WWI: A Centennial Exhibition

The first installment of our three-part series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Great War is now on display in the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center, and will remain until 31 October 2014.

This portion of the exhibit is focused on the beginning of the war, including a set of lead figurines depicting the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and a diorama of a trench which illustrates the crowded, cramped quarters that were endured by soldiers on the Western Front.

Trench closeup

In addition, there are figurines depicting early French and German uniforms, models of planes used in the war, and figurines depicting Ottoman soldiers during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915.   The objects in the exhibit curated by Brianna LoSardo, Special Collections Assistant, are on loan from former history professor and Provost, Dr. Richard Connors.

Throughout the exhibit we are showcasing rare books from our Archives which contain photographs and illustrations of the war, as well as a collection of poetry written during and about the Great War. Maps and art prints complete the display.

The exhibit can be viewed any time the Walsh Library is open, in the display cases across from Walsh Gallery. It will be followed by the second installment on 1 November 2014.

The Archives presents the Seton family photograph album

Last year, the Archives and Special Collections Center acquired materials of special importance to the Seton Hall community: the Seton family photograph album and two books belonging to the Seton family.

Image 42 from the Seton family photo album, depicting the Setons at their home
Image 42 from the Seton family photo album, depicting the Setons at their home: William Seton Sr., Elizabeth, Thomas Jevons, William Jr., Alfred Booth, Isabel, and Lydia Butler, mss0074_042_01_adjusted_cropped

Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American born saint, founded the first congregation of sisters in the United States, the Sisters of Charity; opened the first free Catholic school in the U.S., St. Joseph’s Academy; and is the namesake of Seton Hall University. Before converting to Catholicism in 1805 and founding an order of sisters, she was married to William Seton and had five children, all of whom were educated in Catholic schools.

William Seton II (later called William Seton Sr.) was Elizabeth’s oldest son, born in 1796, and after completing his education he joined the United States Navy, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He married Emily Prime in 1832 and the couple had seven children of their own before Emily died in 1854. William made a home in New York, in what is now the Bronx, called Cragdon. This estate had a large home, barns, and extensive grounds; it overlooked the village of East Chester and offered beautiful views of the surrounding area.

The Seton family photograph album was made in 1867. The photographer(s) is unknown, but the first page of the album is inscribed to William Seton from Thomas Jevons (who later married William’s daughter Isabel) and Alfred Booth. Jevons and Booth were British businessmen, and it isn’t clear how they came to be acquainted with the Setons, but the album was apparently a gift from the two, featuring photographs of the Setons’ home and surrounds.

The 51 photographs in the album include hand-written descriptions of each image and may have been written by one of William Seton’s children, as he is referred to as Father in at least one image. Many of the images are of the Cragdon house and the areas nearby, including trees, a brook, meadows, ledges, caves, and the nearby East Chester village. A number of the images also include members of the family, usually identified in the caption, and friends and family, as well as clearly beloved pet dogs, also usually named. Winter, spring, and summer are represented in the images, as are activities appropriate to each, including sledding (called “coasting”) and a fishing party.

Image 42 from the Seton family photo album, depicting the Setons at their home, original scan
Image 42 from the Seton family photo album, depicting the Setons at their home, original scan, mss0074_042_01

Although the original cover of the album is missing, the photographs are in good condition and only a little faded, with almost no silvering (a phenomenon of many old photographs in which dark areas turn silver due to chemical changes over time). These lovely images are quite striking now, as they show an area that would today bear little resemblance to the past captured here. For those interested in Mother Seton’s family and the history of Catholics in America in the 19th century, these images depict a genteel family and their home. For those interested in other historical figures, the images include Army officers of the Civil War and active businessmen of New York and England, as well as the costumes of men and women of the upper-middle and serving classes in 1867. For those interested in nature, the images show trees, flowers, and scenery long vanished from where they stood when these pictures were taken, although the current Seton Park in the Bronx may include areas depicted here.

This album is available for research in the Archives and Special Collections Center; view the finding aid for the Seton family album, 1867, Mss 0074. Only one photograph from the album has been digitized at this time but it is hoped that more will follow. Also acquired with the album were two books belonging to William Seton, the Odyssey of Homer and Select Pieces on Religious Subjects by Effingham Warner, both of which are due to be cataloged and made available to researchers. Other resources related to Mother Seton and the Seton family can be found in the A&SCC: Collection on Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, 1840-2006, Mss 0006 and Seton Jevons family papers, 1780s-1930, Mss 0005.

Literature as Art exhibit in Special Collections Center, Walsh Library

A new exhibit in the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center, Literature as Art, will be available through September 15th. Volumes of world literature published by the Limited Editions Club founded in 1929 by George Macy were beautifully bound and illustrated by artists of the day, in limited number to subscribers.
Attention was paid to the covers, the dust covers as well as to the works and their illustrations. Some are leather bound with embossed designs related to the content. For instance, Daphnis and Chloe by Longus has a golden boss very like a Greek coin with the profiles of the title characters. The Man without a Country by Edward Everett Hale sports an embossed outline of the map of North America while Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage depicts a Union and a Confederate soldier contending over a flag. Other interesting cover concepts include the water silk cover of Samuel Butler’s Erewohn and the bold red and black theme exemplifying Stendhal’s The Red and the Black. The Coverley Papers taken from Addison and Steele’s The Spectator of 1711-1712 is clothed in flowered chintz while Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights wears illustrations of her famous characters, Heathcliff and Cathy, and her own portrait.
Sometimes themes from the book have been used in the cover and dust cover designs as the running penguin motif imprinted on Anatole France’s Penguin Island. In the case of Gargantua & Pantagruel by Rabelais, a mural takes shape across the bindings of the five volumes when they are beside each other in the dust cover. Another period binding technique is the use of marbleized paper. Often used to line the inside cover of a volume, it was used on the dust cover for William Makespeace Thackeray’s The Rose and the Ring and on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables.
Illustrations take the form of pen and ink drawings, wood cut block prints, lithographs or watercolor paintings. Not only do these limited editions provide the subscriber with hours of reading from the canon of Western Literature, they preserve work of regional, period artists and craftsmanship in the production of books rarely seen today in an age when books are often published electronically without any physical form at all. These sumptuous volumes can be seen on the ground floor of Walsh Library, opposite Walsh Gallery whenever the Library is open.

John M. Oesterreicher Books and Journals

The personal library of Mgsr. John M. Oesterreicher is just one aspect of his extensive collection available in the Archives and Special Collection Center. His personal library contained more than 5300 monographs and over 150 journal titles. As of this month all of Msgr. Oesterriecher’s books are available through the Seton Hall University library catalog and a list of journals is available through the collection’s finding aid. These materials date from the early 20th century through his death in 1993, and focus on Catholicism, Judaeo-Christian Studies and anti-Semitism. It includes works in English, German, French and Hebrew.

John M. Oesterreicher presents The Bridge IV to Pope Paul VI
John M. Oesterreicher presents The Bridge IV to Pope Paul VI, from the John M. Oesterreicher papers, Mss 0053. See this and other images from the Oesterreicher collection at the Digital Field Archives and Special Collections Center.

Mgsr. Oesterreicher was born February 2, 1904 in Stadt-Liebau, Moravia, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, into a Jewish family. He studied theology at the Universities of Graz and Vienna, was ordained to the priesthood in 1927, and in 1953 he founded the Institute for Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. He served as consultor to the Secretariat for Christian Unity during several sessions of the Second Vatican Council and was named an Honorary Prelate in recognition of his work. Msgr. Oesterreicher was a prolific author, publishing several books, an underground journal in Germany in the 1930s, many pamphlets, and numerous articles. He passed away in 1993.

Contributed by Len Iannaccone.

NJCHC Spring 2013 Conference Announcement…

Have You Ever Wanted to Learn More About What Goes into Making a Book and Meet Local Authors in the Process? Then We Have a Program for You!

Please join the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission and friends on Saturday, April 13th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Motherhouse located on the campus of Caldwell College, located in Caldwell, New Jersey for a conference entitled…

“The Art of the Printed Word – Historical Book Creation, From Prayer to Preparation to Publication.”

This program will serve as a showcase the recent publication of Catholic history oriented books, periodicals, and other print resources, but is also designed to show each the steps that go into making a book from idea, research options, the importance of writing and how to achieve a finished product. Speakers will present short talks on their work and will also welcome questions in relation to their expertise.  Noted authors including Father Augustine Curley, Carl Ganz, Father Michael Krull, Monsignor Raymond Kupke, Sister Margherita Marchione, Tom McCabe, Brian Regan, Greg Tobin, and others will be present to talk about their experiences and tell you more about the publication process. A major portion of this day will also be devoted for those interested in sharing their own research and interact with the speakers in more depth.

Those doing any type of publishing whether it be institutional and/or parish histories, articles, newsletters, and other specialized volumes are encouraged to attend.

Registration is now open. The cost for the day is $20.00 (students $10.00) per person and this includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. You can register at the door, but advance notice is appreciated. To reserve a space and/or for more information please contact Alan DeLozier via e-mail: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu, or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Irish Studies, Scrúdaigh & Special Collections…

Taighde a thionscnamh.  March is widely recognized as the time when the feast of St. Patrick is celebrated, but it has also been specially designated as Irish history month.  In the spirit of learning not only about the patron saint of Ireland, but more extensively about the history, culture, arts, spirituality, language, literature, and other aspects about, and emanating from Éire we encourage your research curiosity to flow here in the Archives & Special Collections Center.  We welcome you to explore our primary source print materials along with a wide range of book titles from our McManus, Murphy, and Concannon collections among other specialized holdings available for review.

Please consult our Irish Studies LibGuide for more information about the wider value of na Gaeil experience and locating relevant materials through our various resource catalogs.  This site provides a central gateway to further inquiry.

We look forward to working with you and fostering a true “foghlaim” (learning) experience.  Go raibh maith agat!

Archives and Special Collections LibGuides

To help make our collections more accessible, the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center has two LibGuides designed to assist researchers and students in finding materials.

Special Collections LibGuide
Special Collections LibGuide

LibGuides are collections of resources put together by librarians and library staff. A LibGuide is a handy way to gather together information about a particular subject by providing links to library databases, links to outside websites, lists of books or materials, how-to instructions, videos, RSS feeds, and even documents for download. Librarians at Seton Hall have created LibGuides on areas of study, how to conduct research, using the library, and many useful topics for students and members of the SHU community.

The Center’s LibGuides are geared to assist students and researchers in conducting primary source research. The Special Collections at Seton Hall University LibGuide is our newest and most extensive LibGuide. This guide groups our collections by topic and provides a brief description of each one, and includes information on archival collections, rare book collections, and other materials that are not housed in the Archives and Special Collections Center on the first floor of Walsh Library. In order to assist students and other users with finding as much material that may be relevant to their research as possible, this guide also includes descriptions of materials that may not have any other online descriptions yet, such as unprocessed archival collections, and materials at other Seton Hall locations, such as the Rodino Law Library in Newark. To further assist researchers, a tab called Forms and Policies includes information useful to those who wish to conduct research at the Center, or to request services. This guide is still being developed, and more information on materials and collections at Seton Hall will be added, along with information on how to conduct primary source research and how to access digital materials.

The Finding Aids LibGuide includes links to all current online finding aids, and is updated as soon as a new finding aid is posted. This LibGuide is primarily for providing quick access to finding aids and may be most useful for those researchers who are somewhat familiar with our collections or who want to know which finding aids are available online.

150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation: Civil War materials in the Archives and Special Collections Center

150 years ago, the country was deeply embroiled in war. The American Civil War began when seven Southern states (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas) seceded from the Union. After fighting began in April of 1861, four more Southern states (Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) joined the Confederate States of America in fighting the United States of America, leading to the bloodiest conflict in American history. The issue of slavery was at the heart of Southern secession, driving questions of states’ rights verses federal rights and the vast economic differences between North and South. Ultimately, the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States on a platform that emphasized abolitionist politics literally divided the nation.

On 22 September 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing enslaved people in the Confederate States. This did not officially end slavery by law (the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution did that, in 1865), but it was an important first step that emphasized ending slavery as a goal of the war and freed enslaved people in the Confederacy as the Union Army advanced. After four horrific years of fighting, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April, 1865. The war ended and the Confederacy dissolved; slavery had ended. But there yet remained a long struggle for economic recovery in the South, and although slavery was now officially over, African Americans were denied equal rights and the protection of the law in most of the country. Issues of civil rights and race relations, as well as how this nation governs itself, continue to be debated, and the events and politics of the Civil War still shape our world today.

In the Monsignor William Noe Field Archives and Special Collections Center, we have several collections that deal directly or indirectly with the history of the Civil War. Highlighted below are Rare Book materials, the Seton Jevons family papers, the Salt family letters, and the Confederate States of America Treasury bond.

Four book collections, totaling almost 2,500 volumes, focus on secondary sources analyzing and interpreting the conflict, its causes, its characters, and its impact. The Reverent Pierce Byrne Civil War collection, the Gerald Murphy Civil War collection, and the Schoch Family Civil War collection include numerous books on a wide variety of Civil War topics, while the Julius C. Landeheim Lincoln collection includes books and print materials on the 16th President.

Several note-worthy books from the period immediately following the war are in these collections, including John Abbott’s The history of the Civil War in America and Joel Headley’s The great rebellion; a history of the civil war in the United States, both published in 1866. The Byrne collection includes multiple issues of Harper’s Weekly, which gave detailed accounts of the battles and events of the war, often accompanied by woodcut illustrations. The Gerald Murphy collection includes a medal bearing the likeness of Ulysses S. Grant and a facsimile of the original document commonly known as the Treaty of Appomattox, written by Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865 and detailing the terms of the surrender of Robert E. Lee. The Landeheim collection includes early Lincoln biographies by Ward Lamon, Life of Abraham Lincoln from 1872, and William Henry Herndon and Jesse William Weik, Herndon’s Lincoln from 1889.

The Seton Jevons family papers is an extensive collection of archival material including family letters discussing the Civil War and its impact. Two Seton brothers, William Seton, Jr. and Henry Seton, both grand-children of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, fought in the Civil War on the Union side. William Seton, Jr. was a captain in the 4th New York Volunteers and Henry was also a captain. The collection includes correspondence between William Seton, Jr. and his parents and sisters during the war, as well as letters between two members of the Jevons family, Thomas and William, who lived in England at the time. Thomas Jevons later married Isabel Seton, sister to William Jr. and Henry and another grandchild of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. In the correspondence of the Seton brothers, William Jr. and Henry, there are notes and letters from enlisted men and fellow officers requesting leave or discussing business, as well as from each other and family members. William Jr. was injured in combat in 1862, and several letters refer to the effects of this injury. The Jevons brothers, William Stanley and Thomas, were living in England but wrote frequently to each other and discussed the events in America as news of the day. They had differing opinions on the possible outcome of the war, and neither seemed to think very highly of the United States government in general: William S. wrote in a letter dated 5 August 1861, possibly reacting to news of the Battle of Bull Run, “I had no doubt and do not now doubt that the North have the physical power sufficient to win ultimately, but it might take ten years or so, something in the style of English wars, and you may judge what chance there is of Yankees remaining of one mind for 10 years.” Six months later, on 12 February 1862, Henry wrote, “… though I think that we have hardly realized what a blow the rebellion is to the Northerners, yet I cannot but believe it is a lesson that will do them immense good, and that instead of one immoral badly governed country, we may within the next fifty years have two tolerably respectable communities.” While they both turned out to be incorrect in the details of their predictions, their opinions offer unique insight into foreign perspectives on the war. Several of these letters are in the process of being digitized, while some images from the collection are already online, including this photograph that includes Thomas E. Jevons and Isabel Seton Jevons.

A newly processed collection of family letters, the Salt family letters, gives a different first-hand look at life during the Civil War. William Salt, Jr. was teaching school in an Army fort in Arkansas at the outbreak of the conflict, and he wrote his sister to describe the events surrounding the transfer of the fort from Union to Confederate control. We know that Salt, a New York native who later became Father William Salt, a teacher and administrator at Seton Hall College, was conscripted into the Confederate Army and served for some time before making his way home to family in New York on foot; the collection of letters does not directly document this period of his life, but the letters describing Arkansas at the start of the war are detailed. Other members of the family, living primarily in New York at the time, discuss life continuing on despite the conflict, and mention in passing history-altering events. A cousin of the Salts, Elinor Gustin, comments at the end of one letter full of family updates, including where several male relatives are stationed: “These are awful times, who of us ever expected to see such a state of affairs in our once glorious country.” She then mentions the “great excitement” caused by the Emancipation Proclamation before calmly reminding her cousin to write back. Several of these letters (but by no means all) have been digitized, and while the majority of the collection dates from the post-war years, these first-hand accounts of life during the war paint sharply different pictures of North and South.

Another unique item dating from the Civil War is the Confederate Treasury bond, discovered at Seton Hall in 2003. The bond was issued by the Confederate Treasury in February 1864, one of the last group of bonds to be issued by the increasingly desperate Confederate government as it attempted everything possible to continue funding a war that was going very badly. Issued for $1,000, the bond was for a period of thirty years and would have allowed the collection of thirty dollars ($30) in interest every six months. Interestingly, the first two interest coupons are missing, suggesting that whoever purchased the bond was living in the South at the time. The exact provenance of the bond is unknown, but was discovered in a safe in the Office of the President; given that it seems extremely unlikely that the President of Seton Hall College (Reverend Bernard J. McQuaid was President from 1859-1868) would or could have purchased the bond, it was most likely stored there for safe-keeping years later, before the Archives were formed, and then forgotten. This item has not yet been digitized.

Of course, even the items listed here have more information to share, and there is plenty of additional material to explore in the Archives. After 150 years, there is still a great deal to learn about and from the Civil War and how it has shaped our nation. To start your exploration, email us, call us, or make an appointment to view materials in person. And don’t forget to check out the ever-growing Digital Archives and Special Collections Center!