African American Catholic Month &; Archival Resources

November is National Black Catholic History Month and the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center honors this legacy by preserving long-term holdings and continually acquiring relevant resources in order to provide our research community with valuable primary source materials for consultation purposes year round. With this in mind, our Research Center celebrates the contributions of the three million plus African American Catholics on a national and local level alike in providing depth to this ongoing story that directly reflects upon our main collecting areas and research constituencies especially in this time of celebrating the importance of diversity.

The historical legacy of African Americans who adhere to the teachings of Catholicism within the United States has a proud history despite having to overcome obstacles to establish a respected presence within the Church.  With this in mind, our Research Center celebrates the contributions of the three million plus African American Catholics on a national and local level alike in providing depth to this ongoing story that directly reflects upon our main collecting areas and research constituencies especially in this time illustrates the importance of diversity in all its forms.

Coat of Arms Significance – First African American Bishop, Joseph Francis, SVD (1923-1997)

In specifically theological terms, African American faithful typically adhere to conventional Catholic doctrine.  However, this often connects with ties to traditional and honored practices dating back to the days of Pre-Emancipation and beyond through the development of various African-based Protestant traditions that celebrated close community ties and sought to worship God while also promoting the need for combating prejudice and establishing wide-spread social justice among their congregants.

Black Catholics went on to attain a higher status with the USCCB pastoral letter of “Brothers and Sisters to Us” in 1978 along with the publication of various historical tracts including the trailblazing: The History of Black Catholics in the United States, by Rev. Cyprian Davis (New York: Crossroad, 1990) [BXZ1407.N4 D38 1990] along with others connected to this subject that can be found within our University Libraries Catalog from the Main Collection and/or Turro Seminary Library in particular.  These two milestones combined with academic life and coursework linked to the Black Catholic Movement from the Late 1960s to the present has been beneficial to establishing understanding of the many spiritual and symbolic contributions made by African Americans within the Church as a whole.

The Venerable Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853)

Counted among our most relevant collections include the “Cause for Pierre Toussaint Collection” [MSS 0036] which reflects on one of the earliest and most notable Black Catholics who lived during the Early American Republic and lived by all accounts a holy and selfless life of service.  As the abstract to this collection highlights:  “Pierre Toussaint was born into slavery in 1766 in what is now Haiti. He moved with his family and master to New York where he lived until his death. He spent his life helping the sick, homeless, and orphaned. He died in 1853 (The year the Diocese of Newark was founded). The Pierre Toussaint Guild was created to advocate his induction into sainthood. His body was exhumed in November of 1990 as part of the investigation into the cause for his sainthood.”

The Collection proper is broken down in the following manner within the Scope and Content Notes section:  “This collection primarily consists of newspaper clippings describing the life and cause for sainthood of Pierre Toussaint, as well as photographs, correspondence, and mass cards related to Pierre Toussaint. Many of the news clipping focus on the exhumation of the Pierre Toussaint’s body in 1990. Photographs are generally reproductions of illustrations of Pierre Toussaint or of Jane Flores at places and events related to Pierre Toussaint.”  More information on these Papers can be found via the following link: https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/203

In addition the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission (NJCHC) has various resources that have been written and maintained by membership over the years.  From various publication extracts to NJCHC symposium data for “New Jersey’s Black Catholic Heritage: Discovering Our Past in the Present” (January 31, 1991). The link to this organizational homepage can be found via the following site: http://blogs.shu.edu/njchc/  Specific examples include back issues of the NJCHC available in full-text pdf form including the following issues:

NJCHC Newsletter – https://scholarship.shu.edu/njchc/24/

New Jersey Catholic Records Newsletter, Vol. 9, No.3

New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission

Document Type – Newsletter,  Publication Date – Summer 1990

Abstract – The “Birth of Christ The King Parish, Jersey City” looks at some of the first establishments of African-American Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Newark.  https://scholarship.shu.edu/njchc/22/

New Jersey Catholic Records Newsletter, Vol. 10, No.2

New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission

Document Type – Newsletter,  Publication Date – Winter 1991

https://scholarship.shu.edu/njchc/34/

New Jersey Catholic Records Newsletter, Vol. 10, No.3

New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission

Document Type – Newsletter,  Publication Date – Spring 1991

https://scholarship.shu.edu/njchc/37/

New Jersey Catholic Records Newsletter, Vol. 13, No.2

New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission

Document Type – Newsletter,  Publication Date – Winter 1994

https://scholarship.shu.edu/njchc/36/

New Jersey Catholic Records Newsletter, Vol. 13, No.3

New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission

Document Type – Newsletter,  Publication Date – Spring 1994

Imani Newsletter of the Office of the African American Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Newark, c. 1996

Another figure connected to the NJCHC, but to the Archdiocese of Newark in particular is the first African American prelate for the See, Most Rev. Joseph Francis, SVD (1923-1997) who was made an Auxiliary for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1976 and retired in 1995 had a lasting impact on the spiritual impact on the Northern New Jersey community and beyond.  More information on his life and activities can be found within the following published compilation published by the Archdiocese of Newark . . .  https://www.rcan.org/sites/default/files/files/Newsletter%2C%20Bishop%20Francis%20Edition(1).pdf

Other important sources of note include, but are not limited to various Seton Hall-related resources (going back to c. 1912), but other Special Collections (including ones that require permission to review) can be found via the link to our ArchivesSpace site catalog can be found here . . .  https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/

In addition, the University Libraries Catalog features the following titles in relation to the wider African American Catholic experience . . . https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/search?clusterResults=off&queryString=african+american+and+catholic and the search sequence of Black Catholic(s) . . . https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/search?databaseList=283&queryString=black+and+catholic&clusterResults=false  In addition, here are specific titles covering the African American Catholic community and Newark . . . https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/search?databaseList=283&queryString=african+american+and+catholic+and+newark&clusterResults=false

Within the University Libraries Homepage is a Research Guide Section that also ties into key documents that highlight and explain African American Catholic highlights from the Vatican and other important resources in general and particular . . .

https://library.shu.edu/collections-guide/african-american-studies

For more information related to African American/Black Catholics found within our repository and research resources in general can be requested and research appointments scheduled by reaching out to us via e-mail: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Seton Hall in the World War II-Era

Contributed by Mr. Edward Wightman, Former Research Intern and Student at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

The World War Two era was a period of great change not only in the United States but in the world. The war itself directly impacted the world with massive destruction and innumerable lives lost. The aftermath of the war saw the return of thousands of soldiers to the United States all hoping to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and its benefits and pursue higher education at universities throughout the country and Seton Hall was one of these many Universities that experienced this influx of new students returning on the G.I. Bill.

