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.  On May 25th,1970 the DHEW issued a special directive from the pen of J. Stanley Pottinger, Director, Office of Civil Rights featuring the subject line: “Identification of Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of National Origin.”  This document cites a number of principles that confirm fairness in educational circles as the DHEW was looking at: “School Districts With More Than Five Percent National Origin-Minority Group children” in particular.

Copy of the DHEW Document from May 25, 1970

The content found here is based in specific measure on the broader Civil Rights Act of 1964 which highlights the importance that under federal law: “ . . . there will be no discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in the operation of any federally assisted programs.”  This document also centers in on the Latino community in particular and respecting their linguistic tradition while also providing opportunities for training in English and other vernacular alternatives.  Additional support is offered to those from abroad who wanted to take advantage of the American school system. “Title VI compliance reviews conducted in school districts with large Spanish-surnamed student populations by the Office for Civil Rights have revealed a number of common practices which have the effect of denying equality of educational opportunity to Spanish-surnamed pupils.”

Further details within this particular directive as per the aforementioned Title VI compliance obligations are outlined in the following manner . . .

  1. Where inability to speak and understand the English language excludes national origin-minority group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students.
  2. School districts must not assign national origin and minority group students to classes for the mentally retarded on the basis of criteria which essentially measure or evaluate English language skills; nor may school districts deny national origin-minority group children access to college preparatory courses on a basis directly related to the failure of the school system to inculcate English language skills.
  3. Any ability grouping or tracking system employed by the school system to deal with the special language skill needs of national origin-minority group children must be designed to meet such language skill needs as soon as possible and must not operate as an educational dead-end or permanent track.
  4. School districts have the responsibility to adequately notify national origin-minority group parents of school activities which are called to the attention of other parents. Such notice in order to be adequate may have to be provided in a language other than English.

The goal of this document was not only to outline the requirements for equality, but also to provide aid to those in need along with striving to achieve compliance in line with federal law.  Additionally, all grade levels benefitted from this renewed attention to linguistic-based instruction objectives.

The value of exposure to Spanish-language instruction and resources aids the perpetuation of this essential means of communication.  Since the United States overall and New Jersey in particular has a sizeable Latino community this has added importance and value to the need to preserve established vernaculars and the facilities to learn others.  Seton Hall proper has played host to students from the 1850s to the present and experience with Spanish-speaking pupils from its earliest days and in the process set a beneficial precedent.

Classroom instruction began in earnest during the 1897-98 academic year when Spanish was first offered as a credit-bearing option for the Seton Hall College student.  However this was facilitated on an ad hoc, elective basis at first as classes in Spanish (and Italian) were run only when the course had an adequate number of students register per term.  The pedagogical approach was logical in content as the following pattern included the following instruction schedule by class level:

  • Freshman Class. Study of Grammar.    Reading of simple prose works.  Exercises in prose composition and conversation.
  • Sophomore Class. Advanced reading in prose and poetry.  Exercises in prose composition and conversation.
  • Junior Class. Reading of more difficult classics.  Exercises in prose composition and conversation.
  • Senior Class. Reading and literary study of masterpieces of prose and poetry.  Exercises in prose composition and conversation.  Second term: Reading of scientific works and articles: reading of German periodicals.
Seton Hall College Catalog(ue), c. 1900s

Spanish was an optional Modern Language-centered selection well into the next century.  By the 1920s, standard entrance requirements for an incoming student to Seton Hall included two units of a foreign language along with three in English which provided a starter background for post-secondary study.

During the late 1930s, the Modern Language requirement became an official part of the core curriculum at Seton Hall.  A total of six credit hours were needed to graduate regardless of major and by 1942 a major in Spanish (or another Modern Language such as French, German, or Italian for instance) was approved by the college academic board in time for those attending school during the early stages of World War II.  This required the student to take six elementary, three intermediate, and three advanced credits in order to fulfill all unit obligations for the program.  In order to enhance the student experience and properly plan for learning Spanish in an orderly fashion.  This was true especially for those who had no history of Spanish training at the secondary level as freshman would have to take elementary courses in order to keep pace with their peers. This individual also had to register as a major in Modern Language by the end of their frosh year and no later than reaching sophomore status and maintain an 80% grade point average within their major throughout their time in the classroom.

