Documenting Setonia – Written by Hand and Handled With Care

January 23rd marks National Handwriting Day which was established in 1977 to promote and celebrate the usage of writing instruments from the quill to ballpoint pens along with the paper upon which such methods as cursive, script, and other self-expression is put into print for posterity.  This particular date was also chosen to commemorate the birthday of John Hancock, first Autographer of the Declaration of Independence who arguably has the most famous signature in American History.  However, the story of handwriting can be traced further back in time.

Iconic Illustration from the 1926 White & Blue, Seton Hall College Yearbook

Written communication can be traced back to Ancient Rome (c. fifth century AD) that was built on contributions from other founding civilizations and in the process became an important means of non-verbal communication and by extension preserving the word of the author for future reference.  As this practice caught hold and moving forward to other eras, the Medieval period has been noted for manuscripts reproduced by cloistered monks who patiently and expertly provided copies of texts (mainly Christian and classical-based) as an important service to humanity as a means of promoting literacy and inspire deeper learning opportunities than ever before.  With the advent of the Printing Press during the sixteenth century this lessened the need for handwritten, mass produced works and ushered in a new era of mass-produced writings.  Despite this invention the trade art of “penmanship” still became a sought after skill set especially in the documentary establishment of the American Republic and as the nation grew in size and population where school systems, mail service, and other forums for handwritten communication were created.

With the establishment of the United States and moving into the nineteenth century, a bookkeeper named Platt Rogers Spencer who adopted a method to teach cursive writing that was captured in various textbooks and made its way to various schools and colleges to help students improve their respective writing styles.  Eventually print and cursive developed into various methods side-by-side in the dawn before typewriters and later computers would help with journaling and interpersonal communication.  Overall, expanded technology has superseded the need or want to write as a matter of preferred course.  More information on the historical evolution of handwriting can be referenced via the V-Letter and History Channel sites found via the links located below . . .

https://www.vletter.com/help/font-faq/history-of-handwriting.html

https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-penmanship-on-national-handwriting-day#:~:text=Borrowing%20aspects%20of%20the%20Etruscan,script%20for%20transactions%20and%20correspondence.&text=Elegant%20handwriting%20emerged%20as%20a,educating%20generations%20of%20master%20scribes

Page featuring student autographs – 1926 White & Blue Seton Hall College Yearbook

Although handwriting is not in vogue in the present day except for the most part among those who prefer traditional forms of communication and to “jot down” information, but if nothing else a personal signature and/or requested autograph are at the very least a form of handwriting that has held on as a mark of personal identification and shows that the practice has not departed altogether.  These examples are true to life within the world of Seton Hall academic life where note-taking is now mainly done via a computer laptop, etc.  But there is always a place for handwriting to remain even though it is rarer to find schools that teach this craft in full, or even the elementary level basics nowadays.

When looking at historical textbooks and examples within our Rare Book Collection there are a pair of texts found that show how the student of the nineteenth century learned the finer art of taking their writing skills into advanced applications.  The following works include the following texts . . .

A volume entitled: Five Hundred Mistakes of Daily Occurrence in Speaking, Pronouncing, and Writing the English Language, Corrected. (New York: D. Burgess & Co., 1856) [Call Number: PE1460 .B8 1856] is one that saw print in the same year that Seton Hall College was founded.  Within this book, the modern reader can see what some of the most common errors and correct approaches were made among the student body of yore.

Within this volume you can see five hundred individual examples from the first . . .

“THE business would suit any one who enjoys bad health.”  [From an advertisement in a daily newspaper of New-York.]  Few persons who have bad health can be said to enjoy it.  Use some other form of expression: as, one in delicate health, or, one whose health is bad.”

Through to the five-hundredth on their list . . .

The last direction which this little book will give on the subject with which it has been occupied, is one that long ago was given in the greatest of books – “Let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ.”  If obedience to this injunction may not guard him who heeds it against the commission of such mistakes as are numbered in this catalogue, it will not fail to lead him out of the way of errors more grievous and solemn.”

