Women of Accomplishment and Authority Honoring the First Female Administrators and School Leaders of Seton Hall (1928-1959)

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that honors some pioneering female professionals who made a difference in the building of a stronger administrative and educational institution over the last several decades on campus.

List of First Female Faculty at the Urban Division of  Seton Hall College (1937)

The varied contributions made by women in the annals of Setonia have always been significant from her earliest days forward. A portent of success was found when Mme. Chegary, a successful school mistress sold her academy to the Diocese of Newark in 1856 on land in Madison that served as the first home of Seton Hall.

Upon establishment of the school, the work of the Sisters of Charity was enlisted to provide spiritual leadership and nursing care and supervision of the infirmary during the 19th century.  The mothers of the all-male Seton Hall student body also provided a strong influence as role models and support for their college-bound sons.  The accomplishments of women during the early years of Seton Hall was rarely documented and mostly done in the shadows, but their varied and valuable contributions cannot be denied.

When it came to individual females who began the trend of administrative leadership on campus, Ms. Marie K. Fitzsimmons began her affiliation with Seton Hall as the College Registrar in 1928 and lasted through most of the 1950s.  Her work defined who would ultimately attend Setonia and she also oversaw the dawn of co-education when women were first admitted to the Urban Division of Seton Hall (Newark and Jersey City) in 1937.

Marie K. Fitzsimmons (Registrar)

This move towards admitting female students also paved the way for the first women faculty (either adjunct or full-time) members.  This included a number of subject experts including – Sr. M. Aloysius, O.P., Ph.D. (Psychology); Sr. M. Anthony, O.P., A.M. (Education); Sr. Catherine Jonata, M.P.F. (Modern Languages), A.M.; Mary A. Colton, LL.B. (Law); Sr. M. Ines, O.P., A.M. (English); Blanche Mary Kelly, Litt.D. (English); Julia Killian, B.S. (Library Science); Mary T. Mooney, A.M (Sociology).; Dorothy I. Mulgrave, Ph.D. (English); Mary C. Powers, A.M. (English & History/Social Studies); Aileen Reilly, A.M. (English); Elizabeth Scanlon, Ph.D. (Education); and Sr. Teresa Gertrude, O.S.B., Ph.D. (Education).  Complimenting this roster of instructors was Ms. Rita Murphy who became first head of an information center when she became Director of the Urban Division Library during the 1938 academic year.

Blanche Mary Kelly, Litt.D. (English)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary C. Powers, A.M. (English & History/Social Studies)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership opportunities arose shortly afterwards when Professor  Anne E. Murphy, B.A., B.S. was named as the first Dean of Nursing.  She became the first-ever female department head at Seton Hall in 1940. Her example led the way to the hire of other professional women who continuously led the School of Nursing in succession to the present day.  Other milestones initiated across campus included creation of the Dean of Women positon first held by Ms. Ruth Dugan, A.M. during the early 1950s.

When it came to national recognition, Seton Hall instituted its Law School in 1951 and school administration selected Miriam T. Rooney, LL.B. as the inaugural Dean who served in this capacity until her retirement in 1959.

Eventually more women served as key managers, faculty, vice presidents, deans, trustees, and within the last few years assumed top  positions within the administration.  Provost and Executive Vice President, Karen Boroff, Ph.D. and Acting University President appointed in 2016 and Mary Meehan, Ph.D. named in 2017 who serve in their respective capacities have made history and continue to blaze trails in the process.

Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from February through May 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: alan.delozier@shu.edu  or by phone: (973) 275-2378.

Exhibit Features Artists in Dialogue with Science

Strange Attractors

 January 14  – March 8, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, January 25, 6pm to 8pm

Charcoal drawing on paper
Linda Francis, Threes


The Walsh Gallery is pleased to present Strange Attractors, a group exhibition conceived as an extension of a symposium hosted at New York City’s CUE Art Foundation in November 2017. Organized by artist and writer Taney Roniger, the symposium, also called Strange Attractors, examined interdisciplinary approaches to art-making with an emphasis on how visual art can generate insight into subjects studied by other fields. Co-curated by Taney Roniger and Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile, the exhibition aims to resume the dialogue in visual form by featuring work by many of the conference participants. The participating artists are: Suzanne Anker, Gianluca Bianchino, Catherine Chalmers, Linda Francis, Lorrie Fredette, Michael Hadley & Elaine Reynolds, Daniel Hill, Ed Kerns, Eve Andrée Laramée, Matthew Ritchie, Taney Roniger, Leonard Shapiro and Werner Sun.


