The Presidency & Memory of John F. Kennedy, An Exhibit by Alexandra Jousset

Within the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center are a variety of valuable resources available to students and scholars alike. As a recent graduate of Seton Hall University with a major in history and minor in art history, interning in the archives proved to be one of the most engaging and educational experiences in my academic career. This experience resulted in my researching and organizing materials on President John F. Kennedy as well as his connection to Newark and more specifically Seton Hall in this exhibit.

White House invitation card, Mr. and Mrs. Seiji Ozawa

The exhibit on display this summer represents many materials pertaining to John F. Kennedy, including photographs, correspondence, books and campaign buttons. The first case illustrates President Kennedy’s career as a Senator as well as his campaign to Presidency. Some of the highlights in the first case include a replica of Kennedy’s Knights of Columbus application dated April 26, 1946. There are also a variety of rare campaign buttons and facsimile documents of invitations to the White House during Kennedy’s presidency. The exhibit also displays two rare photographs of President Kennedy with New Jersey Governor Richard J. Hughes.

John F. Kennedy photograph

The second case of the exhibit displays items that commemorate the assassination of John F Kennedy and its aftermath. Highlights in the second case include a Western Union Telegram and a record from January 19, 1964 of the service held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in honor of President Kennedy. Another key item is a book that includes the addresses from the United States Senate and House of Representatives titled Memorial Addresses in the Senate of the United States in Eulogy of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Overall the exhibit is meant to represent the variety of materials and sources on John F. Kennedy that can be found in the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center. It is important for students and the public alike to be aware of the rich resources available here.

The exhibit can be viewed on the ground floor of the Walsh Library and is open all hours the library is open. For more information on this exhibit and questions about John F. Kennedy that I discovered please feel free to e-mail me:

Exhibit on JFK in Archives Reading Room

Pomp and Circumstance, Graduation Exercises and Setonia

With the month of May comes the much awaited graduation for college seniors and the commencement ceremonies that signal the end of their Seton Hall degree earning journey.  Along with the memories of diploma receiving achievements past, the University Archives has a large number of commencement programs, photographs, and other documentation that shows the activities centering around this celebration from the inaugural exercises in 1856, the first official graduate Louis Edward Firth, AB in 1862 to the ladies and gentlemen representing the Class of 2015.  Below are a few examples of these informative program guides. Additional perspective on graduation can be found through the listing of honorary degree recipients through the years as compiled by our student volunteer Mr. Matthew Peters.

We look forward to working with you on your own commencement research exercises.  In the meantime, congratulations to all the graduates present and future!

Seton Hall College Thirteenth Annual Commencement, Wednesday June 23d, 1869.

39th Annual Commencement of Seton Hall College

Commencement Program, June 11, 1955

St. Patrick – Study Aids At Seton Hall

March is a month closely associated with Irish history by way of honoring the patron saint (who shares this designation with Brigit/Brigid and Columba) and apostle of Ireland Patrick (Pádraig), the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Éire who lived during the 5th century A.D.  In popular and latter-day culture, the legacy of Patrick is often drawn to oft-repeated tales of his driving snakes out of Ireland, teaching the symbolism of the Holy Trinity through use of a shamrock, his walking stick growing into a tree, and the plethora of parades staged throughout the world in his honor.  By extension, Irish culture and heritage is widely recognized with the feast day of March 17th for Patrick being a source of celebration “with the wearing of the green” each year.  His popularity is secure and icons dedicated to his memory abound to the present day.