More specific to Setonia, is the book entitled – How to Write Letters: A Manual of Correspondence Showing the Correct Structure, Composition, Punctuation, Formalities, and Uses of the Various Kinds of Letters, Notes, and Cards by J. Willis Westlake (Philadelphia: Christopher Sower Co., 1876) [Call Number: PE 1485 .W4 1876]  Our version was once owned by a former student – Thomas Raftery, ’93 who not only possessed this copy, but along with the book, but also found within the text block was a letter from his mother that shows a perfect example of cursive writing from that period.

Letter written Mrs. Raftery found in the book of her son (c. 1880s-early 1890s)

Along with their primer in tow, Mr. Raftery would have encountered a core curriculum that was totally structured and included detailed classes in English Composition along with optional instruction in stenography and/or drawing (for $50.00 per annum apiece) to help with his writing practice and perfecting his form.  Even though Mr. Raftery attended the school for a brief time without graduating he did have the basic tools to aid with his writing efforts.  This is one of many examples that features unique handwritten registers, letters, and other documents based content that have been transcribed and preserved in our repository.  These materials are available to researchers for exploration and perspective on handwriting styles and content that have been created through sight and hand alike.

For more information on the other 498 Mistakes, see other examples of handwriting in the name of academic life and administrative business, and other aspects of handwriting along with the Rare Books and Seton Hall History feel free to reach out to us via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Martin Luther King, Jr. – His Influences Rediscovered & Setonia Ties

The impact that the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) had on society is manifest especially when it came to his legacy in regard to the Civil Rights movement.  The individuals, writings, and imagery that captured his life and impact is extensive.  However, it is also noteworthy to reference and reflect upon those who influenced his own philosophy and teachings.

Poster proclaiming the visit of Ghandi’s Grandson as part of the Seton Hall MLKSA celebration in 2003

Among the more famous individuals that Doctor King has cited include Indian lawyer and ethician Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi (1869-1948) and his embrace of nonviolent resistance to unjust laws along with the political writings of American statesman, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) found in his pronouncements on “liberty,” “democracy,” and “equal rights” in particular.

In addition to notable secular figures, another individual cited as part of the early education is the prophet Moses (1391-1271 BC) who was seen as a living symbol connected to the law of God.  In American historical annals, when it came to slavery such figures and role models as Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman each became a latter-day Moses in leading their people to a promised land of freedom and grace.  Ironically, Doctor King would not only quote Moses on a regular basis within his sermons, but he was equated by many of his adherents as another Moses for his efforts to achieve freedom and equality within American society.  More on the relationship between Doctor King and Moses can be found within the Stanford Freedom Project site accessible via the following link – https://stanfordfreedomproject.com/multi-media-essays-on-freedom/the-biblical-exodus-in-the-rhetoric-of-martin-luther-king/

MLKSA Seton Hall Scholarship Banquet Menu, 1992

Connections to Doctor King, Moses, and/or Seton Hall have been made within the Archives & Special Collections Center.  Along with records relating to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Program (MLKSA) is the oldest and most prestigious Servant Leadership Program on campus and one of the first in the United States having been founded in 1970.  This initiative deals with tuition funding, management, leadership skills development, and research opportunities covering social justice, spirituality, critical thinking, and community service.

Frontispiece of the book: The History of the Heavens (1752)

In regard to Moses, various theological-centered volumes are found in the Rare Book Collection including a 1752 edition of a text entitled:

The History of the Heavens : Considered According to the Notions of the Poets and Philosophers, Compared with the Doctrines of Moses. Being an Inquiry into the Origine of Idolatry, and the Mistakes of Philosophers, Upon the Formation and Influence of the Celestial Bodies, 2 vols. (London: J. Wren, 1752) by Noël Antoine Pluche (1688-1761) and translated from the French by John Baptist De Freval.  The catalog entry for this work can be found under the LC Code – BL305 .P68 1752.