Cover Page of the Veterans Information Guide, c. 1946

The Seton Hall student newspaper The Setonian gives us insight into the impact of the war on students and student life on campus although this source is limited as The Setonian was not running during the years of American involvement of the war despite the university being open. Despite this limitation The Setonian does provide excellent information about the period before and immediately after the war at Seton Hall. In the years leading up to the war there were a number of articles published that ask students about the threat of the rise of Communism, and if students think there will be another large scale global war. The Setonian also has a number of articles detailing the many different student organizations that are promoting peace among world powers including the Pax Romana organization and the Catholic Student Peace Federation. The articles tell us that there were many groups of students in the years between the two World Wars who were advocates of peace and hoped their movement could prevent another great war.

Seton Hall College Bulletin Announcement & World War II, 1942-45

One of the other interesting areas that is briefly mentioned in The Setonian is the opinion of then Seton Hall the Rev. Msgr. James F. Kelley on the rise of both Communism and Facism throughout Europe.  An article in The Setonian dated to March 23, 1937 describes President Kelley’s address at the Eighty First Feast of St. Joseph, during this address Re. Msgr. Kelley expresses his opinion as well as the opinion of the Catholic Church on Communism and its rise. There also is an article documenting a movement by students supporting the Catholic War Veterans of America’s campaign against communism in the United States. The pre war years at Seton Hall as documented by The Setonian depict a level of concern among students about the growing threat of Communism and the fears of another global conflict that were fears shared by many Americans at the time.

The Second World War began September 1, 1939 with the Nazi German invasion of Poland followed by the declaration of war on Germany by France and Britain on September third. The United States would later enter the war following the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war on the United States by Nazi Germany on December 11, 1941. As many universities would experience Seton Hall saw a vast majority of its students leave to serve in the war. It was at this time that The Setonian did not run as there were not enough students to run the paper so we have a very limited knowledge of what student life and activity was like at Seton Hall during the years of the war.

Post World War II Veterans Day Parade, c. 1946

The end of World War Two on September 2, 1945 led to the return of the many thousands of soldiers to the United States. These soldiers would be given many benefits under the Servicemen Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill. This bill provided returning soldiers with a number of benefits and among these was the ability to pursue a degree at a college or vocational school with tuition paid for by the government. This section of the bill led to an influx of new students at universities throughout the United States and Seton Hall experienced this first hand. The return of students to Seton Hall also brought the return of the student newspaper The Setonian which documented the impact of the students returning to school and those who were pursuing educations on the G.I. Bill. In the aftermath of the war a new column was started in The Setonian called “veteran’s corner” which was a dedicated column providing information for all veterans on campus regarding all manner of topics. We also see a number of articles that describe some of the issues faced by Seton Hall in the post-war period such as shortages of housing and food for the increasing numbers of students among other issues.

College President, Monsignor James Kelley talks with Veterans, c. 1946

The Setonian is a very valuable resource for understanding the aftermath of World War Two and the impact of the G.I. Bill on universities. The many articles published at this time especially those in the “Veteran’s Corner” column are invaluable in providing information about what life was like for returning veterans, and what they were provided with while attending Seton Hall. We also see other articles outside of the “Veteran’s Corner” column discussing the influx of veteran students one such article is titled “Plan For Vets” from March 13, 1946 which is an article that discusses the plan by Seton Hall to manage the influx of veterans at the school and its plans to assist them. Another article is found in the “National College News” column which on November 3, 1946 published an article discussing the problems faced by universities throughout the nation including housing shortages as well as food shortages due to so many new students on the G.I. Bill and those students bringing their families to school with them.

“The Four Freedoms & Seton Hall” Seton Hall Tower, 1944

The World War Two era was a time of great flux for universities throughout the United States as student attendance numbers rapidly decreased during the years of American involvement in the war, and then rapidly increased to all time highs in the years following the war. Seton Hall was among these universities who experienced this impact tremendously, as it faced the challenges of losing many students to the war, and then the challenges of the large number of students pursuing education on the G.I. Bill.

United Nations & Seton Hall Connections

“It’s Your World” serves as the maxim for the United Nations (UN), an organization that has been active in the promotion of fundamental human rights issues along with countless altruistic pursuits across the globe since the adoption of its charter in 1945.  The work being done by the UN on a community-wide level encompasses the importance of fostering peace and positive social relations, eliminating illiteracy, and supporting the need for wide-spread and sustained educational initiatives.  Each of the concepts also mirror the academic mission of Seton Hall and its impact upon the campus community in a myriad of ways.

Promotional flyer of the United Nations, c. 1950s

With October 2020 marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations this is an opportunte time for Seton Hall to recognize their relationship with this worldwide association to build public awareness of its goals, sponsoring special thematic programs, and offering academic-centered links to classroom instruction and research opportunities among other activities.  In recent years for example, Seton Hall has sponsored a Model UN team, UN Summer Program, the Center for UN and Global Governance Studies and a Certificate Program in UN Studies among other connected endeavors.  This trend of advocacy has also been strengthened through the present-day work of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations and those connected with this entity, but the story of UN and SHU collaboratives can be traced back a number decades ago.

From the post-World War II period forward, Seton Hall has been actively involved with various aspects of world affairs and issues that impact the planet in general, and the UN in particular, with the creation of an International Relations Club during the late 1940s.  In addition, the administration of Setonia has been very active in promoting the UN with regular correspondence between organization officials and event planning in tandem with frequent instances of faculty and connected student work.  This outreach began in earnest under the leadership of Monsignor John McNulty during the 1950 and heightened further throughout the presidential term of Bishop John Dougherty (1959-69).  Bishop Dougherty himself personally, or jointly sponsored a number of different symposia and philanthropic events that connected with UN causes both around Newark, and across most of Northern New Jersey during the 1960s.