St. PatrickDelving beneath iconic depictions (many of which are modern enhancements, i.e. the wearing of a miter, holding of a crosier and the robes of high ecclesiastical office, etc.) which are most familiar, the life story of Patrick was actually one of hardship and dedication when reading various accounts of his adventures.  In brief terms, Patrick was born into poverty and enslaved as a youth.  He was able to escape his master as a young adult, make his way back to his native Britain, adopt Christianity, and migrate to the Europe continent for further study.  Patrick ultimately made his way to Ireland as a missionary where he achieved success in his work with, and on behalf of, the people he befriended and administered to during his lifetime.                 St. Patrick portrait   patrick-text

Researching the life, words, and example of Patrick has been made easier and more accessible through the works of a number of scholars from historians, theologians, philosophers, poets, artists, and others who have an interest in his legacy.  Please feel free to follow the link to learn more about Patrick (and other Saints of Ireland from Abbán moccu Corbmaic to Tigernach of Clones and many others of note) through the Archives & Special Collections Center and University Libraries information resource links.  Here are some introductory works to help you on your journey of discovery…

Irish Studies Library Guide

St. Patrick

Saints of Ireland

Homage to Patrick also exists on a hometown basis as numerous statues and structures exist in many places around the globe.  Included are those on the campus of Seton Hall University and the Archdiocese of Newark.  Most notably is the Pro-Cathedral of St. Patrick located in Newark which has a long and notable history as documented by Seton Hall faculty member Monsignor Robert Wister, Hist.Eccl.D. who wrote a detailed account of this parish and its place in local and national religious history…

St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral, Newark, New Jersey: An Historical Reflection, 1850-2000

St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral…An Artistic and Symbolic Description

St. Patrick's Pro Cathedral      St. Patrick's Cathedral, Newark NJ

Whether searching for memorials dedicated to Patrick, or for materials on the man himself, we are happy to assist with your project needs and offer additional leads alike.  In the meantime, continued success on your respective searches and Lá Fhéile Pádraig faoi mhaise duit!

Seton Hall & Women’s History Exhibit

“What does it mean socially to be a woman?”
Throughout Seton Hall’s history, women took steps to better themselves and their communities through teaching, studying, promoting university development, and participating in organizations and sports teams. Those women’s actions have defined them according to their achievements and skills. Their leadership has continued to inspire others to take initiative.
Between February and April, a series of window exhibits created by Brittany Venturella, Graduate Student in the Department of Museum Studies will explore how the social definition of women evolved in Seton Hall’s history.
The first in the series will focus on the history of Women’s Organizations at Seton Hall during the month of February.  Before women were allowed on the South Orange campus, Seton Hall University partnered with organizations dominated by female members to promote student and developmental advancement. Members of those organizations, such as The Bayley-Seton League, the Women’s Guild and Seton Junior League, worked relentlessly to provide opportunities for students through funding scholarships, to promote “good citizenship,” and to better the general community. The three organizations raised money to aid Seton Hall and its students through social events, such as card parties and balls. They also impacted society through social dialogue.
All exhibits can be viewed from the front of the Walsh Library building in the window galleries located adjacent to the Walsh Gallery.
The Seton Junior Leaguegroup photo   Communion breakfast of the Seton Junior League
For more information contact University Archives at: (973) 275-2378, or


Rare Books Reference Guide – An Introduction

The Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center has sponsored the work of information professionals who maintain a number of specialized Library Reference Guides (LibGuides) for the benefit of our research community.  These LibGuides are designed to provide an introductory navigation site to help with project leads, identify collections, and connect to related themes through the linked resources found on each site.

The latest example created outlines specific Rare Book Collections with different connections to the World Wide Web and designed to help the user learn more about the history of publishing craft and to expand their reference options connected to the Center and beyond.  This site focuses upon our major holdings which include the American Civil War, Ireland and Irish-America, Monsignor John Oesterreicher Judaeo-Christian titles along with our overall and more specialized collecting areas that await discovery.

rare book libguide

The Internet link to the Rare Book site can be found here and our full range of LibGuides can be accessed here.

Thank you in advance for your interest and usage of our LibGuides!

