the last line to the reader. Now one hundred years later, The Setonian continues to thrive, further and further from oblivion with the inclusion of digital formats. To honor this important anniversary, Special Collections and Gallery have resolved to digitize the entire archives of the newspaper back to this founding issue.  

Starting last semester, the archives began to digitize early additions of The Setonian that are currently only available to view via microfilm. In digitizing these files, they will be able to be accessed by not only Seton Hall students and faculty, but the general public as well. You will be able to follow the progress of the project here, as new digital editions will be linked here as they are published.  They will also be available through the archives regular research portals Archivesspace and Preservica.  

Walsh Gallery is dedicating their Fall 2024 exhibition to the centennial of The Setonian.  The Gallery will be collaborating with both the Archives and Setonian staff to tell the story of not only The Setonian, but of Seton Hall itself through the last one hundred years by highlighting historic and cultural events on campus and beyond. 

 

Undergraduate History Internship Opportunity

Come work with us! We have an exciting for-credit internship opportunity for two undergraduate students in Spring 2024.

Seton Hall Photographs Collection Internship

Level: Undergraduate (Two positions available)
Mentor: Quinn Christie, Public Services Archivist

Project: The student with an interest in archives will learn archival best practices around handling photo collections, including physical rehousing, metadata description, and digitization. The student will work under the Public Services Archivist on the specified tasks:

  • Apply arrangement and rehousing best practices
  • Work with a variety of format types and apply skills based on need of item
  • Describe collection in ArchivesSpace and apply controlled vocabulary
  • Flag items in poor condition and create unique housings for certain materials
  • Digitize a selection of photographs for use in a digital exhibit

Learning Outcomes: The student will learn:

  • The benefits of item rehousing and recognizing common agents of decay
  • To act on appraisal decisions and ethically dispose of archival materials
  • To apply best practices for storing, describing, and digitizing materials
  • About principles of digital curation and the production of digital exhibits
  • About theory related to archival arrangement and description

Daily Work Schedule: Flexible during 9-5, M-F schedule. 7-8 hours per week.

To apply: Please send a resume and brief cover letter addressing your interest in the position to quinn.christie@shu.edu

Please note: Registration in HIST 4710 is required for this internship. Contact Sara Fieldston to register for this course. Email: sara.fieldston@shu.edu

Learning Opportunities in Archives and Special Collections

image of students viewing artifact
Students in Dr. Laura Wangerin’s “VIKINGS!” class discuss a replica of the Gundestrup Cauldron from the university’s collections

The Archives & Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on crafting enriching educational experiences for their students. Class visits to the archives often spark a sense of awe and curiosity, which encourages students to participate in active learning activities, engage in inspired conversations, and connect the past to the present.

Primary sources, which comprise the bulk of our archives, rare books, and gallery collections, are powerful instruction tools. All students benefit from learning how to find, analyze, interrogate, and reference primary sources. Past class visits have included a range of disciplines, including Viking and Early Latin American history, typography, Catholic studies, and women’s studies. If you’re not sure our collections will have materials related to your subject area, try us! We love finding gems from the collections to support your research and instruction needs.

We welcome our faculty to contact our Public Services Archivist, Quinn Christie, to talk about how we can work together. Email quinn.christie@shu.edu, find her on Teams, or call (973)275-2033.

Irish Immigrant Solidarity in New Jersey, 1870-Present: New Archival Collections

Flyer reading "For the Benefit of Irish Political Prisoners Dependents (An Cumann Cabhrac) -- Help the men who cannot help themselves -- 1st Prize Trip to Ireland, 2nd Prize Color TV, 3rd Prize Waterford Glass -- Drawing at Gaelic Park, New York -- Sun. Nov. 11 1973 -- Internment -- Donation $1.00." Drawing of two hands wearing shackles on either side of the text.

The Monsignor Noe Field Archives and Special Collections Center is pleased to announce the addition of six new archival collections related to the Irish-American experience. Thanks to a generous grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, we were able to process the following collections that are now available to researchers:

In addition to processing these collections, we have digitized roughly 1,200 files, at just over 9GB of data, primarily from the John Concannon and James Comerford collections.