For more information on Doctor King, Moses, and other figures of note that are connected to the history and academic curriculum of Seton Hall University please contact us for information.  E-Mail: Archives@shu.edu, Phone: (973) 275-2378.

Celebration of St. Stephen and “Wren Day”

In religious terms, December 26th is the second day of Christmastide is part of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” observance between the Nativity and Epiphany.  In secular contemporary circles, the day itself is often seen as a time to rest, shop, or return gifts for exchange, but is also notable for the observance of what has come to be known as “Boxing Day” and has endured over the centuries. Various theories regarding the naming of this holiday have endured including among others servants receiving boxed gifts from their respective managers that emanated from Great Britain and is celebrated throughout the commonwealth wherein along with gifts in past days “lords of manor” and servants would trade places for that 24-hour period and in modern times the switch is based more on creative role playing in the present day.  In Éire proper, December 26th among the Christian population in particular, a different style commemoration that honors the Feast of St. Stephen has its own customs and traditions which has lived on through the ages.

“The Stoning of Saint Stephen” by Giovanni Battista Lucini (1508) [Public Domain Image]
St. Stephen (5-34 AD) was a church deacon who is often recognized (and memorialized in the Acts of the Apostles found throughout texts within the New Testament) as the first martyr of Christendom who lost his life in defense of his faith.  The specific reason for his death came through reprisal for negative remarks about Jewish authorities that spread to the ears of various Synagogue overseers throughout the City of Jerusalem during the fourth century.  According to existent accounts, Stephen was stoned to death for this sacrilege which led to his martyrdom and subsequent place of adoration over time.  His deed is recognized throughout various Christian denominations on a worldwide scale.  When it comes to the place of this martyr in Irish life, the famed Georgian square in Dublin, christened “St. Stephen’s Green” has immortalized him along with a Catholic parish that bears his name situated in Tyrrellspass, County Westmeath as well.

In broad terms, the traditional celebration of St. Stephen’s Day is actually a National Public Holiday (following in the wake of the Irish Banks Holiday Act of 1871) throughout the Republic of Ireland.  This observance is also celebrated in other locales (especially prevalent across Europe), but within the townlands and villages of Ireland, pubs and stores are often open to accommodate the crowds and visiting family members, attending musical-comedy performances that rely mainly on pantomime as a means of expression, and/or attending special Masses honoring Stephen for the more devout are popular traditions and more modern in approach than in past years when a Wren was the true centerpiece.

Atmospheric and Astrological details on St. Stephen’s Day, December 26, 1820 from the Irish Almanack of that year

This celebration is known in the Irish language as: Lá an Dreoilín or Lá Fhéile Stiofáin which in translation is known variously as “Wren Day,” “Wren’s Day,” or “Day of the Wren,” or the “Hunt of the Wren” (pronounced “wran” in Ireland) in which this bird is short in physical stature with a small wingspan is conversely loud and bold in its actions.  Known in some circles as “The King of Birds,” the wren according to historical accounts was the betrayer of Stephen who was found after hiding from those who sought to kill him making this fowl who squealed an integral part of the story in this martyrdom.  In the present day, it is considered good fortune for the individual to capture a live wren or a least secure a feather to find abundant good fortune while this bird of death is also associated with the old year.

Tradition has it that on every December 26th, a procession of individuals (known variously as “mummers” or “strawboys” or “wrenboys”) don suits and hats of dried hay, colorfully mixed and matched old clothing with some festooned in tinsel or colored paper and wearing masks to hide their faces while playing musical instruments in Céilí style, or process and dance on their own downtown streets.  During days of yore, in-between the march, the revelers stopped at homes along the way to ask for money, food, and drink as ingredients for the parties that were celebrated on that day.