When it came to individual class details, each course carried six credits.  The register of classes that was in place during the mid-century included the following sequence:

  • Elementary Spanish. Fundamentals of Spanish grammar with special emphasis on reading Drill in writing and speaking is part of the course.
  • Intermediate Spanish. Rapid review of the fundamentals of grammar.  Emphasis upon reading and composition increases in importance through the course. An increasing use of Spanish as the language of the class.
  • Advanced Spanish. Review of Spanish grammar with emphasis upon reading and upon composition.  The reading in this class is such as to acquaint the student with the Hispanic-American countries, their peoples, their sociology and their economics.
  • Spanish Composition. Review of advanced Spanish grammar and syntax through composition and exercises.  Elementary ideas of stylistics.
  • Oral Spanish. The pronunciation and intonation of Spanish taught through readings, recitations and original work.
  • Trends in Spanish Literature. A survey of currents and their development in the literature of Spanish Readings, reports and lectures.
  • Hispanic-American Literature. A survey of the main currents and backgrounds of Hispanic-American literature.  Lectures, readings, discussions and reports.  The secondary aim of this course is the understanding and appreciation of the South American peoples.
  • Modernistic Movement. Readings, discussion and term papers concerning this important movement in Hispanic-American letters.  Influence of French schools and development of poetic autonomy.
  • Novel in Hispanic America. Development of this, the most typical and indigenous form of Hispanic-American literature.  Lectures, reports, collateral reading and term papers.

By the late 1940s-early 1950s with the large influx of World War II veterans, each of the aforementioned class choices had two sections apiece and were joined by the following course:

  • Hispanic-American Literature I and II. A survey of the main currents and backgrounds of Hispanic-American literature.  Lectures, readings, discussions and reports.  The secondary aim of this course is the understanding and appreciation of South American peoples.

Along with the curricular status quo, by the mid-1950s, the Department of Modern Languages added the personal preference for a minor in this field of study for another language or those who were enrolled in a totally different major altogether.  The Seton Hall University Bulletin for 1955-56 noted that those striving for their Bachelor of Arts Degree could embark on the following plan:  “On the undergraduate level, it strives to develop in the general student the ability to use the language of his choice as a means of written and oral communication, and to read professional and commercial literature in other fields.”  This was also highlighted by the introduction of the following specialized class offerings . . .

  • Classical Spanish Literature and Culture I and II. A student and interpretation of the cultural life and literature of Spain; the history of the country; characteristics and epochs of Spanish literature: the Golden Age, the theatre, the novel; the fine arts.
  • Modern Hispanic Literature and Culture I and II. A study and interpretation of Hispanic thought and ideas; Spain and the New World; characteristics of Spanish Romanticism; the novel, contemporary Hispanic music and art, . . . and literature.

A decade prior to the introduction of the DHEW document, Seton Hall continued to have a strong Modern Languages program with many undergraduates availing themselves of this course of study.  A specialized Language Laboratory was constructed during the early 1960s which allowed students the opportunity to test their oral competency in the vernacular(s) being study along with various study aids to help sharpen and hone skills.  Added to the program description is the following addendum that profiled the seriousness applied to the work being undertaken by the Department of Modern Languages on behalf of the student experience: “Subsequent courses in the literature of the country stress the intensive reding and appreciation of the major literary masterpieces.”  In addition, three new course selections were added to the registration catalog during the mid-1960s and included: Spanish Literature of the Generation of 1898 I and II, Spanish Literature of the Golden Age I and II, and Advanced Spanish Composition and Conversation I and II.

Cover of the Seton Hall University Undergraduate Bulletin, 1970-71

Seton Hall was therefore in the vanguard when it came to endorsing and proliferating the rise of exposure and enrollment in Spanish-language classes while part of the campus-community on the dawn of the 1970s.  For example, the Class Outlines found in the Seton Hall University Bulletins published between 1970-72 in particular provides a well-detailed review of study options.  This included a minimal 30 credit completion level of Spanish-centered courses above the elementary level alone.  In addition, by this time a Master’s Level diploma could be attained in Spanish at Seton Hall.  Along with many of the aforementioned class descriptions another addition was the highest level course offered at the school to that date entitled the: “Language Seminar” in which the student explored the principles of literary criticism that also required a semester-ending term paper to complete.