While drawing on the strengths of different systems of knowledge, Strange Attractors celebrates nature and its infinitely interdisciplinary characteristics.  In conjunction with the exhibition, a panel discussion to be held in the gallery will further explore questions raised during the original dialogue (details to be announced). The exhibition has been made possible though the generous support of the Robert Lehman Foundation and the Essex County Arts Council through a re-grant of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

The Walsh Gallery is open 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday—Friday.

1968 : A Year in the Life of Seton Hall University – A Pictorial Retrospective Exhibit

The Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that shows scenes from the Seton Hall campus from half a century ago to celebrate student life, academics, activities, and the school within the context of one of the most pivotal years and times in national and world history.

 

Counted among the highlights that happened at Seton Hall in 1968 include the following milestones . . .

  • The South Orange campus of Seton Hall becomes fully Co-Educational.
  • The Humanities Building (today known as “Fahy Hall” named in honor of Rev. Thomas Fahy) houses offices and classroom space is dedicated.
  • The Boland Hall East Dormitories were also dedicated on October 23.
  • Bishop John J. Dougherty serves as the University President (1959-69).
  • Commencement takes place on June 8th of that year.

  • Sister Agnes Reinkemeyer is appointed Dean of the School of Nursing on July 11th of that year.
  • University Council approves Voluntary R.O.T.C. Program on campus.
  • Business School starts plans for a new structure (ultimately completed in 1972).
  • Spring Weekend at Seton Hall called the “Biggest and Best Ever” at the time.
  • New Core Curriculum plan for the College of Arts & Sciences is discussed in December.

 

Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from October through December of 2018 in the First Floor foyer of Walsh Library located across from the stairs and elevator.

For additional background on the United States Constitution and questions about relevant holdings and other research topics please feel free to contact us at – archives@shu.edu or (973) 761-9476.

The Book of Kells and Gradual of St. Katherinenthal – An Exhibit of Legendary Texts

Based on research by Professor Alan Delozier (Book of Kells) and Sarah Ponichtera (Gradual)

The Seton Hall University Archives & Special Collections Center is currently exhibiting two recently acquired high quality facsimile volumes of the original Book of Kells and The Gradual of St. Katherinenthal donated to our institution through the generosity of Mr. Peter Graham.  These works each have a distinguished history both in terms of literary content and aesthetic value which allows our community the opportunity to view and study copies of these editions in close detail.

Book of Kells  (Fine Art Facsimile Volume).  Fox, Peter, (Faksimile-Verlag, Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) Library, Dublin and Lucerne: 1990)  [Latin: Codex Cenannensis.  Irish: LEABHAR CHEANANNAIS] ]

According to scholars, this work was created around the year c. 800 AD and produced through the artistry of a triad of unidentified Columban Monks.  The Book of Kells is most famous for its ornate illustrations.  Abstract designs and images of plants, animals and Biblical figures not only serve the purpose of glorifying Jesus’ life and message, but also constitute a rich symbolic system in themselves.  Symbols of the evangelists Matthew (the Man), Mark (the Lion), Luke (the Calf) and John (the Eagle) adorn related sections of the text; in addition, there are full depictions of the Virgin and Child; a portrait of Christ, and complex narrative scenes, which were the earliest to survive in gospel manuscripts, representing the arrest of Christ and his temptation by the Devil.  The text grew increasingly well known throughout the nineteenth century.  It is thought of as one of the central artistic works of Celtic culture, and a source of national pride for Ireland.

The text proper includes the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John from the Vulgate (Latin translation) version of the Bible as translated by St. Jerome, and also contains texts from an earlier Old Latin translation featuring more specialized religious texts.  It was only brought to the altar a few times per year and only during important liturgical events within the Church, especially the Easter Vigil.  The book remained in Kells until 1654 when the original was moved to protect it from the invading armies of Oliver Cromwell and transferred to Dublin and the Library at Trinity College where it remains on display to this day and seen by upwards of half a million visitors per year on average. This facsimile edition was produced with scrupulous attention to detail, hand-sewn, and compared against the original by an expert at Trinity College, Dublin.  At present, approximately 81 other libraries across the globe own a copy.  The original has been completely digitized by Trinity College and made available to the public free of charge.