Communion Wafer Tongs

Did you ever think about how the Communion Wafers used at mass are created? According to church doctrine, the wafers must be made only of pure wheat flour and water. Traditionally, the dough was rolled out flat and squeezed between the two iron plates of baking tongs, such as the example from the Archives pictured below. The plates are embossed in order to separate the wafers from the rest of the dough and add decorative designs.


tongs open_blog

Originally, a parish would choose a particular baker from the community who was sanctioned to produce the communion wafers using tongs like these. Later, the task of baking the wafers was taken up by cloistered nuns, who were able to produce the wafers on a larger scale and generate income for their convents.

tongs closed_blog

Today, 80% of the wafers in the US market are baked on large scale industrial equipment by the Cavanaugh Company of Greenville, Rhode Island, which boasts that its wafers are “untouched by human hands.” Some convents also carry on the tradition, and have found other ways to compete with private industry. The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri, now produce a low-gluten wafer that is safe for consumption by parishioners with Celiac disease.

We Want Willkie!!!

This was the refrain heard from the floor to rafters of Convention Hall, Philadelphia during the summer of 1940 and echoed through that autumn when the Republican Party nominated corporate lawyer and long time political booster Wendell Lewis Willkie of Indiana as their standard bearer for the upcoming presidential election of that year. Willkie (1892-1944), who never held public office was an outspoken internationalist who later became an informal ambassador-at-large for important causes including global welfare programs and civil rights most notably as outlined in his seminal work: One World(located in the Walsh Library Main Collection, Call Number: D811.5 .W495) which heralded the need for a “world government” to aid society at-large which would later come to fruition in part through the establishment of the United Nations a few years after its publication in 1944. 

Twenty-second Republican National Convention, Philadelphia 1940           Wendell Willkie photo         This man Willkie

Willkie focused his run for the White House on three primary themes which included the lack of military readiness in case of war, streamlining the “New Deal” programs of incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the never before attempted third term candidacy of a sitting president.  In the end, Willkie lost the race, but registered 22.3 million votes nationwide (more than any previous Republican candidate at this point) and won 82 electoral votes (plurality in ten states) total. 

Willkie presidential campaign

Although defeated, the successful legacy of Wendell Willkie is celebrated in the Seton Hall Archives & Special Collections Center through the availability of varied resources regarding the candidacy of this icon in American political history.  Included are a unique set of scrapbooks donated by Maplewood resident, Mr. Jack Chance who followed this election closely and documented the 1940 race through a collected series of local and national press clippings.  Famed funeral director Mr. Gerald Spatola of Newark served as a delegate from New Jersey to the 1940 G.O.P. convention and in turn left a convention book as a reminder of civic activity on a national stage.  Additionally, our political science department has collected various campaign buttons over the years and Wendell Willkie figures prominent among them and serves a tangible reminder of his candidacy seven decades ago. We Want Willkie buttonA further point of connections was made more valid and vivid during that fall of 1940 when Willkie in the midst of a national spotlight was invited to visit campus by former College President, James Kelley, but in an October 15th letter from the candidate to the chief executive of Seton Hall he wrote regrets for being unable to make his way to South Orange, but praised the work of the school in a larger context inside the following passage…

“As a mid-Westerner, I am of course not intimately familiar with Seton Hall, but I am fully aware of the splendid educational work done by the Catholic clergy at many institutions throughout the land…the College was founded by and named for collateral ancestors of President Roosevelt.  I was extremely interested to hear of the pioneer work of Bishop Bayley and Mother Seton in New Jersey.  The State and the Nation are profiting greatly from the untiring efforts of these inspired people and others like them…It is hope that the college may long be able to continue its educational and character-building endeavors, that it may never have to encounter the hatreds and oppressions which have perverted or destroyed so many similar institutions in other lands.”

Just like 1940, if you want Willkie and learn more about his life and times please feel free to make an appointment with us to explore in further depth and detail.   We can be reached by e-mail:, or by phone:  (973) 275-2378.  Thank you in advance for your interest.


A Look Back at Archdiocesan History: Time Capsule from the Old Chancery Building

On 11 October 1932, the Chancery Building at 31 Mulberry St. was dedicated. The new building replaced the parochial school of St. John’s Church, which housed the Chancery office until the widening of Mulberry St. forced the Diocese to demolish it. At the dedication, a time capsule was placed inside the cornerstone of the building. This time capsule was recovered in 2011, almost 80 years later. Inside, there was a collection of surprisingly well-preserved Diocesan artifacts and ephemera.