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

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

The community need for Spanish language exposure was clearly evident from the dawn of the establishment of the Puerto Rican Institute (today known as the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute at Seton Hall University) during the mid-1970s.  For example, the Commemorative Program for the Institute held on October 17, 1974 in the Student Center, the guest speakers included those who dealt with dialectic issues on a regular basis for years including not only University President, Msgr. Thomas Fahy and first director of the Puerto Rican Institute, Ms. Milagros Collazo, but also a national perspective was added via Mr. Philip Garcia, Director of the Office for Spanish Surnamed Americans (Washington, D.C.) and the state represented by Mr. Diego Castellanos, Director of Bilingual Education for the New Jersey State Department of Education (Trenton) among others.

From this point, the Institute created a Center for Supportive Services.  The promotional literature for the era highlighted the following approach to the potential student.  “Have you ever needed help in understanding something?  Have you ever felt “lost”?  What can help me once I graduate, to find a job or to seek entry into a post-graduate program?  These are obviously many of the questions which plague many college students.  Because we also posted these questions, we offer the following services to students:

  1. Tutoring: Bilingual tutors are available to assist in drafting term papers, in completing other written and oral assignments, etc.
  2. Counseling: We provide individual and group counseling to students who wish assistance in working personal conflicts and in becoming more self aware.
  3. Academic Advisement: “Registration,” “add drop” “requisites”, etc. are terms which are very familiar to the weathered college students. Our office stands ready to assist you in selecting your courses, in meeting your general requirements and in extracting as much as possible from departmental offerings.
  4. Placement: Puerto Rican graduates of this University will be assisted in locating employment in their major areas. They will also be assisted in their pursuing post-graduate studies at this University or in obtaining another program of post-graduate studies in another university of their choice.

They can then utilize this knowledge in effect positive changes both on the island and mainland.  This Institute will also serve to provide educational and cultural services to the community.”  In addition, special courses that required at least some Spanish-language detail included Puerto Rican Literature, Introduction to Puerto Rican Culture, and the Peoples’ of Puerto Rico History Past and Present among others.

Within the 2020-21 Academic Calendar, each of these precedents from elementary to advanced level instruction has led to the creation of a Spanish major within the larger Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures program remain active under the banner of the College of Arts & Sciences.  Those who study the language also have the option of doing inter-disciplinary study with other programs within Latino/Latina Studies along with a dedicated focus upon bilingual/heritage speakers and those who would enter the world of business or diplomacy-based translation among others offered across campus.

Modern Language Homepage – Seton Hall University, 2020

https://www.shu.edu/academics/ba-modern-languages.cfm

In looking retrospectively at the 1970 document along with historical and subsequent Spanish-language works that cover dialectic development within the United States, but is varied applications and value.  The University Libraries – http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/results?vid=0&sid=a48ed579-f901-4566-be41-0709b6a4d8ba%40pdc-v-sessmgr04&bquery=spanish%2blanguage%2band%2bthe%2bunited%2bstates&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZ0eXBlPTAmc2VhcmNoTW9kZT1BbmQmc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d

Primary source materials on unique subjects including information on the historical development of the Modern Languages Department in general and the Spanish-language major in particular at Seton Hall University can be examined further via resources found in the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.  For more introductory resource leads please feel free to consult the following link for more details regarding Spanish-language resources in particular . . .

https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=spanish+language&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

Screenshot of Various Spanish-Language Resources found in the Archives & Special Collections Center, 2020

Additional data points on Spanish-themed resources and the overall scope of Central and South American life can be found within the following information page dedicated to this region and the overall Latino experience which is updated by Professor Lisa DeLuca, Professor Brooke Duffy, and Professor Lisa Rose-Wiles which provides relevant information leads along with other subject librarians in relation to the Seton Hall University community and general public alike . . .

Latin American Research Guide – University Libraries, 2020

Latin American Research Guide – https://library.shu.edu/latam

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 via the following link – https://www.shu.edu/latino-institute/ 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 e-mail: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or phone: (973) 275-2378.