Gradual of St. Katherinenthal, Upper Rhine, 1312. (Fine Art Facsimile Volume No. 729).  Duft, Johannes, (Faksimile-Verlag, Luzern: 1980).

The Gradual of St. Katherinenthal is a collection of church hymns, which were recited by the Gregorian choir during mass in the 14th century.  The sheet music is embellished with brightly colored pictures backed with the finest gold leaf.  The work is widely regarded as the finest example of Gothic book art in the world.  The unusual size is meant to allow all the singers of the choir, even those standing further away, to easily read the pages.  The book opens with two pages that contain calendric information.  The following pages contain musical scores in the Gregorian four line system, that each incorporate staves and lines of text.  The book includes 71 elaborately designed miniatures with gold decoration, 13 flowers painted to form letters, and a considerable amount of calligraphy.  The origin of the gradual from the St. Katherinenthal monastery and its time of creation, circa 1312, is recorded in handwriting on the inside of the front cover.  At least six artists were involved in the creation of the work, but their names were not recorded here.  The St. Katherinenthal Abbey was a monastery of Dominican nuns located near Lake Constance, Switzerland, and represented one of the oldest communities of nuns in that part of the world.  The original Abbey, along with the town, was burned to the ground in 1388, but was rebuilt in the beginning of the fifteenth century.  The community was exceptionally well-documented for that time period, and we have personal stories of many of the nuns recorded in the “Sister Book” of the Abbey.

This is one of the stories written by the nuns who would have sung the songs in The Gradual of St. Katherinenthal.  This book, written in Medieval High German, is being translated by Amiri Ayanna, a project for which she won the PEN translation award in 2011.  These stories give a window into the world of the nuns of that day.  Today the Abbey continues to operate in what is now the town of Weesen, and runs a bakery that produces Eucharistic breads, as well as a guesthouse.

The exhibit also features a 3D printed Gothic cathedral, to give a richer sense of the aesthetic that produced the gradual.  The cathedral was printed at Space 154.

For more on rare books at Seton Hall, see our LibGuide.

 

Brendan T. Byrne (1924-2018) – From Setonia to the State House, A Life of Public Service

We are pleased to announce a new exhibit in honor of the late Governor Brendan T. Byrne which is being hosted by the Archives & Special Collections Center through the Spring 2018 semester.

Brendan Thomas Byrne was born April 1, 1924 in West Orange, New Jersey, the fourth of five children born to Francis A. Byrne and Genevieve (Brennan) Byrne. He attended Seton Hall College in 1943 before leaving to enroll in the United States Army Air Corps as a navigator during World War II. Byrne earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and a Presidential Unit Citation before his honorable discharge from the service in 1945. Upon returning from overseas, Byrne graduated from Princeton University in 1949 and received his LL.B. from Harvard Law School two years later. The future governor first worked as a clerk for future Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Joseph Weintraub and assisted attorney John W. McGeehan of Newark during the early 1950s.

The public career of Byrne began in the early 1950s as a member of the West Orange Planning Board. He then earned appointed as Assistant Council within the administration to Governor Robert B. Meyner in 1955.  Byrne was later promoted to the position of Executive Secretary the following year, and held this post until 1959.  Later that year, Byrne was named Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Office of the Prosecutor for Essex County and within months he was made the Essex County Prosecutor.  Over the next decade, Byrne argued over 60 different cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court and achieved recognition for prosecuting dishonest contractors and powerful underworld figures. Starting in 1968, Byrne served as President of the State Board of Public Utility Commissioners. He left this position when he was appointed to the New Jersey State Supreme Court in 1970.  In 1971, he handed down a decision that declared the state law on capital punishment unconstitutional. He resigned from the Supreme Court in 1973 to run for Governor.