Tin box which was inserted in the cornerstone of the Chancery building in 1932
Tin box which was inserted in the cornerstone of the Chancery building in 1932

Several news articles relating to the construction and dedication of the new Chancery building, as well as a four page letter detailing the history and circumstances of the Chancery building’s construction, provide context for the time capsule.

The time capsule also contained a photograph of Bishop Thomas J. Walsh, who later became the first Archbishop of Newark when the Diocese was elevated to Archdiocese in 1937. A 1927 medal depicting Immaculate Conception Seminary on one side and Bishop John J. O’Connor on the other was found in its own small case within the time capsule. Bishop O’Connor’s calling card was also enclosed in the case. In addition, there was a small collection of coins, including a Pius X medal, a 1907 quarter, a 1923 buffalo nickel, a 1925 Liberty dime, and a 1901 Liberty nickel. Lastly there were three stamps from 1932: a cancelled Washington stamp, 1¢; postage due stamp, 2¢; and a cancelled Washington stamp, 3¢.

Coins and Immaculate Conception Seminary medal
Coins and Immaculate Conception Seminary medal

These materials provide a fascinating look back at the history of the Archdiocese of Newark. To learn more visit the Archdiocesan history and archives page, or the A&SCC page on Archdiocesan history.

The Second Installment of WWI: A Centennial Exhibition

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

This phase of the exhibit demonstrates many of the technological advances that came about during the war. It includes figurines of German, French, and British soldiers using machine guns and artillery, which came into widespread use during the war.

Sopwith side_blog

In addition, model tanks, armored cars, and airplanes highlight the ways these new machines developed and changed warfare. Rare books from our Archives add poetry, photographs, and illustrations of the war to complete the display.

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


Annual Accountability – Almanacs in Action

Have you ever imagined living in another time and place?  Finding out more about daily routines in the course of recorded history through the words of historians who chronicle the story of human experience are invaluable to the present day reader.  Another useful aid is a publication(s) from the actual time period which documents the doings of a person, place, or object first hand.  With this in mind, and more specifically, materials that allow for personal reference from an annual perspective such as directories, yearbooks, and most notably almanacs provide the researcher with useful data to learn from by word and number alike.

An “almanac” (or “almanack” or “almanach” as they are sometimes referred to) by definition is an annual publication that provides weather forecasts, tide rates, astronomical data, and other relevant information in tabular form.  Modern day almanacs have evolved to include various statistical and descriptive information such as economics, government, religion, and political results among other subject areas that touch not only upon local communities, but national and world issues in brief line item and/or summary form.  The earliest known almanac published in the “modern sense” was the Almanac of Azarqueil written in 1088 by Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm, al-Zarqālī in Toledo, al-Andalus.  There have been several subsequent examples from here as found in different countries, languages, and specializations.

The Gentleman and Citizen's Almanack

One example of an international almanac found in our collection can be located in our rare book collection if you look back 280 years ago at a far different world than the one of today.  This volume entitled:  The Gentleman and Citizen’s Almanack, For the Year of Our Lord (Dublin: S. Powell, for John Watson, Bookseller to be sold at his shop on Merchants Key, near the Old Bridge, 1734) is a tome that provides a look at 18th century life in Ireland.  This book provides a traditional format with the following array of categories found in the index:  “Tide Table, Table of Twilight,” “Table of Coin and Gold Weights,” “Table for a Company Foot,” “Table of the Price of Goods,” “Table fo the Weight of Bread,” “Masters and Wardens Quarterly Assemblies,” “Roads of Ireland,” “Fairs of Ireland,” and others.  The attached illustrations provide further details on how the consumers of that day and contemporary readers can relate alike can relate to the facts and figures found here including postal service and its value for communication links before cell phones and twitter for example.

Almanac page

This particular publication provides an every day look at life in an Ireland that goes beyond the essay  alone.  This and other Irish “almanacks” from 1732-1838 and other books on the Irish experience both reference and beyond can be found here in the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.

For more information contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist at:, or (973) 275-2378.