Irish-American Experience in the 20th Century: Collection Highlights

The correspondence, research files, publications, photographs, and audio-visual materials in these collections provide an inside look at how Irish-American fraternal organizations worked together and separately to wield influence and political pressure on issues of importance to their communities — primarily immigration reform and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. These documents demonstrate how many of these organizations, notably the Ancient Order of Hibernians, maintained close ties with local political and religious leaders in New York and New Jersey.

For the first half of the 20th century, in the absence of larger governmental programs, membership organizations collected dues and shared out their funds to members in need of assistance. The AOH New Jersey and Knights of Columbus collections include ledgers and membership registers that record in granular detail how these organizations provided health insurance and sick benefits to their members.

Grand Marshal Malcolm Wilson walks in St. Patrick's Day Parade down a New York City street, with other men marching behind him wearing sashes.

In addition to serving as advocacy groups, Irish-American organizations provided a sense of community and maintained a full calendar of social events. The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is widely documented in the John Concannon collection, as members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians helmed its operation for many decades. The collection includes internal documents, lines of march, invitations, correspondence, and hundreds of photographs.

Digital Exhibits

For an overview of these collections, we invite you to explore two digital exhibits:

 

 

Irish Immigrant Mutual Aid Societies in New Jersey

Mayor John Lindsay waving at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City

Recently, the Archives received a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission to organize and describe a large collection of records from Irish immigrant cultural organizations, primarily the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

These records show how immigrants to the United States organized themselves to help one another. These mutual aid organizations provided an early form of insurance – members would pay a little every month, and if they were injured or got sick or a breadwinner in their family died, the society would pay them a benefit in order to provide financial security. These organizations played a crucial role in supporting working class people before the New Deal provided unemployment insurance on a national scale.

As their original role of financial support receded, these organizations shifted their focus toward celebrating culture and community. The Ancient Order of the Hibernians played a prominent role in organizing the famous St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York.

St. Patricks' Day parade program, printed on green paper
St. Patrick’s Day parade program, 1963

The John Concannon papers, which project archivist Quinn Christie is processing, also contain planning documents for the parade, invitations to local dignitaries to attend and play roles in the celebration, tickets, musical lineups, and much more. As Christie says, “This collection is full of surprises.  I never know what I’m going to find when we open a box.  In the papers of Concannon, we found the records of James Comerford, who served as President of the AOH and Chairman of the Parade.  In addition to papers from his organizational roles, we found his membership card in the Irish Volunteers (predecessors to the IRA) from 1918.”

The collection will be available to researchers by the end of 2022.  

Maria Gillan Speaks at Seton Hall

photo of Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Maria Gillan is a poet who writes about her experience as an Italian-American woman, navigating between the Italian language and culture of her youth and the English language of her adult self.  She writes with great attention to detail, in poems such as “Public School No. 18, Paterson, New Jersey,” where she speaks about the alienation she felt in an English language school as a native speaker of Italian.  But she also speaks to universal themes, such as her sadness about the growing distance between herself and her son as her son grows up and starts a family of his own in “What I Can’t Face About Someone I Love.”  Her work has been translated into Italian, and she now leads workshops in creative writing based in Italy, in addition to branching out into art as well as poetry, with works such as Redhead with Flying Fish and Cat.  In addition, she maintains an active blog and website documenting her work.

Maria Gillan's painting of a redhead with flying fish
Redhead with flying fish and cat

Gillan will be speaking at Seton Hall, in the Theater in the Round on the evening of September 24 at 6pm.  Her translator, Professor Carla Francellini, from University of Siena, will speak as well.  This event honors the 2019 scholarship winners in Italian Studies.

While she is here, Professor Francellini will also be working in the Monsignor William Noe Field Archives, researching in Gillan’s collection here, where not only her physical papers but also Gillan’s blog and website are archived.  Explore the finding aid for the collection, and also stop by and see the window featuring Gillan’s work on the bottom floor of Walsh Library, outside Walsh Gallery.

Archives News: Conservation and Digitization of 17th Century Illuminated Manuscript Qur’an

Page from the Qur'an with intricate designThe Archives & Special Collections Center in collaboration with the Digital Humanities Committee recently had conservation work and digitization performed on a 17th century illuminated manuscript Qur’an from the rare book collection. The Qur’an was originally brought from Lebanon by Edwin D. Hardin, who was a missionary stationed at the American University of Beirut from approximately 1900 to 1915. It first came to Seton Hall in 2003 when it was featured in a Walsh Gallery exhibition entitled The Beauty of Sacred Texts: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Institute of Judeo-Christian Studies. The lender, Mr. Peter Kennedy, had intended to gift the volume to the University and in 2016 donated the Qur’an to the Archives & Special Collections Center.