Program From A Special UN-Centered Event in Newark, 1963

Counted among the affiliated organizations with the UN that have established close bonds with Seton Hall include the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) which has enjoyed a productive partnership over the last several decades. The UNA-USA (formerly known as the American Association for the United Nations, or AAM during the 1940s) bills itself as a unique alliance constituted of Americans who devote themselves to aid through action to the UN and its mission. With a membership that numbers over 20,000 (across 200 chapters across the nation), those who belong to any UNA-USA chapter are cohesive in their commitment to positive global engagement based explicitly on the goals set forth within the UN Charter proper.

UN Human Rights Overview Produced By The AAM, 1948

In 2011, Seton Hall acquired the bulk of UNA-USA archival records from its then-national headquarters in New York City and includes materials that date back to the AAM years (the first iteration of the UNA-USA) into the previous decade (c. 1943-2011).  Individual file entries include: Board Minutes, Members’ Day (i.e. UN Day), National Convention Transcripts, Members’ Day (i.e. UN Day), Policy-Iran Dialogue, and various Chapter Files from across the entire United States.  In addition, these holdings have been further enhanced by a number of UN and other UNA-USA produced journals and promotional materials including: The Interdependent, Global Agenda, Vista, and the Washington Weekly Report among others.

Inaugural Edition Cover of the Interdependent, 1970s

October and early November also mark milestones in the lives of prominent women who are noted for their long-standing advocacy work and have an enduring presence within our various UN-related collections.  The first is Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) who served as former Presidential First-Lady, Delegate to the UN General Assembly, and was commissioned as the first Chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights during the 1940s.

A number of materials within our UNA-USA files and contextual reference holdings bear her imprint and influence which has aided our research community in looking at the overall scope of the United Nations and its founding documents.  Another important figure is Ms. Marsha Hunt (b. October 17, 1917) who just celebrated her 103rd birthday.  Ms. Hunt is a retired actor, model, and activist who appeared in many acclaimed films including Pride and Prejudice (1940) among many others during her time in Hollywood.  During the early 1950s, Ms. Hunt became deeply involved with UN-centered projects including the elimination of world hunger, building homeless shelters, awareness of climate change, and support of universal peace activism among other related causes.

Ms. Marsha Hunt at the UN Microphone, c. 1950s

In an interview conducted with the author in 2018, Ms. Hunt noted that she began her life of advocacy after a return journey from around the world in 1956 that resulted in her credo that: “. . . we’re all a part of the planet.”  From here she served in a number of capacities including an affiliation with the National Board of the UNA-USA along with a stint as their Vice-President while simultaneously engaging in numerous other activities on behalf of regional chapters in California and New York City that also complimented frequent speaking engagements across the country.  Among her most effective contributions to the cause of UN involvement came with her producing and co-writing a documentary film entitled: “A Call From The Stars” released in 1960 that features a number of famous actors that have worked with Ms. Hunt including Bing Crosby, Paul Newman, and Harry Belafonte among others along with various radio programs and composing the words and music to the song: “Cry of a Refugee Child” during that same decade.  When asked about the value of researching UN and UNA-USA activities, Ms. Hunt concluded that the importance is: “To learn about all the UN specialized agencies . . . to give audience members literature so that they might learn more.  I never spoke of politics but only of helping people who were hungry and in need . . . Be a part of the planet, not the politics . . . “ continues to serve as her overall message.

Other individuals including Ms. Toby Gati (former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, 1993-97 and former Senior Vice President of the UNA-USA) who have supported the collection, Professor Courtney Smith of Seton Hall who facilitated the donation of materials to our repository, Mr. Edward Elmendorf (President and Chief Executive Officer of the UNA-USA) and many others including Ms. Sarah Burns, a friend and associate of Marsha Hunt who has served on the Boards of the National Women’s Political Caucus and the National Council of UNA-USA among other organizations has been very supportive of our efforts at Seton Hall on behalf of the UN and its lasting significance.

Ms. Sarah Burns, c. 2000s

Ms. Burns in an interview done in conjunction with the author in 2018 provides additional and important context as a long-time advocate of the UN and UNA-USA especially from her grade school days when she learned of the organization in the Weekly Reader along with an early visit to the UN building in New York City.  These seminal events led her to reflect that: “I was immediately mesmerized. I became fascinated by the UN and fell in love with it: I wanted to become a part of it and its important mission. Thus it became my professional goal to become a part of the United Nations and to help carry out its important work.”  This involvement escalated further to include a major appointment as the Committee for Non-Governmental Relations (NGO) Liaison and later the Deputy Director for the Washington Office of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) where she headed this important agency for many years.  This focus included extensive collaboration with the UNA-USA National Office while also serving as a representative to various governmental agencies while also engaging with media outlets including radio, television, international symposia and other means of communication to share needed information updates.  When it comes to the need for continued research with UN and UNA-USA documentation, Ms. Burns noted that: “I hope researchers who come to see and work with this collection at Seton Hall University will discover the invaluable work that the UN does to protect refugees, eradicate poverty, support family planning and keep the peace. I hope that researchers and students will understand the importance of the UN and the meaningful role that those who support it can play, in particular those who can shed a public spotlight on the UN and its work, such as actors, performers and artists.”

Cover of the Book – The UN Association-USA: A Little Known History of Advocacy and Action (2016)

A number of researchers have already availed themselves of UNA-USA holdings in particular as long-time author, Mr. Jim Wurst wrote a detailed study of the organization in his book entitled: The UN Association-USA: A Little Known History of Advocacy and Action (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2016), Mr. Wurst spent a number of years reviewing the UNA-USA collection and this work drew in large measure upon resources within UNA-USA Papers located within our repository combined with research collaboration efforts made with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations on campus.  As the preface in this volume noted in effect: “The issue of international welfare combined with historical preservation offers our research community the opportunity to learn more about how the UNA-USA developed over time and continues to move forward into is seventh decade of activity.” Even today the work of Mr. Wurst has inspired others to collaborate with us on research projects that connect to the UNA-USA including a doctoral student from the Netherlands who is communicating with the Center via e-mail during the Fall 2020 semester at this time of Covid quarantine precautions and international travel restrictions in mind.

UN Promotional Brochure, c. 1960s

Along with the UNA-USA holdings, Seton Hall features a number of collections that connect to the UN and also others which have unique and specialized content. These include, but are not limited the following Manuscript Collections . . .

Nancy Forsberg Papers (Mss 0022) Nancy Elizabeth Forsberg was an expert in Hebrew culture and education. She was ordained in June 1951 and became pastor of the First Congregational Church in Union, New Jersey in 1967.  This collection includes various files related to UN activities including the following topic areas: American Association of the United Nations (AAUN), Church Center for the United Nations; Israel and the UN; Middle East Affairs, 1954-67; Music and Prayer; Plays; Speaker Services; Specialized Agencies of the UN; United Nations 1952-62; UN Charter and Declaration of Human Rights; and Visual Aids among other content.

Thomas and Margaret Melady Papers (Mss 0072) Ambassador Thomas P. and Dr. Margaret B. Melady have been involved in diplomatic and international affairs since the 1950s, particularly on the continent of Africa along with multiple diplomatic posts for the United States.  Former ambassador and SHU faculty.  This collection includes various files related to UN activities including the following geographical areas: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Sengal along with the Africa Service Institute among other entities abroad.

Donald M. Payne Papers (Mss 0078) Donald M. Payne was New Jersey’s first African American congressional representative and served as New Jersey’s 10th district representative from 1989-2012. During his time in Congress, Congressman Payne served on a number of important committees and was a leading advocate for education, democracy, and human rights. He has various files and photographs related to the United Nations within his collection holdings during his time in Congress.

Other prominent figures in our Manuscript Collections area from Rev. Edward Flannery to Msgr. John Oesterreicher to Sister Rose Thering also have UN-related content in their respective papers especially in regard to Israel.  Additionally, New Jersey legislator Mr. Marcus Daly has an original manuscript of lecture notes entitled: “The Second Period of Collaboration: The United Nations” from the 1950s that focuses on the state of organization and the world in honor of its 15th anniversary of works.  Further information on these and other UN references found within our Manuscript Collection can be provided via the following link – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?q[]=%22United+Nations%22&op[]=&field[]=keyword&from_year[]=&to_year[]=&page=1

Cover of the Journal – Vista produced by the UNA-USA, 1960s

For more perspective on our academic partner, background details on the History and Mission of the Seton Hall University School of Diplomacy and International Relations can be found here – https://www.shu.edu/diplomacy/mission-history.cfm

In addition, Professor Lisa DeLuca of the University Libraries has produced a well-developed Reference Guide on the United Nations which can provide the researcher with relevant resources related to the United Nations and its operations.  The site can be accessed here – https://library.shu.edu/un

For more information on documents related to the United Nations and the UNA-USA and other international or local queries alike please feel free to contact the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu or by 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.

 

Spanish Language Instruction and Celebration of Bi-Lingualism at Setonia, 1856-Present

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) memorandum regarding equal rights in terms of learning-based opportunities. The issue of language and the need to educate all children on a nationwide scale regardless of English-language fluency became the major talking point for many viewing the overall theme and subtext of this pronouncement. All grade levels benefited from this renewed attention to linguistic-based instruction objectives.

Around the same time, the Puerto Rican Institute, now known at the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute, was founded at Seton Hall University. The creation of the Institute was to support the Hispanic community, ensuring Hispanic youths had opportunities for a full development through a variety of services and activities the university was able to provide. Due to the Institutes groundwork, Hispanic enrollment has increased along with an increase in the interest, recognition, and involvement of the community.

Today, Seton Hall University continues its language education that started during 1897-1898, before the DHEW memorandum and the founding of the Puerto Rican Institute, when only Spanish and Italian were offered. Currently, there are a variety of languages offered, such as Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, along with studies dedicated to different cultures around the world such as Latin American and Latino/Latina Studies.

 

Cover of the Puerto Rican Institute Inauguration Program – October 17, 1974

 

Additional data points on Spanish-themed resources and the overall scope of Central and South American life can be found within the Latin American Research Guide which is updated by Professor Lisa DeLuca, Professor Brooke Duffy, and Professor Lisa Rose-Wiles.

For more details about the history of the Spanish-language experience at Seton Hall University and other aspects of Latin America please feel free to consult the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute at Seton Hall University or contact Ms. Ana Campoverde, Executive Director by e-mail: latinoinstitute@shu.edu or phone: (973) 761-9422.

Additional aspects about the history of Latino and their contributions to Seton Hall can be researched via the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.  Please feel free to consult our website at: https://library.shu.edu/archives or contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist by email: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or phone: (973) 275-2378.

Back To School – Through The Years

The familiar refrain of “Welcome to Seton Hall” has been shared on many occasions with scores of students who have ventured through the front gates of the school over the last 160 plus years.  Although such a salutation can come at any point in time, early September just before Labor Day (or late August over the last decade in particular) has traditionally been designated as the dawn of an academic year for college bound individuals across the country with Seton Hall being no exception to this traditional rite of passage.  In this time of the COVID pandemic we are starting classes earlier on August 24th of 2020 with various safeguards in place to make the learning environment more safe, but no less interactive.

The first day of classes ever at Seton Hall came on September 1, 1856 in Madison, New Jersey (prior to the move of operations to South Orange four year later) when a total of five students enrolled at the fledgling institution after paying their room and board of $200 per annum.  The original attendance roster included the following names – Leo G. Thebaud (Madison), Louis and Alfred Boisaubin (Madison), Peter Meehan (Hoboken), and John Moore (New York City).

First page of the 1856 Seton Hall College Registration Ledger

This number rose to 11 by the end of September and either by on-time registration or those who chose delayed enrollment, the school was now in operation and set the trend for first days to follow thereafter.  For example, attendance figures for registrants to open a fall school term rose to 105 by 1865-66 and fluctuated below or near this number through the remainder of the 1800s.  An upswing figure-wise came during the 20th century as Seton Hall boasted over 200 newcomers for the first time by 1925-26 (259 total) as a prelude to the era of four-figure registrations which came about in 1938-39 when the Urban Division (Extension) Schools of Newark and Jersey City featured 1,025 students (481 at the South Orange campus) on their books.  However, it would not be until 1945-46 when the main campus hosted 1,008 new students (2,109 at the Urban Division) and the year following exploded even further in terms of Setonians who first arrived on site with 2,994 and 3,312 attending classes in South Orange and at the Urban Division respectively.  Thousands more per year and in sum thereafter have also experienced their first day in building a tradition that has endured to the present day.

Seton Hall University Orientation Guide – 1966

Regardless of year, prior to the moment of entry, plenty of preparation faces the undergraduate student from the Freshman who encounter a number of Orientation Sessions prior to attendance through Seniors who are making their final semester opening appearance on campus.  The fine tuning of course selection, purchase of school supplies, assisting with “Move-In Day” and other time honored and timely rituals are often routinely encountered by young scholars across the board.  Once arriving on site, the student body is busy settling in, meeting roommates, making  friends, selecting activities, studying course syllabi, book purchasing, and balancing meal plans among many other tasks start in earnest and helps to define the semester that lies ahead for each budding Setonian.  Reflection of these moments are often special to those who lived through these new experiences and many alumni have kept enduring memories of their first time on campus.  With this in mind, the literature produced by the school each semester reinforces the structure and substance that goes into planning for a starting term from the first one onward.

2005 Seton Hall University Orientation Guide Introductory Page

Various resources including listings that trace the beginning of each semester through the finish are available for research purposes here in our collection.  In addition, we have some electronic-based resources for off-campus consultation.  Our University History Library Guide can be located via the following link – https://library.shu.edu/University_History and our digital collections for a look at the earliest and most recent College/University catalog(ue)s and bulletins – https://scholarship.shu.edu/archives/

For more information about University History from start to finish please feel free to contact us via e-mail or by phone: (973) 275-2378.  New for this year, you can also use our bookings page to make an appointment for a research consultation or book a desk for quiet study in the reading room.  In the meantime, a perpetual “Welcome to Seton Hall” everyone!

Monsignor Thomas Fahy – Priest, Scholar, Humanitarian

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Monsignor Thomas G. Fahy (1922-76) as the fourteenth president of Seton Hall whose tenure was marked by a major series of initiatives that enhanced the administrative focus, academic infra-structure, and student experience for those connected to the university during his time as chief executive.  His life and example have been fondly remembered by those he touched along with future generations of Setonians who benefited from the forward-thinking initiatives he nurtured and approved between the years of 1970-76 in particular.

Monsignor Fahy looks over campus during his time as University President, c. early 1970s

A native of Jersey City, Monsignor Fahy graduated from Seton Hall College in 1943 and four years later became an alumnus of the Immaculate Conception Seminary just prior to ordination as a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark. He was later educated at Fordham University where advanced degrees in Theological Studies were earned.  The first educational-based assignments undertaken by Monsignor Fahy came as a Latin and Greek Instructor and Director of Athletics at the Seton Hall Preparatory School before joining the ranks of the university administration in 1955.  Prior to becoming president, Monsignor Fahy served Seton Hall as Athletic Director, Professor of Classical Languages, Dean of Men and Vice President of Instruction.

Upon assuming the presidency, Monsignor Fahy created the Center for Black (later known as African American) Studies was established in 1970. Another key addition to the campus landscape came to the fore when the Puerto Rican Institute was founded four years later. During the time of Monsignor Fahy, Seton Hall became more boarder-oriented when they opened Aquinas Hall, the first residence hall for women in 1971. Within academic circles, the Stillman Business School and Schwartz Nursing College Complex opened in 1973. Governance of Seton Hall originally balanced between a 25-member Board of Regents and 13 trustees, as operational leadership on a daily basis emanated from the office of Monsignor Fahy. In addition, Elizabeth Ann Seton, patroness of the University was canonized in Rome by Pope Paul VI in 1975, making her the first American-born saint. A year later, in response to a great swell in religious-based research, the New Jersey Catholic Historical Records Commission was founded at Seton Hall, where it remains active to this day.  These were just a few of the moves of lasting significance that remain connected to his legacy.

Monsignor Fahy discusses policy with faculty member, c. early 1970s

Monsignor Fahy was not only concerned for the welfare of the campus community, but for all citizens of the world  During his inaugural speech in 1970, he made mention of Catholic Higher education and the state of academic life, but also made the following pronouncement in regard to care for the earth and inhabitants based on the means of handling technology and ecology in a responsible manner:

“ . . . for us the most incredibly sophisticated marvels, the automobile and the jet plane to open up the country and the world; an agriculture whose yield is ten-fold what it was at the beginning of this century: a space program so incredible that we now somehow feel deflated that only two of our first three efforts to land on the moon were successful.  But while successive generations of college students were trained to produce these marvels, these students were apparently not warned to relate their achievements to man’s continued existence on earth.  As a result, we now face an ecological crisis of catastrophic proportions.  We could, we are told, be buried in our garbage, be asphyxiated by the exhaust of cards, or poisoned by the effluvia in our waters.”

Monsignor Fahy was an advocate for the United Farm Workers cause and other advocacy groups of note. Clipping, c. early 1970s

Beyond the board room, Monsignor Fahy was known as a thoughtful presence on campus who would sit on the steps of Presidents Hall and gladly talk to anyone who happened by about their lives and concerns. This is another side of the man that lives on in memory.  Monsignor Fahy accomplished many important landmarks during his lifetime, but tragically passed away in 1976 at the age of 54.  When the news arrived on campus he was widely mourned and eulogized.

Among the most poignant tributes came from past university president, Bishop John J. Dougherty who articulated that:

“Thomas George Fahy with honor, for his life was an honor to everything of which he was a part.  He was an honor to the family whose name he bore.  His achievement was begotten of what his parents had give him. He was an honor to the priesthood.  His fellow seminarians respected his gifted mind, his unassuming manner, and his manly and unobtrusive piety.  His priestly and professional life served a cause: the cause was Seton Hall. He was an honor to the human community. He was compassionate not only in thought and feeling, but in action.”

Additional postings regarding the life and legacy of Monsignor Fahy will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, please feel to contact us if you need further information on Monsignor Fahy and all aspects of Seton Hall University.  We can be reached via e-mail at:  archives@shu.edu

 

Summer School at Setonia

On most college and university campuses, the voluntary option of attending Summer School between the end of any Spring semester and the beginning of a Fall term is a concept that is commonplace today.  This has traditionally been a time when students could undertake selective coursework in order to repeat classes for added intellectual reinforcement, quicken the pace of their respective graduation timetable, or even for self-knowledge and continuing education purposes.  Seton Hall has systematically followed this trend of student support through most of the twentieth century into the present day.

Historically, the typical Academic Year for a Setonia student during the nineteenth century entailed a regimented ten-month academic experience along with their proscribed vacation time to help rejuvenate themselves in time for an Autumn opening.  General catalog(ue)s of the 1860s-90s highlighted this required modus operandi in the following manner:

“The Academic year, which consists of two terms of five months each, begins on the first Wednesday of September and ends on the third Wednesday of June.  At Christmas there is a vacation of twelve days; and in May students are permitted to be absent for a day or two, to procure Summer clothing.  At no other time are they allowed to leave the College, except for reasons of great importance . . . General examinations are held at the end of each term.”

“Welcome to Seton Hall Summer School!” A press clip from the Newark News showing the first class of women to attend the South Orange campus of Seton Hall College in 1937. Dr. Howard E. Merity, Director of the Summer School welcomes from left to right: Sally Webster, Natalie McMahon, Lillian Driscoll, and Rita Smatherust

Over subsequent decades, the number of months that a student at Seton Hall were required to stay on campus had been reduced with final examinations taking place in late or early May with commencement exercises taking place shortly thereafter.  This left around three and a half months worth of vacation time as the twentieth century moved forward.  As enrollment multiplied along with an increased number of course offerings especially when the Urban Division of Seton Hall (Newark and Jersey City) was created in 1937 became a catalyst to encourage co-educational study.  This also led to an opportunity for all students (both Men and Women) to freely attend classes at the South Orange campus.  However, Women could not fully avail themselves of course enrollment at any time during any formal Academic Year until 1968.

From the 1930s forward, especially after World War II a full calendar of Summer-based course offerings were planned and scheduled on an annual basis and representing every individual College, School, and Department on campus along with offerings from the School of Continuing Education and Internet-based learning communities as well.  The evolution of Summer School has undergone various developments over the years and continues onward as the popularity of this program had endured.  The time usually spent taking any course outside of the traditional Academic Year period is usually accelerated and completed within a matter of a week or two on average, but no matter how long, participation was a valuable experience for many individuals as we move forward into the twenty-first century.

For more information on the history of Summer School and other aspects of University History we are glad to assist you.  Inquires can be sent via the following e-mail address: Archives@shu.edu

A History of the Seton Hall Annual, 1924-2006

The concept of a collegiate yearbook (or annual) arose from the need to record student enterprise from the earliest volumes published during the early 1800s into a regularly anticipated fixture among most elite Eastern institutions and eventual adoption among many Catholic colleges and universities between the mid-nineteenth century into the early twentieth.
The trend of producing a yearly chronicle of academic life reached its zenith during the “Jazz Age” of the 1920s when the appeal of student life on college campuses entered the national conscious in a major way through positive and popular depictions in motion pictures, radio programs, and the daily press throughout the decade. Within this context, the Seton Hall
yearbook known originally as the “White and Blue” was christened in 1924.

Cover of the 1924 Seton Hall College – White & Blue

From the first, the promise and appeal of memorializing the Setonia  experience received strong support throughout campus. Officially released during May of 1924 (covering the 1923-24 academic year), the “White and Blue” (prior to its being re-named and bearing the legend – “The Galleon”
in 1940 and 1947-2006) reflected its original and enduring objective to prepare: “through word and picture a summary of all activities . . .” within a published memorial designed to honor each graduating class from its introductory edition to last imprint.  Historically, the “White and Blue” was directly inspired in large measure by the colorfully written and illustrated student-run Dramatic Society playbills in vogue during the early 1920s.

From this inspirational point, the yearbook became one of the first regularly produced and distributed non-single event campus publication (aside from the College Catalogue) along with its counterpart “The Setonian” (student newspaper) which opened its presses a couple months
beforehand. This weekly (later monthly) serial became an allied publication with the “White and Blue” and regularly featured updates on yearbook issues including the promotion of staff members, production updates, and sale potential through its pages during the 1920s and 30s in particular. The yearbook reciprocated space-wise with “The Setonian” by including a special section on the newspaper and its activities under its Student Organizations chapter in most every volume that followed suit.

Yearbooks in both a general and traditional sense were produced with a firm timeline in place to cover any given 12-month academic period. Each provide a means of immortalizing the students, faculty, and administrators affiliated with Seton Hall and also offer “snapshots” of life on campus broken down by different departments or sections to honor popular trends during a respective time and place. The traditional format and sections found in most annuals with Seton Hall being no exception tended to include in varying order the following categories:  Welcome Page(s), Dedication; Graduates (Senior Portraits and List of Activities – Text and Photographs, 1920s-1950s); Undergraduates (Frosh, Sophomores, and Juniors); Faculty, Student Life (Activities, Current Events, Special Events, etc.); Academics (Departments, Who’s Who, etc.); Athletics, Student Organizations; Advertisement Section (earlier editions often featured a special emphasis on South Orange, Newark, and other local companies); and in some cases an Index, Colophon (statistical data), and a Notes/Autograph page(s) are found thereby providing a unique look at Setonia in a traditional and organized manner.

In regard to the first work plan based on historical models, the inaugural edition of the “White and Blue” featured an introductory forward by the College President at that time – Rt. Rev. Thomas H. McLaughlin, S.T.D. who wrote about the justification of this enterprise in regard to the institution and its lasting intrinsic value: “In years to come this book will serve to revivify events and intensify the love which every Setonian bears to Alma Mater. It will be an incentive to live up to the religious and educational standards presented and exemplified in daily life during college years.” This pioneering work in 1924 was undertaken directly under the leadership of Reverend John J. Sheerin, Faculty Moderator (this role would usually fall under the guidance of a priest until the 1950s when a member of the lay faculty usually assumed leadership duties); Editor-In-Chief, Francis J. Walsh; and a staff of researchers, writers, illustrators, photographers, and other volunteers which handled various duties associated with content management and marketing opportunities. During its first year, which involved a significant learning curve, the yearbook staff was able to finalize a volume in time for commencement and with funds collected via advertising space and subscriptions the “White and Blue” office collected $706.00 from various sources which helped defray supply costs and a
printing bill of $521.00 that led to a final first year net profit of $19.00. From here the consistent search for content and subscription drives became a regular fixture of the yearbook office thereafter.

Various Seton Hall White & Blue Covers, 1920s-30s

The following year in 1925, editors of the “White and Blue” expressed the need for a yearbook with more clarity and eloquence after its first attempt succeeded and a methodical tradition had started. Therefore, finding a rhythm passing on experiences to the next class led to a sustained presence that lasted on campus for nine decades.

“Without a doubt if most Graduates were asked to name that event which, of the varied multiplicity of forms, loomed largest on the horizon of the scholastic year, their choice would be the publication of the Year Book . . . it is the result of their attempts to portray in succinct form, both to Alumni and Under-Grads, all that which occurred within the cycle of their daily lives at Setonia. WE present it with pride, for we fell that in it we have attained our purpose . . . We have merely presented phases from the humble life-drama of Setonians. Those figures that strutted unimportantly before the eyes of many are now paraded in a steady light. Those associations which engrossed our attention are seen in pleasant retrospect. We have turned the X-ray on the thought, spirit, deeds, and accomplishments of a student life and disclosed the skeleton. We have not attempted to analyze, to caricature, or to be distinctly erudite. In a word, our purpose was to present in the simplest way the record of a family life. If there are
occasional little traits of delicate feeling and sentiment manifested, we feel that the reader will not censure us for it. Especially informative in its character, the Year Book served to bridge the gap between the student and Alumnus. It is a story which a student tells to the “Old Grads.” A
story – yes, for it contains those varied elements that minster to our delight. It is enlivened by incidental adventures; it describes the places in which the scene is cast; the motley groups of character are skillfully drawn; genial humor pervades its pages, and the whole is a lively picture
of a real student life. It is well that such a story should be told occasionally by Setonains, for it is certain that there are many who will be interested in it . . . It is the wish of the editors that it will be greeted with the same spirit which made possible its present success and that future classes will find in it an incentive to carry on the pleasant duty of preserving the traditions of
their Alma Mater.”

By virtue of their timely focus, yearbooks are usually issued at the end of an academic cycle, but take several months to produce in order to: “. . . record, highlight, and commemorate the past year of a school.” Publications of this type had their ancestral origins in self-created student diaries, journals, and scrapbooks especially when it came to pasting snapshots, news clippings, cards, etc. and writing marginalia notes to accompany these artifacts. This personalized means of autobiographical expression became the general inspiration for the concept of school yearbooks in the modern sense and memorializing connections between a student and their
institutional ties as a result. The “White and Blue” was no exception. When it came to the Seton Hall approach in yearbook creation and looking at its legacy those digitized and found in the Digital Collections repository include the “White and Blue” (1924-1933, 1939, 1941-1942) and “Galleon” (1940, 1947-2006) in full text. However, due to financial issues and World War II no annual was produced during the years 1934-1938 and 1943-1946 respectively while the last edition featured is a combination of the 2002-2006 in one volume to honor the Sesquicentennial of the school.

Various Covers of the Seton Hall College/University White & Blue/Galleon, 1940s-50s

The overall and specific appearance of each edition of the Seton Hall-produced yearbook from the “White and Blue” through the “Galleon” periods alike varied each time as depicted by the preferred graphics, font type, jargon, period humor, photographic poses, and other illustrative
choices that distinguished this specialized tome over time including such early loose themes as – “Collegiate Humor,” “Egyptian Motifs,” and “Medieval Learning” among others of note. After the final format for each edition was approved it was remitted to a professional publishing firm.
The first partnership made was with the Colyer Printing Company of Newark (1924-1933, 1947) and followed in sequence by publishing/printing concerns including Robert W. Kelly of New York City (1939); New City “Engravatone” of Union City (1940-1941); Baker-Jones-Hauser, Inc.
of New York City (1942); Campus Publishing of Philadelphia (1948-1949); and Progress Associates, Inc. of Caldwell (1950-55) leading up to the commemorative Centennial Edition of 1956.

From this landmark text onward, other professional publishers were employed and adopted the responsibility by working in tandem with various official local photography studios over the years in conjunction via the editorial team and publisher to create a finished product that is viewable in the electronic copies found on this site. In terms of size, page lengths varied from the first edition of 1924 that featured 78 inside pages and grew to most subsequent volumes featuring no less than a few hundred glossy sheets as a standard over time. The physical dimensions of each yearbook has also varied over the years with the most compact being the 1925 edition (8’ x 10”) and the 1974 and 1976 boxed editions (approx. 9 ½” x 12 ½” each) the largest with most other latter-day copies measuring the standard 9 ¼” x 12 ¼” extent.

The characteristic appearance features a traditional facing page approach with content bound within a hard cover (aside from the 1924 which was all paper) as the typically accepted template. Production usually consisted of a two-color (usually black and blue text with black and white photography) approach from 1925-1947 and multi-color editions eventually became
the accepted pattern from 1948 through 2006.

Various covers of the Seton Hall University Galleon, 1980s

From a research standpoint, the Seton Hall yearbook remains a popular social history reference work that provides latter-day readers and family historians in particular with life in a prescribed time period. It also fosters memories and is a marker for those interested in historical research
and student demographic trends. On the sociological front, formally published yearbooks are becoming extinct in the traditional sense as social media and other means of presentation have modernized the process of student expression and memorialization.

As you can see upon reading different editions of the Seton Hall yearbook, the content offerings have changed from a balance of textual and photographic representation during the first six decades to a more photographic-based volume each year from the 1960s through the early-mid 2000s. At its core, the lasting need for such information is pointed out in the pages of the Diamond Jubilee History of 1931, whereby the value of the school yearbook was timely upon publication and remains manifest upon reflection. “The publication of a Year Book or ‘Annual’ by the graduating class has in recent years become a regular part of a college activity. Such a book is to the members of the class a permanent record of their achievements while in college, and a source of happy reminiscences in later life . . . Each succeeding issue of the “White and Blue” (and “The Galleon”) has been enlarged and improved in one way or another . . . ” which will benefit the reader of today and the future alike.

Various Covers of the Seton Hall University Galleon, 1990s-2006

Access to the digitized collection of Seton Hall Yearbooks can be found via the following link –  https://scholarship.shu.edu/yearbooks/  Hard copies of the Yearbook can be accessed via the Archives & Special Collections Center during office hours and by appointment.

For more information regarding yearbook content and all other aspects of school history please feel free to contact us via the Archives & Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University – Alan.Delozier@shu.edu / (973) 275-2378.

Seton Hall 150 Years Ago – 1870

When looking back at the nation and world 150 years ago there were many memorable milestones that have since shaped society in various ways.  These included the start of construction on the Brooklyn Bridge, enactment of the 15th amendment to the United States Constitution allowing African American males the right to vote, and Pius IX declared papal infallibility in matters of faith and morals among others.  On the local front, Seton Hall College was in the process of celebrating its 14th anniversary of operations and tenth on the South Orange campus with its eye to future development as a modest, but growing institution of higher education.

The student catalog(ue) for that year noted that the campus proper: “ . . . is situated near the village of South Orange, distant, by railroad, sixteen and a half miles from New York, and six and a half from Newark: accessible from New York in about an hour.  The College buildings are of great architectural beauty, large and commodious, thoroughly ventilated, well heated by steam, and lighted by gas.  In addition to the buildings represented in the frontispiece, a large stone home has been erected for the Sisters and servants the Wardrobes and Infirmaries . . . The location is upon high ground, overlooking a beautiful country.  The Orange Mountains have long been recommended by physicians as a most favorable residence for their patients.  For years past, the advantages of the surrounding country, for breath, extensive view, and proximity to New York, have been fully appreciated; hence the villas and mansions on every eligible site for miles around.”  This presented the incoming student with a helpful overview of their surroundings and vista if they stayed to experience the entire seven year curriculum in vogue at that time.

Rev. Michael A. Corrigan, Fourth President of Seton Hall

Counted among the administrative highlights during this year included the bishopric of James Roosevelt Bayley, first leader of the Diocese of Newark and founder of Seton Hall along with the fourth president of the college, Rev. Michael A. Corrigan, who would later become Archbishop of New York.  Invaluable support was provided by clergy, lay teachers, and representatives from the Sisters of Charity who tended the infirmary.  They were ever cognizant that: “. . . the object of the Institution is to impart a good education, in the highest sense of the word – to train the moral, intellectual and physical being.  The health, manners, and morals of the pupils are an object of constant attention.  The system of government is mild and paternal, yet firm in enforcing the observance of established discipline . . . The better to carry our the design of the Institution . . . For this reason, it is expedient that parents who wish to accrue, places for their sons in SETON HALL should make early application.”  These spiritual and academic mentors managed a diverse student body that not only featured learners from New Jersey and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, but also from such locales as Alabama, Louisiana, and abroad from Cuba, Colombia, New Grenada, and the Yucatan.

When it came to preparation for college life, each budding student had to arrive in South Orange with the following required articles if they were to be boarding on campus:  “ . . . four summer and three winter suits.  He should also have twelve shirts, twelve pairs of stockings, twelve pocket handkerchiefs, six towels, six napkins, three pairs of shoes or boots, a pair of slippers a cloak or overcoat, and two silver spoons, two forks, and a napkin-ring, all marked with his name.”  In terms of expenses, the board and tuition, use of bed and bedding, $400 per annum, payable half-yearly, in advance.  Washing and mending of clothes and linen, $20.  Physician’s fees medicines, etc., $10, Music, $60, and drawing, $50 per annum, for those who wish to learn them.  For use of Piano, $10 per annum.  The German, Italian, and Spanish Languages, each $25 per annum.  Each of these costs represented a substantial investment by parents and students alike prior to the greater inflation associated with expenditures found in the present day.

Once the student were on campus they encountered an academic year that consisted of two sessions of five months each, commences on the first Wednesday of September, and ends on the last Wednesday of June at which time there was a public Exhibition and Distribution of Premiums.  At Christmas there was a vacation of ten days; and in the spring, absence for a day or two will be allowed, when necessary, for the summer equipment of the students.  At no other time were they permitted to leave the College, except for reasons of great importance.  The regular visiting day for parents was on Thursdays.  In addition, weekly reports of all the classes are read before the Professors, Tutors, and Students.  Monthly reports are sent to the parents or guardians.  Below you will find a copy of the academic year calendar that each student followed per term . . .

When it came to the “Fundamental Rules of Discipline” which guided student conduct, this showed the correct ways from staying out of trouble and maintaining decorum among the student body.  These guidelines included the following examples: “The Rules of the College require of all Students a manly bearing and kind, courteous deportment towards each other at all times; application to study during the hours of study, and the through preparation and recitation of the lessons assigned . . . No Student ever leaves the College grounds without permission . . . Leaving the College grounds after nightfall subjects the Student to expulsion . . . The use of tobacco is forbidden . . . No other books other than text-books and works of reference recommended by the Professors can be held by the Students, unless by permission of the President . . . Students are not allowed to receive newspapers, except for their Reading-room, which is under the direction of the President . . . Correspondence is permitted only with parents, guardians, and relatives . . . “  These limitations and other items were part of the student experience along with making sure they paid close attention to their physical health through visits to the college gymnasium and the required classrooms to attend to their proscribed study schedules.  This summary provides but a capsule look at the life encountered by the Setonian of 1870.

For more details about Seton Hall during the 1870s digitized Student Catalog(ue)s and Bulletins can be consulted via our eRepository site at – https://scholarship.shu.edu/undergraduate_catalogues/  and for other queries concerning University History you can e-mail us at – Archives@shu.edu for more information.  Thank you for your interest.