The platform chosen by Byrne in the gubernatorial election of 1973 was based on the slogan “one honest man can make a difference.” Between the years of 1970 and 1973, several New Jersey public officials were indicted by federal grand juries, and with Watergate still in the news, Byrne ran on a platform of restoring public confidence in the government. His opponent was Republican candidate Charles Sandman, who criticized Byrne throughout the campaign for his reluctance to publicly state his position on controversial issues, but instead preferred to issue position papers. On November 6, 1973, Byrne won by over 721,000 votes.

Nicknamed “One Term Byrne” by critics, he surprised political experts in 1977 when he won re-election against Republican candidate Raymond H. Bateman. Despite being considered the underdog in the race, Byrne won by a large majority.  During his two terms time as governor, he created a legacy that includes the Meadowlands Sports Complex, development of Casinos in Atlantic City, dedication to the environment exemplified in the Pinelands Preservation Act, and a commitment to improving public education.

After stepping down as governor in 1982, Byrne returned to the private sector as an attorney, co-wrote a column in the Newark Star-Ledger with his gubernatorial successor Thomas Kean, and taught classes at various colleges prior to his death on January 5, 2018.

Governor Byrne receives an Honorary Degree from Seton Hall University on May 18, 1974.
Governor Byrne receives an Honorary Degree from Seton Hall University on May 18, 1974.

This exhibit (which will run throughout the Spring of 2018 and viewable at the Archives & Special Collections Center, located on the First Floor of Walsh Library) shows the ties Byrne had to Seton Hall as a student prior to the call to service in World War II.  In addition, included are his debate stop during his first gubernatorial campaign, honorary degree ceremony (1974), and aid with the Meadowlands Development project which bore his name during the 1970s-80s where Seton Hall sponsored a number of events from Men’s Basketball games (held regularly between 1982 until 2007) to Commencement and other activities of note. Additionally, select materials that provide an overview of his campaigns, work among the citizenry of New Jersey, summary of initiatives, and related items that provide a look at the man and his work on behalf of the Garden State and its citizens encompass this display.

More information on the Brendan T. Byrne Collection at Seton Hall University can be accessed via the following site link – http://academic.shu.edu/findingaids/mss0007.html  or you can contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist/Education Coordinator by e-mail at: <Alan.Delozier@shu.edu> or phone: (973) 275-2378.

Setonia in Stage and Song – Fall 2017 Exhibit

John Barrymore, famed actor and former Seton Hall College student, c. 1891.

On display during the Fall 2017 semester is an exhibit entitled: “Setonia in Stage & Song – South Orange & New Jersey Perspectives (1856-Present)” that features connections between the artistic legacy of early Seton Hall and how the contributions of students and alumni along with special visitors to campus have made the campus a perpetual home for creative expression.  The earliest examples of musical inclination came through the rental of instruments by students during the early 1860s which complimented classroom and public recitations along with a thriving Drama Society that produced programs in honor of different school, church, and national holidays. Counted among the most prolific individual actors of the late nineteenth and early-mid twentieth century who attended Seton Hall include John Barrymore (1882-1942) who was accepted by most critics as the foremost English-speaking actor of his time for his mastery of Hamlet and Richard III among other Shakespearean works, and Lionel Barrymore (1878-1954) known for his motion picture roles most notably in Dr. Kildare and It’s A Wonderful Life. A contemporary of theirs was Albert “Raoul” Walsh (1887-1980) who came to South Orange in the 1900s, a famed director known for his work on High Sierra and White Heat among others.

Seton Hall College Drama Society Playbill, c. 1880s

From the turn of the century onward, Seton Hall was home to further dramatic productions with heavy patronage and perpetual interest. Those who belonged to student organizations often collaborated with local Catholic colleges for joint performances, campus visits, radio broadcasts (local radio stations, and over national networks – Mutual and CBS), but also the Seton Hall Orchestra, the Schola Cantorum (Choral Group that sing the Gregorian Chant and Polyphony for High Mass), and Glee Club under the direction of noted musicologist and Head of the Department of Music – Nicola A. Montani, K.C. St. G.) were in demand for events including the signing of signature school songs namely – “The Alma Mater” and “March Setonia” along with others at the “Annual Concert” in Newark and other venues throughout the East Coast.  From the late 1940s onward, campus radio station W-S-O-U (the first college-operated FM outlet to hit the air in New Jersey) offered listeners radio dramas and also played host to such noted entertainers as Vaughn Monroe and Connie Francis (from nearby Newark) along with regularly scheduled live musical programs. This ranged the gamut from early vinyl (and later CD) from classical and opera to religious to their current heavy metal format, many artists have been played on campus airwaves and keep the appeal of music alive.

The Seton Hall College Orchestra, c. 1927
“March Setonia” record produced in the studios of W-S-O-U FM radio and sung by Vaughn Monroe, c. 1953.

Over the last half century, Seton Hall has produced a number of individuals who have been active in the entertainment business including actors Ron Carey (’56) (Barney Miller), Kevin “Chuck” Connors (The Rifleman and Old Yeller), Josephine Siao (Hong Kong actress), and producer E. Duke Vincent (’54) (Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place).  Many others have a connection to the school, but also those who visited our site for special concerts or recitations are legendary.  A number of locally famous individuals including Bruce Springsteen (and the E-Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, a Seton Hall student) (Freehold), Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Newark), Dionne Warwick (East Orange) and many others who graced our stages across campus over the last several decades.

The Four Seasons Tour Poster when they played Seton Hall University on December 10, 1967

Traditions have endured and adapted with the times with the Drama Society becoming known more widely as the “Theater-in-the-Round” with performances held in the Dougherty Student Center and as of the 2000s at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. Other groups including the Gospel Choir, Coffee House Concerts, Celtic Theater, and the Pep Band among others have kept alive traditions and brought new ones to campus to celebrate the creativity of our student population.  Like those early Setonians of the 1860s who were interested in music and expression, over the years the school has maintained a coursework in the applied arts (now known as Communication and the Arts) for those with an academic interest in the field.  Further concerts, productions, and related

Dionne Warwick of South Orange played Seton Hall in 1970.

contributions remain strong for the Setonia community to explore and share as we move forward into the 2017-18 semester and beyond.

This exhibit can be viewed on the first floor of Walsh Library (across from the stairway) through the Fall 2017 semester.  For more information about this and related school history please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist by phone: (973) 275-2378, or via e-mail: <Alan.Delozier@shu.edu>

New Exhibit Features Anti-Catholic Ephemera

The papists bloody oath of secrecy, and letany of intercession for the carrying on of this present plot
The papists bloody oath of secrecy, and letany of intercession for the carrying on of this present plot. Robert Bolron, London: Printed for R. Taylor, 1680.

A new exhibit in the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center Reading Room highlights materials from our Anti-Catholic Ephemera collection. This small collection dates from 1765-1952.  It contains several pamphlets expressing anti-Catholic sentiment and denouncing Catholicism. Although they are not displayed in this exhibit, the collection also includes some materials relating to the Philadelphia Nativist Riots, in which Protestant nativist groups lashed out against Irish Catholic immigrants and burned several Catholic churches. In addition to materials from the Anti-Catholic Ephemera collection, several of the items in the exhibit are from our Rare Books collection.

Let's test Catholic loyalty
“Let’s Test Catholic Loyalty” – a pamphlet by the Knights of Columbus in response to Anti-Catholicism, 1952.

Anti-Catholicism grew out of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, and continues in some forms today. It was most common in countries that were majority-Protestant, such as Great Britain and the United States, and sometimes led to discrimination and violence. Catholics were often derogatorily referred to as “papists” or “Romanists,” and were suspected of remaining loyal to the Vatican rather than their countries. Anti-Catholic sentiment overlapped with movements such as nativism when majority-Protestant countries experienced an influx of Catholic immigrants.

Some of the items featured in this exhibit include “Let’s Test Catholic Loyalty,” a 1952 pamphlet produced by the Knights of Columbus as a response to Anti-Catholicism; Popish idolatry; a discourse delivered in the Chapel of Harvard-College in Cambridge, New-England by Jonathan Mayhew, 1765; and The papists bloody oath of secrecy, and letany of intercession for the carrying on of this present plot by Robert Bolron, printed in London in 1680. This document relates to the “Popish plot” and murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, an English magistrate whose mysterious death stirred up Anti-Catholic turmoil in England.

For more information about the exhibit or the Anti-Catholic Ephemera collection, stop by the Archives or contact us at archives@shu.edu or (973)761-9476.

