Student Perspective on Junot Diaz and “Poetry in the Round”

This week we highlight the reflections of Rutgers University student Julia Bonavitacola on her internship in Special Collections this summer . . .

One thing that I have learned from my time in the Walsh Library archives is how close twenty-six miles really is. It has amazed me how often Seton Hall University and Rutgers University have overlapped in the past, not just on the basketball court but in the people that have frequented both places.

The past few weeks of diving through Seton Hall University’s archives has presented an interesting perspective on how Seton Hall has thrived the past twenty-five years as well as provided me with interesting posters and programs to pore over. But I’m an English major at Rutgers University, my heart has always been in finding anything pertaining to literature and the campus on the banks of the Raritan. I have not been disappointed.

While sorting through archival papers, a program caught my eye. The annual “Poetry in the Round” was held at the Bishop Dougherty Student Center on April 29, 1996. And who should be the featured author but Rutgers alum Junot Diaz, come to read from his then newly released book of short stories Drown and snippets from works in progress.

Junot Diaz was often talked about in my creative writing classes. A story of someone from New Jersey becoming a writer, who took the same classes as we did and, perhaps, even sat in the same seats. When Creative Writing students felt like they couldn’t make it, we could always look to Junot Diaz. His Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is always stocked in the bookstore and English majors around campus recommend it any time you need a new book. The mentions of Rutgers, the EE bus, Demarest Hall and College Ave sprinkled throughout the novel gave us Rutgers students a chance to relate. A chance to relate to a man whose career started just the same as ours.

Given the inexplicable relationship Rutgers English and Creative Writing majors have with Junot Diaz, it was astounding to me to see he had come to read at Seton Hall. Of course, Rutgers doesn’t have exclusive rights to Diaz; his work is out in the world for all to read. But the idea that Diaz could be championed by New Jersey natives from all walks of life, whether they were born in New Jersey or in another country like Diaz, made me realize that we can all relate to the themes of Diaz’s work. The feelings of not knowing our identity, trying to fit in, the fear of dying before we’ve really lived. These themes aren’t exclusive to the creative writing classrooms in the basement of Murray Hall, these are themes that run across all of the United States, a whole generation of students currently sitting in classrooms just like the ones that Diaz himself sat in.

Yes, twenty-six miles isn’t all that big. So, in 1996, when Junot Diaz was reading his short stories, the distance between Rutgers and Seton Hall became insignificant. Literature connects us like no other medium, bringing age groups from across vast distances together like no other. That night in 1996, Diaz was shrinking the cultural gap, the language barrier and the twenty-six-mile gap between Seton Hall and Rutgers, until everyone was boiled down to their simplest form: human beings experiencing the same world that Diaz encountered. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters more than any distance.

A Moment in Space and Time – Seton Hall Honors A Pioneering Astronaut

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first successful Moon Landing by humankind, this month has been a time of reflection in regard to the wonders of inter-galactic exploration that have made history.  The American space program was very active during the 1960s as a number of different astronauts and support staff completed memorable missions beyond the borders of Earth made it possible for scores of individuals to learn more about our solar system as a result of their collective efforts.  Those connected with Seton Hall were no different in its fascination with astronomological  studies through the sharing of news updates, course content, and seeing what would come next in the evolution of space travel and discovery.

In light of the popularity of the cosmos created through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its successful work made those associated with the program not only trailblazers, but also heroes and role models.  This led Seton Hall to bestow an honorary degree of science on James Alton McDivitt (b. 1929), a United States Air Force Brigadier General (Ret.), Aeronautical Engineer, and Astronaut whose work with various programs between 1962-72 as part of NASA led to command of the Gemini 4 mission which included the first U.S. spacewalk and the Apollo 9 mission of April, 1969.  This latter endeavor encompassed the testing of Lunar Modules and hardware that would be used a few months later on the famed mission to the Moon that achieved success and renown two months later.

McDivitt himself made history as the first Roman Catholic to soar into space.  Along with this milestone, his  accomplishments on the whole were recognized by University President, the Most Reverend John Dougherty in his last official act before retirement when he introduced then Colonel McDivitt at the morning commencement ceremony of June 7, 1969 with the following words . . .

“Mother Earth is a Jealous Guardian, and Few are the Men who have been privileged to free themselves completely from her embrace.  Yet he whom we honor here has done so twice . . . Were it not for the knowledge gleaned from the experiments with Apollo 9, of which he was the command pilot, we would not now – – actually and vicariously – – be standing on the threshold of the moon and, perhaps, beyond.  Stalwart in honor, upright in integrity, steadfast in bravery, devoted to his family and his country and his God, he was but a natural choice to become an adopted son of Seton Hall.  For he is of the stuff of heroes.”

Seton Hall University Commencement – 1969 (From Left to Right) Bishop John Dougherty, University President; Senator Gale W. McGee, (D-WY); Colonel McDivitt

Before a graduating class of 1,887, Colonel McDivitt noted to those in attendance that: “You are entering into another form of life, and there is a lot to be done . . . With luck, skill and hard work I am confident we will land on the moon this year.  I am also confident that in your lifetime you will see men on Venus and Mars.  Landing on the moon is only the first step in space exploration.  Perhaps in your lifetime you will be called upon to solve problems on Mars and Venus along with those on Earth and the knowledge we gain will help the lot of people all over the world.”  He also urged the graduates to keep both their standards and ideals high as they made their way in the world.  Another revelation came when Colonel McDivitt mentioned that he carried a relic of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton on his Apollo 9 flight that was sent to him by a nun who prayed for his success and in the process made the bond closer between the honoree and his fellow alumni.

With his words as a prelude to the Moon landing and the exploration of Mars that is currently being undertaken, the words of Colonel McDivitt live on and have provided the Seton Hall community and others who heard his message with a hopeful note moving into the future of time and space discoveries yet to ensue.

For more information on Seton Hall history please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist by e-mail: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or phone: (973) 275-2378.

Object of the Month – Bayley-Seton League Banner

Bayley-Seton League Banner
felt
32 ½” x 172 ½”
mid 20th century
Monsignor Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center
SHU0047
2018.23.0001

The Bayley-Seton League was founded in 1938 and is recognized as the oldest service organization at Seton Hall University.   The League’s goals are to assist and support wherever possible the faculty of Seton Hall, to promote the scholastic and social efforts of the student body and to stimulate and advance the spiritual, educational and development of its members.  One of the League’s first initiatives was the restoration of The Immaculate Conception Chapel.  The League is still active today.

South Orange and Seton Hall – Local Research Ties

Seton Hall has enjoyed a historical relationship with the Village of South Orange since the school established their campus within its boundaries after moving from nearby Madison in 1860.  The original land which constitutes the present-day South Orange was purchased by Robert Treat (also acknowledged as the founder of Newark) from officials of the Lenni Lenape tribe around 1666. This led to official settlement by the Brown brothers (Joseph and Thomas) who built a farmstead along the present-day South Orange Avenue by 1680 that ultimately set the stage for the development of Setonia in due course.

Over the next few centuries this area experienced steady development in terms of a resort town during the 1800s and subsequent year-round residential growth.  This was in large measure made possible when South Orange became a transportation hub for the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad as of 1869 when the area was also incorporated as South Orange Township (that originally contained present-day Maplewood before this municipality became independent) and made for a prime destination that appealed to commuters, visitors, and students from across the metropolitan area.  South Orange is also known for its distinctive gas light posts and these illuminations served a symbolic and practical purpose for both hometown citizens and those affiliated with the college.  These milestones and others have led to many joint landmarks and project building initiatives over time.

Beyond this brief overview of local history, there are many layers of research potential that bond “town and gown” together including prominent individuals, property data, shared events, and many other topics of note.  Specific examples of collections found within our repository include, but are not limited to various files related to past University Presidents, Velotto South Orange Postcard Collection, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish files, and many other examples found through our Rare Book and various manuscript-based holdings.  More information and leads can be found via our homepage-based search engine – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?q[]=south+orange&op[]=&field[]=keyword&from_year[]=&to_year[]=&filter_fields[]=repository&filter_values[]=%2Frepositories%2F2

Along with our own resource base and work in preserving historical school records within the context of the town has been a constant.  Research tools of various types are available within the University Libraries and through its book catalog, databases, and different electronic-based sites.  Specialized connections have also been made with the South Orange Public Library, South Orange Historical Preservation Society, and other organizations and individuals around the area have provided valuable research connections over the years Further details can be located within a specially created Library Reference Guide devoted to South Orange resources found within the following link – https://library.shu.edu/south-orange

For more information on resources related to Seton Hall, South Orange, and other aspects of local history please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist via e-mail at: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or by phone: (973) 275-2378.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Visit

Calligraphy Creation
China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Members
Jeanne Brasile, Peiliang Zheng, and Greg Stevens with the finished calligraphy
Jeanne Brasile, Peiliang Zheng, and Greg Stevens

A 17-member Chinese delegation from the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles organized by the Triway International Group of Falls Church, Virginia visited the Walsh Gallery on November 5 and 7, 2018. They viewed the two solo exhibitions on display in the gallery, David Freund’s Gas Stop: Culture and Tom McGlynn’s Standards, and then heard presentations on relevant museum topics, specifically the changing roles of museums and curators, by Gallery Director, Jeanne Brasile, and chair of the Museum Professions graduate program, Greg Stevens. During the visit, Mr. Peiliang Zheng, the Deputy Director of the Professional Commission of Calligraphy and Art Center, created a piece of calligraphy that is now in the Seton Hall University Permanent Collection and hung in the Walsh Library’s Chinese Corner.

For more information about the visit, check out this article.

Chinese Corner Chinese New Year Celebration
Chinese New Year Celebration in the Chinese Corner

 

 

 

Object of the Month – Nazi Era Star of David

Nazi Era Star of David Patch 4” x 4” 2018.05.0001 Gift in Honor of the Jeifa Family

During World War II, German forces occupied parts of France from 1940 until 1944. Starting in June 1942, it was required that people of Jewish descent wear the six-pointed Star of David – a common symbol of Judaism—to signify their heritage. “Juif,” the French word for “Jew,” is written in Hebraic-style lettering. This star belonged to Michel Jeifa of Paris who was sent to southern France and hidden by a Christian family in 1942 at age 16. He and his sister survived the Holocaust, while their parents lost their lives at Auschwitz concentration camp.

This patch is part of the Jeifa Family Collection and was donated in honor of the Jeifa Family.

John C.H. Wu Papers Open to the Research Community

The Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to announce the opening of the John C.H. Wu Papers for access to our research community through the generosity of John and Theresa Wu and the entire Wu family.  Dr. Wu was a scholar, author, and jurist who spent several years as a member of the Seton Hall faculty who made significant contributions to the studies of law, philosophy, religious studies, and other subject areas during the course of his lifetime which are reflected in part through the original manuscripts, printed works, photographs, notebooks, sketch books, subject files, and other materials that represent the intellectual life of Dr. Wu.

Counted among the highlights from the work of scholar, author, and jurist include the following highlights from his educational and professional life.  John Ching Hsiung (C.H.) Wu (Chinese – Wu Jingxiong, 吳經熊) was on March 28, 1899, in the city of Ningbo, Jiangsu Province. His early education focused primarily on the teachings of Confucius along with the study of Daoism, Buddhism, and notable poets of ancient China. At age fifteen, Wu entered a local junior college, where he was exposed to the field of physics which he continued to study at the Baptist College of Shanghai. A change of educational path occurred during the spring of 1917 when Wu began studying law and transferred to the Comparative Law School of China.  Wu completed his degree by the fall of 1920 and subsequently attended the University of Michigan Law School for post-graduate work and earned his JD in 1921. From here he began writing articles that largely compared the legal traditions of China and the Western World. In May 1921, Wu earned a fellowship from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which enabled him to study at the Sorbonne and Berlin University prior to his return to the United States where he became a research fellow at Harvard Law School in 1923.

Page of an unpublished manuscript –
“Philosophical Foundation of the Old and New Legal System of China” by Dr. John Wu

During the mid-1920s, Wu moved back to China and settled in Shanghai where he began teaching at the Comparative Law School of China, and helped to co-found the China Law Review. During the World War II years, Wu became a writer for the cause of Chinese freedom and re-located to Hong Kong and was enlisted by Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek in 1942 to translate the Christian Book of Psalms and the entire New Testament into Chinese. In the spring of 1945, Wu attended the inaugural United Nations conference in San Francisco as an adviser to the Chinese Delegation and also became lead author of the Nationalist Constitution that same year. He also helped to work on their Charter and by the end of the year he was appointed the Chinese delegate to the Vatican which took effect on February 16, 1947 and lasted through 1949.

         

Upon leaving China, Wu became the Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawaii in 1949 where he also wrote his autobiography entitled – Beyond East and West (New York: Sheed and Ward and Taipei: Mei Ya Publications, 1951). After his tenure in Hawaii, Wu began teaching legal studies at Seton Hall University and helped in the founding of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies during the 1951 academic year and remained a member of the faculty until his retirement in 1967.  His legacy survives through regular interest in the scholarship that has been left behind for present and future scholars to discover.

This collection is available for study by appointment and more information about what is featured within the John C.H. Wu Papers can be found via the following link –

https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/402

For more information on this collection and to schedule a day and time to visit please contact the Archives & Special Collections Center via e-mail: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 761-9476

Object of the Month – Benito Mussolini Ethiopian War Speech Scarf

Benito Mussolini Ethiopian War Speech Scarf, 38 ½” x 35”, 2018.06.0002

 

 

 

 

 

 

This silk scarf commemorates three speeches presented during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War by Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini (b. 1883 – d. 1945). In the speeches, Mussolini compares the burgeoning Italian Empire with Ancient Rome. The speech from October 2, 1934 (left) announces the war with Ethiopia, the one from May 9, 1936 (center) declares Ethiopia’s annexation, and the one from May 5, 1936 (right) proclaims the occupation of Addis Ababa by Italian troops. These Italian actions were significant in the events leading up to World War II as Italy directly violated agreements with the League of Nations, of which both Italy and Ethiopia were members.

This scarf is part of the Valente Collection and was donated by Ruth Bystrom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. Constitution – University Libraries Resources

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

U.S. Constitution – Archives & Special Collections Resources

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

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