Seton Hall Digital Mapping Project Launched

image of main digital mapping site
Landing page for the new site

Today a new digital map of Seton Hall was launched by Walsh Library.  This site allows users to create rich tours of sites at Seton Hall – or anywhere around the world – contextualizing the places with photographs, text, and even audio and video recordings.  The introductory tour  builds on an existing set of digitized historic postcards of South Orange and Seton Hall that resided in the Library’s e-Repository.  “The postcards were well digitized, and had very detailed, searchable data in the e-Repository.  But this format allows for a more interactive way for the community to explore the collection,” according to Sarah Ponichtera, Assistant Dean for Special Collections and the Gallery.

The project took shape when archives staff, along with the rest of the university, suddenly shifted to remote work in the spring and sought ways to connect the campus community with archival collections during this difficult period.  Technical Services Archivist Sheridan Sayles researched digital mapping products that might suit Seton Hall, and settled on Curatescape, an open-source product.  “Curatescape allows users to connect historic images of sites and objects with their location, essentially weaving in historical stories to the every day places we pass by.” according to Sayles.  Over the spring and summer, Sayles and Library Collection Developer Zachary Pelli worked to get the site installed and import the images and data from the e-Repository.  With the help of a remote intern from Southern Connecticut State University, Amanda Damon, they populated the site with 53 locations (called stories) that can be connected in tours, found using subject tags, and enriched over time as more content is integrated into the site.  Constructing the locations as stories allows for more flexibility – a particularly rich object, such as the stained glass windows in the Chapel, could be its own story even though it is still part of the Chapel location.  A story could even be built around a person with a long history on campus.

Site page for Stafford Hall
Page for Stafford Hall, one of 53 unique locations, or “stories” on the site.

The Library welcomes suggestions from the community for ways to develop and expand the site.  It may be suited for tours developed in courses, adapted to create a virtual tour of campus for those unable to visit in person, or become a center for alumni to contribute their memories of campus.  Due to its home in the Monsignor William Noe Field Archives, content contributed to the digital map will be preserved in the University Archives as part of the history of Seton Hall.  According to University Archivist Alan Delozier, “within this time of quarantine, the value of this initiative is all the more important for those who cannot visit the school grounds at present, but the long term value of this project will continue to attract attention from students, faculty, and other individual across campus along with external users alike.”

Seton Hall Archives Awarded Grant to Process Cuban-American Priest’s Collection

The William Noé Field Archives in Walsh Library at Seton Hall has been awarded a $9,400 grant from the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission to process the Father Raúl Comensañas Papers.

 

Black and white photograph of Raul Comesanas
Msgr. Raúl Comensañas

Father Comensañas served as a priest in Union City and the Hudson County area, where he was active in serving the Cuban exile community. His advocacy work—including a run for the House of Representatives— led local groups to connect exiles with immigration resources and edit Spanish language community newspapers.

 

Beyond telling the story of an extraordinary man, this collection documents the history of the growing Hispanic community in the Archdiocese of Newark. The collection includes correspondence from Father Raúl to his congregants, newspapers Father Raúl edited documenting issues facing the Newark Cuban-American community, and materials from the Republican party advocating for Hispanic issues in the early 1980s.

 

The grant covers supplies to rehouse the collection in archival-grade folders and boxes that will preserve the collection for future generations, and provides funds to hire an archival assistant to help SHU staff organize and describe the collection to prepare it for historians and members of the community to explore.

Image of Miami Cuban newspaper Rece
An issue of Rece, a Miami Cuban newspaper, one of many collected by Father Comensañas

The department hopes to make the collection available to the public by Summer 2021, and plans to make the finding aid for this collection the archives’ first bilingual finding aid, to make it equally available to Spanish-speaking researchers.  The materials are approximately 50% Spanish-language, and 50% English, and the department has found a bilingual student archivist to work with the collection.

 

The archives gratefully acknowledges the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission for its support of this important project, as well as the donor, Jo Welker for entrusting these materials to its care.