Qur'an's binding before conservation
Before conservation

Qur'an's binding after conservation
After conservation

Marginal decoration with handwritten annotation
Marginal decoration with handwritten annotation

The Qur’an was sent out for conservation in order to stabilize it for digitization and handling. The volume had undergone some previous repairs and was re-bound sometime during the 18th or 19th century. The envelope flap, which extends from the back cover of the volume and folds up to cover its fore edge, was very weak at the hinges and became detached during the conservator’s examination. The binding was also failing, causing some leaves to loosen and begin to detach. We sent the volume to Etherington Conservation Services in North Carolina, where conservators reattached and reinforced the envelope flap, repaired minor damage to the covers, re-sewed the binding, and re-covered the spine. While the binding was removed, they scanned the pages to create a digital copy of the book.

 

 

Decoration within the text
Decoration within the text

As a result of this work, this historic Qur’an is stable enough for handling and display, and the digital images can be made available online. This will allow researchers to view the Qur’an’s beautifully illuminated pages and intricate marginal decorations without putting stress on the volume. It will also open up many possibilities for research projects, such as a potential project to decipher and translate the annotations that appear throughout the volume. The digital collection is coming soon!

Page with marginal decoration and decoration within the text

 

Archives News: Conservation of Pope Paul V Papal Bull

The Archives and Special Collections Center recently had conservation work performed on an early 17th century Papal Bull issued by Pope Paul V, who was Pope from 1605 until his death in 1621. The Papal Bull is a large vellum document with a lead seal attached by a cord. It was donated to the Archives by Dr. Herbert Kraft, a Professor Emeritus of anthropology at Seton Hall and director of the Seton Hall University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Pope Paul V was born Camilo Borghese in Rome in 1550. He studied jurisprudence at Perugia and Padua and became a renowned canon lawyer. He was made a cardinal in 1596 by Pope Clement VIII and was elected as Pope Leo XI’s successor in May 1605. Pope Paul V was most famous for persecuting Galileo for his defense of the heliocentric theory of Copernicus. He also canonized St. Charles Boromeo, Frances of Rome and Albert de Louvain and beatified Ignatius Loyola, Philip Neri, Teresa of Avila and Francis Xavier.

Before treatment - folded vellum obscuring text and decoration
Before treatment – folded vellum obscuring text and decoration

 

Prior to its conservation, the Papal Bull was folded several times and remained in a folded condition for so long that it was impossible to unfold without risking damage to the document. Conservators at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia were able to use a process of humidification, which is the controlled introduction of moisture, to increase the suppleness of the vellum and to allow the document to be unfolded and safely flattened. Once the document was flattened, they cleaned its surface with soft polyurethane sponges and mended a small hole in the vellum. Finally, the document and seal were housed in a custom-made mat designed to support the heavy lead seal and framed for easy displaying.

Flattening the document revealed intricate text and decoration
‘After treatment – flattening the document revealed intricate text and decoration

 

Before treatment - hole in velllum
Before treatment – hole in velllum

After treatment - hole repaired with mulberry paper and dilute gelatin
After treatment – hole repaired with mulberry paper and dilute gelatin

 

Conserving the Papal Bull revealed its text and intricate design. However, the beautiful, ornate script presented a challenge for translators. We consulted Dr. Michael Mascio in Seton Hall’s Classics Department for assistance with translating the document. He was unable to decipher the script, and conferred with a few colleagues around the country who also were unable to decipher it. On his recommendation we contacted a specialist in this area of script analysis, the Reverend Doctor Federico Gallo of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Italy. Rev. Dr. Gallo was able to work on the text during the summer months to provide us with a translation from the archaic Latin script to modern Latin. Dr. Michael Mascio is now working with Dr. Frederick Booth, also in Classics, to translate the modern Latin to English.

Archaic Latin script
This archaic Latin script proved difficult even for experts to decipher and translate.