Image of child-led procession in celebration of St. Stephen’s Day – “The Day of the Wren” c. early 20th century. Image from the site –
https://www.doolin2aranferries.com/blog/the-day-of-the-wren-la-an-dreoilin/

For those who did not contribute according to legend would risk having a wren buried outside of their door which would constitute twelve years of back luck for the non-donor.  In present times, those who collect money often donates these alms to charity or local schools instead of using it on themselves. Leading the way for the band of revelers within the parade itself is a pole bearer (or a few) who has a faux wren (in past ages it was a real bird, but this practice was phased out around the turn of the twentieth century) mounted atop this staff and in some cases also adorned with a holly bush to further denote the hiding place of Stephen upon his discovery.  Thu tradition is more common and celebrated fervently in different parts of Ireland including Dingle and Westmeath among others and has since fallen out of vogue in other regions of Ireland, but has undergone a more modern revival while keeping core traditions alive especially the honoring of the wren, song, dance, and expression which is now co-educational while in past days was a male only revelry.

Many who have no recognition of St. Stephen, may have heard his name within the refrain of the song “Good King Wenceslas” by John Mason Neale in 1853 actually in honor of his feast day.  This ballad begins in the following manner: “Good King Wenceslas look’d out, On the Feast of Stephen; When the snow lay round about, Deep, and crisp, and even . . . Brightly shone the moon that night . . .”

This mention is also a compliment to a number of poems and songs that honor St. Stephen and the Day of the Wren including: “The Wren, The Wren” (The Wrenboys Song) published in popular music anthologies during the nineteenth centur

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Sheet Music to the Tune – “The Wren, The Wren” c. 1870s

However, he most prevalent and standard of rhymes that is repeated over and over on December 26th is the following verse . . .

The Wren, the Wren the king of all birds,
St. Stephens’s day, he was caught in the furze.
Although he is little, his honour is great,
Rise up, kind sir, and give us a trate.

We followed this Wren ten miles or more
Through hedges and ditches and heaps of snow,
We up with our wattles and gave him a fall
And brought him here to show you all.

For we are the boys that came your way
To bury the Wren on Saint Stephens’s Day,
So up with the kettle and down with the pan!
Give us some help for to bury the Wren!

For more information about the story of St. Stephen can be found within New Testament text found in our Rare Book Collection including one of the oldest of our Irish-language volumes entitled: Tiomna Nuadh ar dTighearna agus ar Slanuigheora Iósa Criosd : ar na ťarrv, ng go firněać as Greigis go Gioďeilg (1681) along with other versions in later editions in multiple languages.

For more information on St. Stephen, Wren Day, and other aspects of Irish and Religious History please feel free to contact us by phone at: (973) 275-2378, or via e-mail: Archives@shu.edu

Irish Superstitions and Rituals

From Friday the 13th and black cats to tossing salt over one’s left shoulder to ward off evil spirits, superstitions and rituals are rooted in a mixture of religion, mythology, and folklore. They have the power to ward off evil, bring good luck, cure sickness, even stop people from performing certain activities on certain days.

However, every culture is different and what is unlucky in one may be lucky in another. Instead of Friday the 13th, it is Tuesday the 13th that is thought to be unlucky in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Greece, Mexico, and Serbia. For Italy, it is Friday the 17th.

Where a black cat can be thought to mean bad luck, in Ireland it may lead to fortune as “several of the great lake serpents and water-cows of our Irish Fairy Mythology are supposed to guard treasurers; in some instances black cats are similarly employed” (Wilde, 98).

Some of Ireland’s other superstitions and rituals revolve around fairies and goblins, stating,

“…if you cast the dust that is under your foot against the whirlwind at the instant that it passes you, “them that’s in it” (that is, if they have any human being along with them) are obliged to be released” (Wilde, 130).

Then there are those that involve fire, most notably on days of celebration such as May Day and St. John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve:

“If a man was to perform a long journey, he leaped backwards and forwards three times through the fire to render himself invulnerable” (Wilde, 49).