Object of the Month: Stained Glass Panel – Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

Franz Mayer of Munich
Stained Glass Panel – Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

lead and glass
21 1/5” x 12 1/5”
1903
2016.10.0002
Seton Hall University Archives and Special Collections

This stained glass window from the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Seton Hall University was one of six panels which were installed in 1903 when the main entrance was added to the building.  Previously there was a side entrance, which was customary at the time, and prevented wind gusts from traveling the length of the chapel in inclement weather. When building the shrine to Mother Seton around the time of her canonization in 1975, these stained glass panels were removed and replaced with the present windows showing the shields of the various orders of nuns that go back to Mother Seton.

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.

Louis Firth – First Graduate of Setonia

We are currently poised to celebrate the latest Seton Hall commencement in creative ways during this time of COVID-19, but even without a formal communal ceremony we are proud to honor the graduates of the Class of 2020 nonetheless.  We offer them congratulations, but also pause to remember several thousand others who received degrees from Seton Hall over the last few centuries.  In looking back at the history of school commencement exercises and alumni rolls, a common question often arises.  Have you ever wondered who was the first individual to receive a diploma from the Seton Hall?  The answer takes us back to 1862 when a young man by the name of Louis Firth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and became the first to set a trend that lasts to the present day.

When Louis Firth crossed the Hudson River to New Jersey from his New York City home to attend Seton Hall College as a freshman in 1857 he knew that a seven-year academic journey (Prep and College divisions were combined at this time) that a unique intellectual awakening awaited him.  What he experienced followed a set of prescribed and orderly goals that he and his fellow Setonians took to heart: “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.  No pupil will be received from another College without unexceptional testimonials, and none will be retained, whose manners and morals are not satisfactory.”

After graduation, Firth moved back to New York City and lived most of his life at West 37th Street in Manhattan as one of a growing number of alumni who remained in the metropolitan area. In an interview conducted during the early 20th century, Firth opened up to the local press about his days at Seton Hall and some of the memorable figures he encountered during his halcyon days on campus.

Early in the article the reporter noted that: “Mr. Firth who is hale and hearty and as active as a man twenty years his junior, paid a tribute to the work of the first president (Father Bernard McQuaid) when the college was at Madison, where he first saw him in 1857, and at South Orange when the college was established there.”  Of Reverend McQuaid, Firth marveled at his “vigor” and went on to recount that: “. . . this remarkable man had a wonderful influence over the boys at college . . . the holy and learned men with which he surrounded himself and taught us imparted the qualities which fit a man to live.  Character was formed at Seton Hall, because of the environment.”

Rev. Bernard J. McQuaid, President of Seton Hall College (1856-57 and 1859-68)

When it came to recollecting his graduation day, Firth colorfully illustrated the scene and his creativity in marking this historical day . . .

“The first commencement exercises were held on an improvised stage built under the trees just east of the present college buildings.  There were but a small number present, as South Orange was but a hamlet, and there were no cars to Newark.  Through a prank played by the boys a few nights before commencement day, I came very near not being the first graduate of the college.  It happened in this way: The college bell rang every morning at 4 o’clock, and the farmers for miles around roe by it.  One night we planned to ring it at 2 o’ clock instead, and after setting the college clock two hours fast, I was selected to pull the rope.  I did it, and hustled back to bed.  The college prefect, whose duty it was to ring the bell, appeared just then, looked at the clock and went about his early morning work, wondering all the while how the bell rung.  The farmers were awakened and started in to do a day’s work.  Needless to say, when the sun did not rise at the appointed time, watches were compared, and the faculty decided that a prank had been played.”   Needless to say that despite the “time change” Firth managed to make it to the ceremony and receive his honor due.  A full overview of the ceremony can be viewed below . . .

For more information on the 1862 academic year  and other early 19th century details featuring studies at Seton Hall please consult our Undergraduate Catalog(ue) links found via the Archives & Special Collections – eRepository site at – https://scholarship.shu.edu/archives/    We are also available to assist with information on commencement ceremonies along with other research questions concerning Seton Hall and we can be reached via e-mail at:  Archives@shu.edu

WSOU-FM – The First Air Date and Researching This Milestone

Contributed By  Jack Kelly, BA ‘66,  MMAS US Army Command and General Staff College, 1981

Anyone writing about Seton Hall student organizations history can access significant material in the Archives & Special Collections Center.  This is especially true with regard to the founding and first airing of radio station WSOU-FM, the first College operated FM station in New Jersey.  On April 14, WSOU celebrated its 72nd Anniversary.

