BRINGING HISTORY TO LIFE!

image of students viewing artifact

Students in Dr. Laura Wangerin's "VIKINGS!" class discuss a replica of the Gundestrup Cauldron from the university's collections

This semester, students experienced history first-hand through object-based learning (OBL), an approach that adds value to classroom studies. In OBL, students learn via engaging in conversation and discourse using artworks, artifacts, archival materials, or digital representations of unique objects as catalysts to foster a sense of wonder, awe and curiosity. Object-based learning prioritizes critical thinking inspired by close observation to connect objects to concepts learned in the classroom.

Dr. Laura Wangerin’s “VIKINGS!” class visited the Archives and Special Collections recently to view the university’s replicas of the Gundestrup Cauldron and Book of Kells in a conversation guided by the student’s thoughts, questions and observations – relating the imagery back to what was learned through readings and coursework.  Students were taken by the scale of the work, the construction of the cauldron, and the high relief imagery which is visible 360 degrees around. Engaging objects via the senses connects students to the past while making connections to the present. Objects are powerful tools for learning, especially when students realize they are standing in the presence of an object made by people or cultures from long ago. In this sense, objects can become almost like time machines, bringing us back to pivotal moments in human or natural history.

image of a rare book

Noticias Summarias das Perseguições da missam de Cochinchina, principiada, & continuada pelos Padres da Companhia de Jesu. (OCLC #: 16077971)

In Dr. Kirsten Schultz’s course “Religion and Society in Early Latin America” students visited to see rare books published around the time of the Counter-Reformation to enhance their understanding and appreciation of the issues at stake as they discussed the role of the Church in colonial society.   Conversation centered on the adventencia pages of the “Noticias Summarias,” which served as an agreement that the book could be published. The volume is an important account of the Portuguese mission in Cochinchina and Tonkin, today’s Vietnam.

The Walsh Gallery and Archives and Special Collections care for the university’s various collections and make them available for study, research, exhibitions and related programs. Objects include materials from world cultures and span from the neolithic era to the present. Highlights of the collection include Byzantine and Greco-Roman coins and artifacts; Native American basketry, ceramics and beaded crafts along with tools and leather goods; Japanese toys and 19th century woodblock prints; 3,000-year-old Chinese ceramics and metalwork; contemporary Chinese art; 17th and 18th century European engravings; and documents dating to the founding of the Newark Diocese and Seton Hall College. There are also significant collections from New Jersey politicians such as Brendan Byrne – the state’s 47th governor and Donald M. Payne, New Jersey’s U.S. representative who served the 10th congressional district from 1989 until his death in 2012.

A portion of the university’s collections can be viewed on Google Arts and Culture and you can view scholar Dr. Caterina Agostini’s recent digital exhibition, “Currency Culture” which uses coins from the Ron D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities to discuss notions of power and politics as conveyed on minted coins from the Byzantine and Roman Empires.

Dr. Caterina Agostini presents her research on coinage
Dr. Caterina Agostini, D’Argenio Fellow at Seton Hall University presents her research on the university’s collection of coins to students in the Italian Studies Program.

Those interested in viewing the Gundestrup Cauldron can view it through the end of the semester on the first floor of the Walsh Library in the display windows outside the Archives and Special Collections. If you would like to make an appointment to use the collections for research, class visits or other scholarly pursuits, please contact us.  We would love to hear about your projects and how we can work together to illustrate your ideas!

______

The Walsh Gallery has a considerable collection of fine art, artifacts and archeological specimens for use by faculty, students and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, contact us at 973-275-2033 or walshgallery@shu.edu to make a research appointment. Now on view in the Walsh Gallery:  Seton Hall Re/Collects through Friday, December 9th. The gallery is located on the 1st floor of the Walsh Library and is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Groups of 8 or more must make an appointment prior to visiting. 


	

Scary Stories from the Rare Book Collections

Get into the Halloween spirit with these spooky tales from Seton Hall’s rare book collections!  They come from the book Ancient Legends of Ireland, written by Lady Wilde (mother of Oscar Wilde!), which we hold in our collections, and is currently on display in Walsh Gallery.  You can read the entire book online at the Internet Archive.

Happy Halloween!

 

With thanks to the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center for filming and editing.

New Collections Available to Scholars in the SHU Archives

One year ago, Seton Hall’s Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center received two grants: one to process the papers of New Jersey politicians, and one to process the papers of Irish fraternal organizations.  Apprentice archivists were hired and trained by Seton Hall staff, and they got to work organizing boxes of material, deciphering handwriting, and creating custom archival boxes for obsolete media such as LPs and Super-8 videos.

The results are now ready for scholars:

MSS 132 Papers of Arthur A. Quinn, early 20th century labor leader

MSS 003 Papers of Richard Hughes, the first Catholic governor of New Jersey

MSS 002 Papers of Bernard Shanley, Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower

MSS 0135 John Concannon Collection, National Historian of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians

MSS 0145 James MacFarland Collection, past president of the AOH New Jersey State Board

MSS 0146 AOH New Jersey Collection, materials documenting Irish American life sourced from the AOH New Jersey

MSS 0147 Knights of Columbus / Catholic Daughters of the Americas Collection, materials from these fraternal organizations

MSS 0148 James Comerford Papers, papers of a New York City judge who spent time as a volunteer in the IRA

MSS 0150 Gloria Schneider Papers, papers which document the donor’s involvement in numerous Catholic organizations in Northern New Jersey

The archives encourage those interested in these newly available materials to make an appointment to see them in the reading room.  We look forward to seeing scholars use these collections to enrich our understanding of history!

PETROGLYPH FEATURED IN TRAVELING EXHIBITION

On the second floor of the Walsh Library is a rare petroglyph – a prehistoric rock carving – made between 3000-1000 B.C.E. The petroglyph generates numerous research requests each year due to its unique nature. One of those requests was made by the National Scenic Visitors Center/Earthwalk USA of Zionsville, Pennsylvania for their Earthwalk Explorer multi-media interactive exhibition.  They requested a visit to the petroglyph to do a 3D scan which was written about in a previous blog post roughly two years ago.

petroglyph being scanned
the petroglyph being 3D scanned in preparation of the replica

This traveling exhibit pairs maps, topography, history, culture, written and spoken language and storytelling in an immersive experience that projects videos onto a topographical map of the East Coast of the United States.  The looped video begins by revealing the original Lenni Lenape trails that eventually became the highways and busy roads we use today; facets of Lenape history and culture, and other fascinating information about the region’s forests, parks and borders.  The National Scenic Visitors Center worked closely with Chief Demund of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania who offered this blessing which opens the video program:

“Grandfather, sacred and holy father, you whose breath we hear in the four winds. I say thank you for the wingeds, the four leggeds, the fish people, the creepy crawlers, the plants, the trees, the grandfathers.   I say thank you for the breath of life and for all my relations.”

                                                             – Chief Demund, Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania

Adjacent to the exhibit is an activity area featuring a reproduction of the petroglyph. Visitors learn about the glyphs – their conjectured meaning, what they depict and how the words are pronounced in Lenape. The project relied on the Lenape Talking Dictionary for some of the interpretations. Professor Sean Harvey of Seton Hall University discussed the petroglyph’s significance in a video produced last year for Native American Heritage Month.

The petroglyph was located on Rudyard Jennings’ property along the Delaware River in Walpack Township, New Jersey until 1968 when it was moved to Seton Hall University by Herbert Kraft, a field archaeologist specializing in Lenni Lenape people and culture.  Kraft was also a renowned professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at the university.  At the time of the move, Kraft sought to preserve the petroglyph which was at risk due to a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to dam the river which would have flooded the area: submerging the petroglyph. Plans to build the Tocks Island Dam were never realized, but the petroglyph had already been moved by the time the project was abandoned.  The petroglyph is the only one discovered along the Delaware River, making it a unique resource that offers tantalizing glimpses into the life and values of the Lenni Lenape people.

Earthwalk Explorer
Jeanne Brasile, Gallery Director poses with staff from Earthwalk Explorer

Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile recently visited the Earthwalk Explorer which is on view at Northampton Community College in Easton, Pennsylvania to see how the petroglyph was integrated into the exhibit and interpreted for visitors.  Brasile met with Mary Ellen Snyder, Executive Director of the National Scenic Visitors Center and Amy Hollander, Strategic Consultant at Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor who developed the educational programs and much of the content.  Joining them were two student docents, Alexander Almonte and Alejandro Zuniga who enthusiastically and expertly guided the experience for visitors.  Almonte described how his interest in GIS (a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface) and geography drew him to this work but the exhibit also stirred more of a connection to his own lineage which is partly indigenous Peruvian on his mother’s side.  The exhibition uses the concept of geography and topography as a jumping off point for discourse on issues such as colonialism, land stewardship, respect and migratory patterns.

image of 3D map
walking the 3D map

_______________

Activity area features Lenape glyphs and language
Activity area features Lenape glyphs and language

The Walsh Gallery has a considerable collection of fine art, artifacts and archeological specimens for use by faculty, students and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, contact us at 973-275-2033 or walshgallery@shu.edu to make a research appointment. 

Walsh Gallery Receives Donation of African Art and Artifacts

Donor Richard Stern (L) and Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile (R) with some of the African sculptures donated to Seton Hall University

Retired Seton Hall University Librarian and Assistant Professor, Richard E. Stern recently donated a significant collection of African art and artifacts to the University. Stern acquired the objects when he was a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Liberia from 1969 to 1970. The donation includes more than sixty-five pieces of cloth – some hand-dyed by Stern – using traditional methods and natural materials such as indigo and cola nuts. Many pieces were hand-woven, including a small selection of Kente cloth from Ghana. Other hand-crafted objects include wooden masks and sculptures, cast metal figurines and beaded necklaces. “This donation is significant for Seton Hall University. The objects illuminate world cultures and artistic traditions unique to West Africa, while embodying the donor’s personal relationships to the people he met and places he traveled during his Peace Corps service. Stern’s personal recollections about the objects and the people connected with them are being preserved, providing a crucial layer of context for the collection. We could not be more appreciative.” stated Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile.

The collection amplifies the university’s Diversity Initiatives which celebrate a rich tapestry of global ideas and perspectives. Stern’s generous donation will expand Seton Hall’s collections overall, while augmenting existing collections of African art and artifacts including sculptures, paintings, photographs and prints. Presently, Collections Manager Laura Hapke is preparing the objects for exhibition by cataloguing each item and creating a safe storage environment for each, thereby ensuring access to this unique collection for generations of students, faculty, researchers and scholars.

Collections Manager Laura Hapke documenting Kente cloth donated by Richard Stern

The Walsh Gallery cares for and interprets Seton Hall University’s collections of material culture. In addition to the African art and artifacts the university collections include The Wang Fangyu Collection of Asian Art which spans over 3,500 years of cultural traditions from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, India and Vietnam; The Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology which includes objects from North American cultures including the Leni Lenape, Paiute, Zuni, Pomo and Tlingit peoples as well as objects from South America, Asia and Europe; and The D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities which includes coins from ancient Etruscan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures.   Appointments to see the collections can be made by completing this form. A sampling of our collections can be viewed on Google Arts and Culture.   The Walsh Gallery is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday—Friday and is located on the first floor of the Walsh Library.  The gallery is free and open to the public.

Cloth vendor in Liberia – image courtesy of Richard Stern from his personal collection

 

Pathmakers in New Jersey Politics

exhibit walls behind glass
Pathbreakers in New Jersey Politics on display on the first floor of Walsh Library

Seton Hall cares for fourteen archival collections documenting the careers of New Jersey politicians, illustrating the evolution of this state since its founding in 1787.  In 2021, the National Archives awarded Seton Hall a federal grant to process five of these collections: the papers of Arthur A. Quinn, early twentieth-century pioneer in labor activism, the papers of Bernard Shanley, Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower, Governors Richard Hughes and Brendan Byrne, and first Black Congressman from New Jersey Donald Payne.  After processing, these unique materials will be available to the public, enriching our understanding of the state we live in and the many people who worked to make it better.

Exhibit case featuring photos, writings, inscribed book, political buttons and bound copy of Shanley diary
Exhibit case featuring photos, writings, inscribed book, political buttons and bound copy of Shanley diary

The exhibit includes photographs of these politicians, excerpts from their writings, political buttons issued by their campaigns, and most exciting: the daily diary kept by Bernard Shanley when he was Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower.  The archives has a full copy of the diary now available to researchers, in addition to the bound copy on display.

painting of trees along a riverside, with sun glinting off the water
Edwin Havas
Along the Delaware
35 1/2” x 47 1/2”
oil on canvas
Date Unknown
2011.29.0001
Seton Hall University Permanent Collection

This exhibit is currently on display in the Archives Reading Room and may be viewed when the library is open.  Hanging next to the hallway exhibit is a landscape by Seton Hall professor Edwin Havas, titled “Along the Delaware,” providing a contrast of the natural landscape in which all this political debate took place.

Special Collections and the Gallery acknowledge the support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, which generously provided funding for the archival work which made this exhibit possible.

closeup of exhibit text and acknowledgement
Acknowledgement to the National Historic Publications and Records Commission for its support.

Walsh Gallery Exhibits Objects from Seton Hall’s History “Out of the Vault” January 31 – May 13, 2022

painting of African American pregnant Mary
Deborah McDuff Williams
“Remember Me” (detail)
acrylic on canvas
1997

The Walsh Gallery presents “Out of the Vault,” an exhibition of objects that illuminate important moments in Seton Hall’s history.  The exhibition situates the viewer with the founding of Seton Hall College in 1856 by James Roosevelt Bayley, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Newark and nephew of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton – the first American born saint and the university’s namesake.  The exhibition then jumps 75 years to Seton Hall’s Diamond Jubilee Anniversary in 1931.  Objects from this period include a gold embroidered brocade vestment, historic commencement photographs, and a hand-written inscription from President McLaughlin to Bishop Walsh written on a yearbook page.  “Out of the Vault” also explores the 700th Anniversary of poet Dante Alighieri’s birth in 1961 with paintings by Professor of Art Anthony Triano, engravings by William Blake and a rare text of Dante’s “La Vita Nuova” translated by celebrated artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

image of Walsh Gallery's current exhibit
Out of the Vault at Walsh Gallery

The Walsh Gallery and Department of Archives and Special Collections care for and interpret the objects in the university’s collections.  This exhibition is one of the many ways the departments preserve the university’s history via material culture and research.  Other collections include The Wang Fangyu Collection of Asian Art which includes objects spanning over 3,500 years from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, India and Vietnam; The Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology which includes objects from North American cultures including the Leni Lenape, Paiute, Zuni, Pomo and Tlingit peoples as well as objects from South American, Asian, European and African cultures; and The D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities which includes coins from ancient Etruscan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures.   The collections are available to students, faculty and scholars for research and scholarly purposes.  Appointments to see the collections can be made by completing this form or a portion of our collections can be viewed on Google Arts and Culture

The Walsh Gallery is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday—Friday.

Get to Know the Library Staff! Brianna LoSardo

Headshot of Brianna LoSardoBrianna LoSardo is the Archivist of the Archdiocese of Newark, responsible for maintaining the collections of the Archdiocese and helping researchers working with the collections.  Brianna got her start at Seton Hall, and in this role she still works closely with the Archives and Walsh Gallery team, as well as faculty researchers.  These amazing collections are some of the oldest and most interesting materials at Seton Hall, including the records of Bishop Bayley, founder of Seton Hall, and many unique vestments and artifacts in addition to paper records. 

1. How long have you been working at the library?
7 years total, 2 in my current position


2. What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I could not put it down!


3. What are you watching these days?
Great British Baking Show


4. Print book or ebook?
Ebook


5. What superpower would you want?
The ability to teleport.


6. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl

The UNA-USA Collection at Seton Hall

The Monsignor Field Archives and Special Collections Center is the official repository for the records of the national organization that supports the United Nations, UNA-USA.

Over the past year, a student at New York University’s Archives and Public History Program, Quin de la Rosa, has been working to process the collection – organizing the contents and creating a detailed finding aid that will allow researchers from around the country to discover what materials are held here.  The collection contains records from all the chapters around the country and the records of the activities of the organization itself.

 

Luers and Kofi Annan sitting on a couch
Meeting between Kofi Annan and Bill Luers (left), February 17, 1999

Since the United States has been a strong supporter of the United Nations, the UNA-USA received significant attention from U.N. leadership, as this photograph, showing Kofi Annan, who had just been inaugurated as Secretary-General of the United Nations, meeting with UNA-USA President Bill Luers, on Feburary 17, 1999 (MSS 52, Records of the UNA-USA, Box 28, Folder 35).

Winter Holidays Across Cultures

The dark days of December are punctuated by the celebration of religious and cultural holidays, and festivals worldwide. At Seton Hall University there are a many ways to celebrate throughout this month. One of our most anticipated traditions is the annual Christmas tree lighting which takes place this year at 6pm on Monday, December 6th on the University Green. Christmas at The Hall includes concerts, charitable events, a cabaret and trips to Christmas markets. Check the calendar of events to see how you can participate.

Engraving of angels
The Life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Virgin Mary
New York: 1879, Benziger Brothers,

The image to the left depicts the birth of Christ, celebrated each at Christmas.

This time of year is when Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated. The Jewish holiday commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire the 2nd century BCE. This year Hanukkah is celebrated November 28th through December 6th. The hanukkiah, depicted to the right, is lit nightly to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah.

hanukkiah at the Western Wall
Postcard – Hanukkiah (menorah) by the Western Wall
MSS0016, Box 1, Folder 34 – Sister Rose Thering Papers

The ninth candle is known as the shamash, or helper candle, since it is used to light the other eight candles.  The laws of the holiday forbid using the light of the hanukkiah for practical purposes, reserving it to celebrate the miracle.

Geeta Jayanti, the birthday of Bhagavad Gita, the sacred text of the Hindus, is celebrated this year on December 14th. It is a major festival that commemorates the preaching of Gita to Arjuna, a young warrior, and Krishna, a god acting as Arjuna’s charioteer. The image above depicts Arjuna’s moment of doubt about his role in the impending battle against adversaries who are also his cousins.

illustration of Hindu dieties
Elements of Mythology
Philadelphia: 1830, C. Sherman and Co. Printers

The festival is celebrated mainly in Kurukshetra, Haryana, India – a pilgrimage site believed to be the place where Krishna recited Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. Sadhus (holy men), pilgrims from across the country, and many foreigners visit Kurukshetra for Gita Jayanti.

Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration of African American culture is observed annually from December 26 through January 1. The name Kwanzaa is taken from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning first fruits. Each evening during Kwanzaa, a candle is lit on the kinara, a traditional candleholder, to honor seven principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). The English-Swahili phrasebook below is open to a page with the translations for many foods that might be eaten during this time.

Image of the English to Swahili book from the Father Raúl Comesañas Papers Collection MSS-0130
Father Raúl Comesañas Papers Collection MSS-0130

While this blog post is not exhaustive in scope, it is indicative of the diverse fabric of the community in which Seton Hall University resides as well as the rich heritage of our students, faculty and staff. The images above are but a small sampling of the variety of cultures, traditions and religions represented in the collections cared for by the Walsh Gallery and Special Collections at Seton Hall University. Students, faculty and researchers may make appointments to view materials. For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476