“When the fire has nearly expired, and the dancing, singing, and carousing are over, each individual present provides himself with a braune, or ember of the fire, to carry home with him, which, if it becomes extinguished before he reaches his house, it is an omen of impending misfortune” (Wilde, 49).

“Walking around a burning flame during St. John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve spares one from being sick the whole year” (Putzi, 196).

Other curious Irish rituals include keeping spiders in a bag to be worn as a pendant or necklace to cure fever. However, if the bag is opened it will cause back luck. To remove a sty on one’s eyelid, the person should point to the direction of a gooseberry thorn nine times while chanting “Away, away, away!”.

But if things still go awry, you find your milk has curdled, you can always blame the fairies!

 

Other superstitions and rituals can be found in:

Putzi, S. (Ed.). (2008). To z world superstitions & folklore : 175 countries – spirit worship, curses, mystical characters, folk tales, burial and the dead, animals, food, marriage, good luck, and more. ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Wilde, W. R. (1852). Irish popular superstitions. J. McGlashan.

All Saints &; All Souls Days – Early Texts from the Rare Book Collection

The liturgical commemorations that distinguish the feast days of All Saints (November 1st) and All Souls (November 2nd) that are both important times of reflection and veneration by many adherents who believe in the spirit of Christianity.  Along with iconography and dedicated prayers, the most evident means of honoring the memories of those who came before us can be found in the bibliographic record created over time.  This encompasses various accounts, sermons, pronouncements, and legacies of innumerable individuals have recorded relevant declarations throughout the past several centuries and preserved for the ages.

Calendar of Holy Days for November Including All Saints and All Souls, 1723

Within the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, a number of theological-based volumes have been collected by our past and present clergy that honor the prayers of the faithful along with titles on individual saints who have been memorialized over time.  All Saints Day (or All Hallow’s Day) is a time of dedicated solemnity to honor all blessed individuals who have attained canonization especially blessed individuals who do not have their own respective feast day within the calendar.  The start of formal celebrations in regard to sainthood possibly began in Antioch and the inspiration for present day commemoration of November 1st as the Feast of All Saints was first documented by 800 AD within such manuscripts as the Martyrology of Tallaght and Martyrology of Óengus from Éire and spread forward to Bavaria, Nothumbria (England), the Frankish Kingdom (a day of total obligation even prior to its emergence as part of the Holy Roman Empire) along its present-day presence.

First page of the Sermones de t(em)p(or)e et de sanctis: cu(m) omelijs Beati Bernardi Abbatis Clareualle(n)s(is) (1495)

When it comes to individual titles on those canonized located in our stacks, the oldest text devoted to a saint is a compilation of sermons and devotions created by Bernard of Clarivoux. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153 AD) was a native of Burgundy and spent his life as a monastic abbot within the Order of Cistercians (Trappists).  He later became the first Cistercian placed on the Christian Calendar of Saints and was canonized on January 18, 1174 and over half a century later was bestowed with the title: “Doctor of the Church” in honor of his contributions to the faith.  The volume that celebrates his legacy found within our collection is entitled (in the Latin): Sermones de t(em)p(or)e et de sanctis: cu(m) omelijs Beati Bernardi Abbatis Clareualle(n)s(is) ordinis Cisterciensis; cu(m) no(n)nullis ep(isto)lis eiusde(m) (English: Conversations about t [em] p [or] of the holy places [m] omelijs St. Bernard Abbot Clareualle [n] [is] a Cistercian [m] no [n] with no ep [this] issue eiusdë [m]) (Impressi Venetijs : Per Iohannem Emericu[m] de Spira Alemanu[m], sub anno I[n]carnatio[n]is D[omi]nice, 1495).  [Call Number is: BXZ890.B5377 1495]

Preface page to Sermones de t(em)p(or)e et de sanctis: cu(m) omelijs Beati Bernardi Abbatis Clareualle(n)s(is) (1495)

When it comes to the commemoration of All Souls Day (LatinCommemoratio Omnium Fidelium Defunctorum also known as the: “Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed” or the “Day of the Dead”) in celebration of the faithful who are counted among the deceased.  In terms of textual origins, the practice of praying for the corpus dates can be traced back as far as the Book of Maccabees 12:42–46.

Frontispiece of Coeleste palmetum variis officiis, litaniis, precibus, & psalmis poenitentialibus (1723)

Within our own library there are a number of works that relate to meditation and devotionals can be found within the book (in Latin) entitled: Coeleste palmetum variis officiis, litaniis, precibus, & psalmis poenitentialibus, &c. : nec non vitis sanctorum per annum, cum orationibus adjunctis : ad ubertatem & sacras delicias excultum, ornatum, munitum : opera (Coloniae Agrippinae : Sumptibus Petri Putz, 1723) (English: Sixto offices litanies, prayers, instructions, explanations of Psalms, meditation controversy, Sec. Nor does the holy lives a year with prayers in the circumstances, choice of Scripture and the Fathers admitting the evidence and opinion to the richness and holy . . . developed, given assumed.) [Call Number: BXZ2184.N34162 1723] written by Wilhelm Nakatenus, S.J.  Reverend Nakatenus (1617-1582) was a Jesuit priest, author and preacher who is considered “one of the important prayer book authors of modern times” by several theologians throughout the years. This particular edition is one of only six found within different libraries globally which adds to its uniqueness for those read this valuable work.

For more information on titles by and about various Saints (1300-1800 AD) found within Archives & Special Collections Center Catalog please consult the following link . . . https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/search?sortKey=RECENCY&databaseList=&queryString=Saint*&changedFacet=year&overrideStickyFacetDefault=&selectSortKey=RECENCY&expandSearch=on&overrideGroupVariant=&overrideGroupVariantValue=&scope=wz%3A3042&subformat=Book%3A%3Abook_printbook&year=custom&yearFrom=1300&yearTo=1800&author=all&topic=all&database=all&language=all&materialtype=all

Additionally, a number of works about All Souls Day and its symbolism can be located within the University Libraries Catalog . . . https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/search?databaseList=283&queryString=all+souls+day&clusterResults=false

For more information on Church Feasts, Saints, Rare Books, and other related topics please feel free to contact our Center by e-mail: Archives@shu.edu or via phone at: (973) 275-2378.

 

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.

 

“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.

Studying Ireland, Irish Resources in the Archives and Special Collections Center

With March upon us an increased interest in learning about the culture, history, individuals, events, and traditions associated with the Irish experience is both evident and welcome!  However, when it comes to finding resources related to both Éire proper and Irish-America alike we offer year-round opportunities to study a wide-range of subject areas related to, and inspired by Ireland proper.

The Archives & Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University features a group of printed volumes from the collection of Irish literary figure and noted book collector Michael Joseph (Meagher) MacManus (1888-1951) who wrote various nationalist-themed books and worked as editor of the Irish Press from 1931 until his death two decades later. This library includes over 3,000 titles dating from the seventeenth century to the present day and covers several different aspects of Irish and Irish-American life including culture, geography, literature, politics, biography, history and religion. Nearly all editions are printed in either English or Irish (Gaelach).  The core of this collection consists of acquisitions secured by MacManus during his lifetime, but arrangements have been made to add latter day works to what has become a continuously expanding bibliography.

Most of these volumes of the volumes found in the MacManus Collection are housed in our repository, but many non-rare titles featuring a connection to the Ireland and Irish-American experience in some manner are also included via our databases (including the JSTOR Irish Studies Collection – https://www.jstor.org/subject/irishstudies and the digital Irish Times and Weekly Irish Times [1859-2015] – https://search.proquest.com/hnpirishtimes/index?accountid=13793) along with various e-books or print volumes in our Main Collection and assorted Reference Collection holdings.  More information can be found via our Irish Studies Research Guide – https://library.shu.edu/Irish-studies

and complimented by one specializing on Irish Literature: Past and Present – https://library.shu.edu/irishlit compiled by Professor Gerry Shea.

Another collection donated by Rita Murphy (1912-2003), achieved status as one of the first female graduates of Seton Hall in 1937, prior to becoming a long-time director of the Irish Institute at Seton Hall during the 1950s and 1960s.  She also hosted a weekly Irish Music Program on W-S-O-U FM, South Orange and frequently appeared on local television.  Her collection of nearly 1,000 titles are complimented by other important works donated by prominent donors of Irish titles including the recently acquired Emmet-Tuite Library of volumes focusing on varied aspects of the Irish experience printed between from the 16-19th century, noted New Jersey based journalists Barbara O’Reilly; Jim Lowney and noted advocate Jim McFarland whose bequest centers on focused materials related to political issues in Northern Ireland over the past few decades.

Counted among our major subject collections featuring Irish subject matter include the reference papers of John Concannon (1924-2011) former author, publicist and National Historian of the Ancient Order of Hibernians whose voluminous source material on Ireland and Irish-America is especially detailed with particular emphasis on parades, noted political and military figures.  In addition, the Center houses microfilm editions of the National Hibernian Digest (1905-97), Hibernian Journal (1907-69), and Convention Proceedings of the AOH in America (1888-1990).  Various materials including ledgers, documents, and other items representing the New Jersey AOH have also found a central place within our collection.

When it comes to family ties and Irish-connected genealogy, the presence of church census data, select religious community information, educational files and various institutional and parish records are also found within this collection. Original and microfilmed nineteenth and early twentieth century sacramental registers from both current or closed parishes and various local cemeteries provide a wealth of data for those conducting genealogical research for their Irish and Irish-American ancestors either on-site or via mail inquiry. Supplementing these distinctive resources are bound or microfilm copies of Catholic Almanacs and Directories dating from 1851 onward.

Governor Richard J. Hughes greets President John F. Kennedy at Mercer County Airport – Trenton, NJ, c. 1962

In terms of manuscript collections individual figures with Irish surnames have also been featured prominently in the organization of archival collections featured at Seton Hall through University connections including such academics and former presidents as Bernard J. McQuaid (1856-1857 and 1859-1867); James H. Corrigan (1876-1888); James F. Mooney (1907-1922); Thomas H. McLaughlin (1922-1933); Francis J. Monaghan (1933-1936); James F. Kelley (1936-1949); John L. McNulty (1949-1959) and John J. Dougherty (1959-1969).  Other prominent collections include resource materials from the laity including Congressman Marcus Daly (1908-1969) of Monmouth County, the first Catholic Governor of New Jersey Richard J. Hughes (1909-1992); and Bernard Shanley III (1903-1992), political advisor to President Dwight Eisenhower to name a few.

For more information about these, and other resources, and/or to schedule a research appointment please contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist/Education Coordinator via E-Mail:  Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or by Phone: (973) 275-2378

St. Nicholas Illustrated – Christmas Stories & Beyond

Within the Rare Book Collection of the Seton Hall University Archives & Special Collections Center are a number of volumes from the St. Nicholas Illustrated series.  Although no longer published, St. Nicholas was a popular children’s monthly that achieved popularity during the late 19th century.

First published in 1873 by Scribner & Company publishers, this magazine dedicated its pages to featuring quality short stories, poems, and other creative writing examples about a wide-range of topics penned by novice and experienced writers alike including Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, and Joel Chandler Harris to name a few.  Pieces that saw print were often accompanied by stylized black and white illustrations and wood engravings that complimented the text.

During its peak years, single issues St. Nicholas arrived in mailboxes monthly and achieved an average subscription rate of 100,000 readers.  Publishers worked on other ways to attract further readership and show its aesthetic quality throughout its run.  This manifested itself through the option of purchasing bound copies for a particular year(s) with a specifically designed cover to better showcase the magazine as shown above.