Front Page of the March 5, 1948 Setonian proclaiming the creation of W-S-O-U FM

Among the archival items which provided the background and ensuing explanation of the WSOU founding were the Memoirs of Msgr. James F. Kelley ’24, the President of Seton Hall College.  The Memoirs have a section devoted to WSOU as a student run activity and can be coupled with important description of the events which took place from the inception and thought to the actual on-air event on April 14th, 1948.

As a new of enterprise, Seton Hall needed approval of the Board of Trustees and the then Archbishop of Newark, Thomas J.  Walsh for whom the Walsh gymnasium is named and the home of WSOU for its 72 year history. Msgr. Kelley described an exchange with U.S. President Harry Truman and his daughter Margaret, at which time a possible allocation of a station might be accomplished.  He merely had to educate and persuade the Board of Trustees.  In addition, the actual cost of the building of the station would be a significant amount of money, Msgr. Kelley finessed this by persuading several donors to finance the acquisition of the needed equipment, and through his many contacts, he even acquired a radio tower, which still stands today at the rear of the Walsh Gymnasium and Regan Athletic Center complex.

Cover Art of Early W-S-O-U FM Program Guide, c. 1948

Construction of the Seton Hall radio station actually began in January 1948, as reported in the Setonian, under the tutelage of Fr. (later Msgr.) Thomas J. Gillhooly ‘33 whom he had appointed the Director, in the previous December with a mission of actually getting station built.  Fr. Gillhooly organized the original staff of the station and with the help of several students, notably Thomas N. Parnham ‘50, who would remain the Chief Engineer until his death in 1994 and Victor J. Kemper ’50, later to become a noted cinema-photographer in Hollywood, the actual physical installation of the WSOU was accomplished in time to go on air as needed on April 14, even if the radio tower was not yet erected and a lower power output had to be used.

Studio Engineer “cues up” a record for broadcast within the W-S-O-U FM studio, c. late 1940s-early 1950s

The big day arrived on a Wednesday, and at 8:00 PM the first words were spoken by Fr. Gillhooly to start the event, with the Archbishop in attendance along with the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Ted Husing, a noted sports announcer of the time, and for whom the Press box in Walsh Gymnasium was subsequently dedicated.  Soon afterward the initial launch,  the “Voice of Seton Hall” would be on the air seven days a week, providing a variety of programs, including live performances, recorded music, the first nationality oriented programs and eventually remote broadcast of events such as Baseball and Basketball as well as community topics of interest in the New York Metropolitan area.

Various collections concerning WSOU-FM radio can be found via our Homepage at:  https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=wsou&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

Additional information about the history of WSOU-FM radio are welcome along with questions about existing resources can be found by contacting us via e-mail site at:  Archives@shu.edu


Reconnecting with Each Other in the Current Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life at Seton Hall as it has for millions of others around the country and the world.  In the name of saving lives by practicing social distancing, it has scattered us into our homes around the region and the country.  Although we are now physically distant from one another, we remain united as Setonians through our connection to Seton Hall.

Seton Hall commencement, 1885
Seton Hall Commencement, 1885

To reconnect as a community, we seek your stories of what this time has been like for you.  We have established a website to submit short personal narratives.  We hope that sharing these stories with one another will bring us back together in a new way, through sharing our personal experiences of this moment.  When we move forward, because there will be a time when we move forward, we plan to listen to these stories together as a community, reflect on what we have learned, and let them guide us into the future.

To participate, please record a 1-3 minute narrative about your experience, using any video or audio equipment available to you, and submit the file to our e-Repository.  Please also submit an image that represents your narrative, which will appear next to your recording in the published archive.

Questions to guide your response:

  • What is your day to day life like?  What would you want people in the future to know about what things are like for us now?
  • What has been most challenging about this time?  What do you miss about your life before the pandemic?  Are there specific places or things on campus that you miss?
  • Essential is a word we are hearing a lot right now.  What does essential mean to you?  Who is essential?  What are we learning about what is essential?
  • What is COVID-19 making possible that never existed before?  What good do you see coming out of this moment? How can we re-frame this moment as an opportunity?
  • What is it you want to remember about this time?  What have you learned?
  • After this pandemic ends, will things go back to the way they were?  What kinds of changes would you like to see? How will you contribute to rebuilding the world?  What will you do differently?