Popish Idolatry: A Discourse
Popish idolatry; a discourse delivered in the Chapel of Harvard-College in Cambridge, New-England. Jonathan Mayhew, 1765
The narrative of Mr. William Boys, citizen of London
The narrative of Mr. William Boys, citizen of London. William Boys, London: Printed for Dorman Newman …, 1680.
A discourse on the errors of popery
A discourse on the errors of popery : delivered in the chapel of the University in Cambridge, September 4, 1793, at the lecture founded by the Honourable Paul Dudley, Esquire. John Lathrop, D.D.A.A.S. Pastor of the Second Church in Boston, 1793
"Carta em que um amigo sendo consultado por outro sobre a inteligencia da lei do primeiro de Agosto de 1774", Anti-Church Law Explained
“Carta em que um amigo sendo consultado por outro sobre a inteligencia da lei do primeiro de Agosto de 1774”, Anti-Church Law Explained. Lisboa: Na Regia Officina Typografica, 1774.

 

Women of Setonia 1937 – Ever Forward . . .

Women of SetoniaThis year marks the 80th anniversary since Women first attended lectures or taught courses at Seton Hall.  These trailblazers were part of the now defunct Urban Division established by then College President Monsignor James F. Kelley who provided a more inclusive educational experience for all qualified applicants.  Women became a fixture in the classroom from the start of the Spring 1937 semester onward at the extension schools in Newark or Jersey City.  In addition, students could opt to attend Summer School on the South Orange campus which served as a prelude to full Co-Education that began here in 1968 and has grown ever stronger to this day.  This exhibit showcases documentation from the Seton Hall University Archives & Special Collections Center in order to show the historical evolution and contributions made by the Women of Setonia from its origins onward.

This new Extension Division was conducted under the provisions of the original Seton Hall College Charter of 1861.  From here, the first catalog(ue) and press coverage came soon thereafter to provide details of the educational plan that awaited the 321 new students and recently hired faculty that included Professors Blanche Mary Kelly (English), Dorothy I. Mulgrave (English), Mary C. Powers (History), and Aileen Reilly (English) among other instructors hired by the school. Mary Grace Dougherty was the first acknowledged co-ed, but she shared this distinction with others who attended the Newark (St. Patrick’s School) during the Spring of 1937.  This also included those who enrolled at the Summer School held in South Orange and/or those on site in both Newark or Jersey City (St. John’s School) from the Fall of 1937 over the next few decades.  The first graduates of the Urban Seton Hall's first co-ed, interviewed by The SetonianDivision were recognized during commencement exercises held in June of 1938.  Counted among those who received diplomas at this ceremony include: Virginia Farrell (Hoboken), Gertrude Isaacson (Bayonne), Catherine Netzel (Irvington), and Rita Murphy (Jersey City) [Pictured on the Right] who went on to be connected to Seton Hall for many years to come.

Women continued to succeed in the Urban Division through the 1940s-1960s in a wide range of fields from Academics to Nursing to Law and others.  Co-Education came in full to the South Orange campus in 1968 and from this point onward success has been proven through the student body, faculty, administrators, and alumni who have contributed to the benefit of the Seton Hall University community continue to make a difference.  The full exhibit will be on view in the Archives & Special Collections Center Reading Room from January-March, 2017.  For more information please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist via e-mail at: <Alan.Delozier@shu.edu> or by phone: (973) 275-2378

Trina Padilla de Sanz: A Woman Ahead of Her Time

Trina Padilla de Sanz: A Woman Ahead of Her Time
by Carly Miller, curator

Currently on display through September 20th at the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Reading Room are items from the Trina Padilla de Sanz papers (Mss 0020). The exhibit showcases published works by the Puerto Rican writer, poet, composer, and social activist Trina Padilla de Sanz (1864-1957).

Portrait of La Hija del Caribe, 1956.
Portrait of La Hija del Caribe, 1956.

Writing as La Hija del Caribe, Padilla de Sanz was a prominent literary figure in the twentieth century, penning numerous articles, poems, and essays on a wide variety of topics such as history, literature, poetry, music, politics and culture. In a period when expectations for women were mostly confined to the domestic sphere, Padilla de Sanz represents an important deviation from the norm. Breaking free of society’s narrow view of a woman’s place in the world, Padilla de Sanz was an outspoken, unrelenting voice for change.
This exhibit focuses on one very prominent aspect of La Hija’s writings: her activism. She focused on progressive topics such as women’s rights, the preservation of the Puerto Rican culture and identity, and protection and compassion for those most often marginalized and ignored. La Hija’s feminism, patriotism, and drive for social justice are represented in the displayed works. From advocating for compassion on behalf of the incarcerated to calling out the United States for its aggression to highlighting women’s role in wartime, Padilla de Sanz did not shy away from controversial topics.

"Ana Roque de Duprey," a poem by Trina Padilla de Sanz. Undated.
“Ana Roque de Duprey,” a poem by Trina Padilla de Sanz. Undated.

While the exhibit represents only a small portion of her extensive writing career, it fittingly demonstrates the essence of Padilla de Sanz. Her desire to see society improve formed not only the basis of her writings but also of her life. La Hija was actively involved in community affairs so that she could encourage the type of change that she so often wrote about in newspapers and magazines. Not content to sit on the sidelines, Padilla de Sanz unabashedly ignored the societal expectation of women in the twentieth century. Instead, she carved out a diverse and fulfilling career. She was a woman ahead of her time, paving the way for future generations of women and inspiring progress and reform within society.
For more information about this exhibit or to make an appointment to view the Trina Padilla de Sanz papers, please contact 973-761-9476 or archives@shu.edu.

Aphra Behn Conference & A Celebration of Rare Books

Aphra_Behn

Between Wednesday, November 4th-Friday, November 6th, Seton Hall University will serve as host of the biannual Aphra Behn Society Conference.  In the spirit of Aphra Behn herself (c. 1640-1689), a noted British fiction writer, playwright, poet, and translator, members of this organization are actively: “dedicated to encouraging and advancing research that focuses on issues of gender and/or women’s role in the arts of early modern culture, circa 1660-1830. Through its newsletter, website, and biannual meeting, the Aphra Behn Society seeks to promote an exchange of information and ideas among members of the various disciplines engaged in related research.”  Her own works remain a popular source of research among scholars and students alike, but promoting the value of the printed word in its varied forms is a consistent theme that latter day readers often recognize.  In other words, Aphra Behn noted in the pages of her work – The Lucky Chance, Or, the Alderman’s Bargain (1686) a love of books, but more specifically: “That perfect tranquility of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend and a good library.”

instructions for managing bees.             The war in America.             Figure and Fashion: a scuffle in high life

In honor of the example set by Aphra Behn combined with ties to this event, Professors Karen Gevirtz, Ph.D. of the Department of English and Kirsten Schultz, Ph.D. of the Department of History looked through our catalog of Rare Book holdings and have chosen various titles that reflected a growing depth and diversity of scholarship from the 17-19th century.  Some images from the public exhibit (viewable in our Reading Room) are included in this post, but a full list of titles can be found here – Aphra Behn Captions and requested for review by our research community.  Counted among the more interesting finds include an early guide to bee-keeping in Ireland, writings by St. Catherine of Siena, a French look at the history of nature, a British perspective on the American Revolution, and theological writings from a Portuguese perspective to name a few volumes chosen by Professors Gevirtz and Schultz to share with the public.

This conference provides an opportunity for participants to share in the study of different subject themes.  Along with the aforementioned public Rare Book display are a pair conducted jointly with the Walsh Library Gallery featuring books by and about Aphra Behn from our Main Library Collection (found in the exhibit case situated near the stairwell and elevator on the first floor of Walsh Library) and a larger window exhibit showcasing the cover artwork of authors in attendance at the event whose publications are found in the Seton Hall Universities Catalog.  A full listing of titles is available here – Aphra Behn Conference Authors  On Thursday, November 6th from 6-7:00 p.m. Professors Gevirtz and Schultz along with their colleagues Professors Mark Molesky, Ph.D. and Nathaniel Knight, Ph.D. from the Department of History will be discussing books related to their own areas of interest in a broader context for those in attendance at the conference.  More information about their selections can be found in the following flyer – Aphra Behn Event Brochure

autor lectori

For more information about Aphra Behn and Rare Book resources found in our collection please feel free to consult the following Reference Guide for more details – http://library.shu.edu/rare-books  Thank you in advance for interest and the discovery that rests in our timeless resources.