After seven decades, the magazine ceased operations by 1943 as readership diminished during the war years, but the existing copies that have been preserved offer an illuminating insight into juvenile literature of another age.  Additionally, St. Nicholas and its Christmas-centered themes that were written in honor of the holiday and celebrating a wide-range of aspects that touched on everyday life is part of its lasting legacy.

For more information on St. Nicholas Illustrated and our Rare Book collections please contact us at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

 

U.S. Constitution – Examples From Archives and Special Collections

On September 17th, 1787, the United States Constitution was approved by delegates to a special convention with the goal of creating a set of reasoned legal standards for those who would be elected to lead and share in the welfare of their new nation.  Since its ratification, the Constitution has provided the framework for a democratic form of government that has distinguished domestic leadership and its impact on the American populace over the past 230 years.  In more specific terms, the content found in this document outlines the continued aspiration for shared and balanced authority between the three branches of government – executive, judicial, and legislative not only nationally, but also on the state and local level.  The original authors were also aware that changes might be needed over time, and to date there have been 27 separate amendments made with the first ten comprising the Bill of Rights and the rest covering different aspects of civil equality.

Since its introduction, the Constitution has not only been a part of secular society since its official release, but from an academic perspective this text has been studied widely and given rise to special courses and independent study that stands alone, or paired with various disciplines from law to sociology to history among others.  A major part of this rise in wider interest came after the American Revolution concluded with the need for schools, growing literacy rates, and spread of print media as a means of educational outreach. These incentives helped to create the means of inform the public about legislative developments that impacted upon the citizens of a new and developing country.

Banner from the first pubic presentation of the United States Constitution (September 19, 1787)

The first unveiling of the Constitution to the masses came two days after it was finalized through the efforts of John Dunlap (1747-1812) who was the founding editor of The Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, the first daily newspaper in the United States.  This milestone gave rise to a series of printed books that offer full-text treatment along with details on the process of different sections were crafted, commentary on the subject matter, and significance of the final content depending upon each individual volume and its particular focus. The examples presented in this exhibit represent not only the first published copy, but also select early nineteenth century works that cover the words of first president George Washington, early amendments, and perspective from the New Jersey delegation representing the third state to officially ratify the Constitution.

The Federalist, on the new constitution. By Publius. Written in 1788. To which is added, Pacificus, on the proclamation of neutrality. Written in 1793. Likewise, the Federal Constitution, with all the amendments. 2 vols.  (New York: George F. Hopkins, at Washington’s Head, 1802)

Select bibliographic examples and relevant pages from our collection can be found not only within this post, but in the bound volumes located within our collection.  These include – The Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, No. 2690, 19 September 1787 (Facsimile extract from: Farrar, Frederic B. This common channel to independence: revolution and newspapers, 1759-1789. (Garden City, NY: Farrar Books, 1975); The Federalist, on the new constitution. By Publius. Written in 1788. To which is added, Pacificus, on the proclamation of neutrality. Written in 1793. Likewise, the Federal Constitution, with all the amendments. 2 vols.  (New York: George F. Hopkins, at Washington’s Head, 1802); and Eliott, Jonathan. The debates in the several state conventions on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, as recommended by the general convention at Philadelphia, in 1787. Together with the Journal of the Federal Convention, Luther Martin’s letter, Yate’s minutes, Congressional opinions, Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of ’98-’99, and other illustrations of the Constitution / collected and revised from contemporary publications by Jonathan Elliot. Published under the sanction of Congress. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1836)

In addition to these aforementioned works, further information on the United States Constitution and resources related to this subject area are accessible via the University Libraries through the following link –

U.S. Constitution – University Libraries Resources

More detail on the titles featured in this exhibit and additional volumes found within the Archives & Special Collections Center related to the United States Constitution can be referenced here –

U.S. Constitution – Archives & Special Collections Resources

  • Examples from our collection will be on exhibit through September, 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.