Choose the one that speaks to you, or address more than one if you wish.

With thanks to the scholars and librarians who came together to create this project: Professors Angela Kariotis Kotsonis, Sharon Ince, Marta Deyrup, Lisa DeLuca, and Alan Delozier, Technical Services Archivist Sheridan Sayles and Assistant Deans Elizabeth Leonard and Sarah Ponichtera.

Irish New Testament and the First President of Seton Hall

The connection between Seton Hall and its tradition of Irish influences is a relationship that has been strong from the beginning and has been intertwined in various ways into the present day.  Counted among the most tangible examples can be found in the Archives & Special Collections Center and specifically within our Irish Book holdings collection. Found is a unique text that features a 19th century Irish language version of the New Testament (Tiomna Nuadh) which has specific ties to Bernard J. McQuaid, the first President of Seton Hall College.

Title Page of Tiomna Nuadh, 1830

To provide context, this volume entitled: An Tiomna Nuadh ar dTíghearna agus ar Slánuightheora Iosa Criosd : air na tharruing go firinneach as an nGréigis ughdarach (English Variation: Holy Bible, New Testament) was published in 1830.  The work is presented in Irish Gaelic script typeface and this leather bound volume with panel stamping and tooling for this 386 tome separated in two column text was formally released by P.D. Hardy of Dublin.

This detailed version is actually a centuries old translation that received proof reading treatment by the Hibernian Bible Society prior to mass production. This society (originally known as the Dublin Bible Society was founded in Dublin in 1806 with a mission to promote the circulation and access to religious tracts.  It was founded by Rev. Benjamin Williams Mathias (1772-1841) who was part of the missionary evangelical movement in the Church of Ireland.  The original intent was to circulate scriptural texts in their original form without any commentary as evident when looking through the pages of this manuscript.

Example of text page from Tiomna Nuadh, 1830

The Tiomna Nuadh proper was translated by Uilliam O’Domhnuill (William Daniel O’Donnell) and edited by Earpug Thuam (Edward O’Reilly).  The lead on this project, O’Domhnuill whose life predated this work was a native of Kilkenny who was a clergyman and made history as the first appointed scholar and later one of the original elected fellows of Trinity College, Dublin during the 17th century.  His work here led to the creation of the translation above which was preceded by an earlier and less prolific published version from 1602.  O’Domhnuill followed this up with an Irish version of the Book of Common Prayer.  Along with his translation works, the most enduring legacy for O’Domhnuill came during his tenure as Archbishop of Tuam for the Church of Ireland (Anglican) from 1609 until his death in 1628.

In addition to the content, the 1830 tome is particularly special as it features a bookplate that our copy was originally donated by Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid (1823-1909) to the now defunct St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York which he had founded in 1893. The circuitous route of this book has found its way to our collection with strong connections to the original donor who was noted as a solid advocate of Catholic educational endeavors.  Upon ordination in 1848, McQuaid whose parents came from Tyrone and raised in nearby Powel’s Hook (now known as Jersey City) was a young priest who was first assigned a parish in Madison (the original home of Seton Hall) and later the first rector of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Newark for the Diocese of Newark of Newark when the See was established in 1853.

Father McQuaid was then assigned by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley as the first president of Seton Hall College upon its founding in 1856, and he also became the inaugural rector of the Seminary from 1860-62.  He left the school for two years, but came back for a second stint as chief executive at the college from 1859-67.  More introductory information on McQuaid can be found via the following link –  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09507b.htm or through various resources in our collection including his Presidential Papers – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/273

The Tiomna Nuadh is unique from many standpoints including its being in a vernacular aside from Latin so it could be read by those especially those who were literate in Irish. Today there appears to be under 30 library copies worldwide that possess this particular print volume along with our institution.  This book (Call Number BS2151 1830) can be referenced in our reading room upon request during business hours.  In addition, more information about more of our Irish-oriented resources can be found via our Irish Library Guide – https://library.shu.edu/Irish-studies

For more information about this topic or related subject matter please contact University Archivist and Irish Studies liaison Alan Delozier via e-mail: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu