Donald M. Payne papers now open for research

President William J. Clinton with Congressman Payne, May 1, 2001
President William J. Clinton with Congressman Payne, May 1, 2001. mss0078_1116_01

The Donald M. Payne papers, 1988-2012, Mss 0078, are now open for research at the Archives and Special Collections Center. This collection of 53 linear feet is the collected congressional papers of Donald M. Payne, Sr., who was New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District Representative to the United States Congress from 1989-2012. Congressman Payne was New Jersey’s first African American congressional representative, and served eleven consecutive terms, passing away in 2012 during his twelfth term.

Donald Payne, Sr., was a native of Newark, N.J., and attended Seton Hall in the 1950s. A Democrat and a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congressman Payne was a leading advocate of education and human rights. He was especially active in supporting increased funding for higher education and in supporting democratic efforts in Africa, particularly in Sudan. He was a member and former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and won a number of awards for his work on behalf of education, democracy, and human rights.

The Donald M. Payne papers chronicle Congressman Payne’s work  during his 23 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Included are notes and drafts of legislation with which Congressman Payne was heavily involved, papers and photographs from his travels to Africa, research materials related to his areas of interest, and many other materials documenting his work in Congress. This collection is a rich resource for anyone interested in diplomacy and international relations, promotion of education, New Jersey and national politics, political events in Africa over the past 25 years, and the legislative process.

Head Start letter
Head Start letter, mss0078_0340_01

The collection is primarily paper documents and photographs, which are available to researchers in the Archives and Special Collections Center reading room. Advance appointments are required for the use of archival material. Also in the collection are some electronic, audio, and video materials, which are not yet available for research, due to preservation concerns. These materials came to Seton Hall University through the generosity of Congressman Payne’s family and heirs.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or to make an appointment to view this collection!

The Donald M. Payne papers come to Seton Hall

The Archives and Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Donald M. Payne papers, a new manuscript collection of congressional papers from the late Donald M. Payne, a member of the United States House of Representatives from New Jersey’s 10th district from 1989-2012.

Payne papers in the A&SCC
The Payne papers in the A&SCC.

Donald Payne was born and raised in Newark, N.J., and graduated from Seton Hall University in 1957. He became the first African American Congressman from New Jersey when he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1988, and served ten consecutive terms. During his time in Congress, Representative Payne served on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Mr. Payne died in 2012 and was succeeded in Congress by his son, Donald Payne, Jr.

The Donald Payne papers document Representative Payne’s time as a congressional representative, including legislative documentation, research files, newsclippings, photographs, and audio-video recordings. About 43 linear feet of materials have been accessioned by the A&SCC, and the materials will soon be processed and made available to researchers. The A&SCC and University Libraries are very excited to have acquired this important collection of political papers and look forward to connecting this material to users. Stay tuned for more information!

Ace Alagna photographic collection: Online Finding Aid

Ace Alagna with camera.
Mss 0018: Ace Alagna with camera. 00182583

The Ace Alagna photographic collection, 1944-1998, Mss 0018, is a unique, rich resource depicting the history of Newark, the Italian American community in and around Newark, New Jersey politics, people, places, and events in beautiful black and white. This collection, which has more than 2,000 images already available online through the Ace Alagna photographs digital collection, has about 40,000 items including photographic negatives, prints, videos, and layout sheets from the Italian Tribune newspaper. Now, a finding aid describing the almost 30,000 negatives in the collection has been completed and is available online.

Ace Alagna was a photographer from Newark who worked in the White House Press Corps before buying the Italian Tribune newspaper. He edited the newspaper for almost 30 years, during which time he and the Italian Tribune were the organizers and main sponsors of the Newark Columbus Day parade. The annual parade usually had a celebrity grand marshal, often someone of Italian heritage, who would be present for the parade and attendant celebrations. Ace Alagna knew a wide a range of people in New Jersey, and traveled around the country and around the world.

Ace Alagna and Frank Sinatra at Tribune Award in Atlantic City.
Mss 0018: Ace Alagna and Frank Sinatra at Tribune Award in Atlantic City. mss0018_E0388_011

The Ace Alagna photographic collection, 1944-1998, Mss 0018, includes images of notable politicians, actors, athletes, musicians, and writers such as John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, N.J. Governors Richard Hughes and Brendan Byrne, Congressman Peter Rodino, Danny Aiello, Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, Phil Brito, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Piscopo, Tony Curtis, Bob Hope, and Tony LoBianco, among many others. The collection includes numerous pictures of Newark and the Columbus Day parade from the 1970s-1990s, and a large number of pictures of N.J. politicians in the state senate and assembly.

Many of the images in the collection have been scanned, and so far a small percentage of those scans are available online. There are also unprocessed portions of the collection that have not yet been described in the finding aid, particularly black and white and color prints of many of the negatives, videos related to the Columbus Day parade, and some materials that appear to be layouts for images to appear in the Italian Tribune. Materials that are not available online are available for research, with the assistance of Archives staff, at the Archives and Special Collections Center. Additional scans will be made available online in the future, as time permits, and unprocessed materials will be added to the finding aid as they are processed. Keep an eye out for more images and materials, and meanwhile, take a close look through this rich window into Newark’s history and culture!

From the Shelves: the Jack Chance collection on Wendell Willkie and the 1940 presidential election

Two pages from Scrapbook 1 in the Jack Chance collection on Wendell Willkie and the 1940 presidential election,1939-1940, Mss 0023.
Two pages from Scrapbook 1 in the Jack Chance collection on Wendell Willkie and the 1940 presidential election,1939-1940, Mss 0023.

A new finding aid has been posted for a small but fascinating collection on American politics: the Jack Chance collection on Wendell Willkie and the 1940 presidential election, 1939-1940, Mss 0023. This collection consists of 5 scrapbooks containing newsclippings from 1939 and 1940 on the presidential election of 1940, as well as some additional information on Wendell Willkie, the Republican candidate in that race.

The 1940 presidential election was unusual in several respects: it marked the first (and only) time in American history that a President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, officially ran for a third term; both candidates were selected at the party conventions and came as something of a surprise to their party; and the entire campaign was shadowed by World War 2 in Europe and Asia, with both candidates advocating non-intervention. In addition, Wendell Willkie was a former supporter of Roosevelt who, although defeated in the campaign, went on to work closely with Roosevelt afterwards. Willkie was a dark horse candidate who had never held or even run for political office before, and the lead-up to the Republican National Convention included strong runs from candidates including former President Herbert Hoover and Thomas E. Dewey, who would go on to become the Republican candidate in the 1944 election when Roosevelt ran for a fourth term. As a result of Roosevelt’s long turn as President, the United States congress passed the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1947 that limited a President to two terms or ten years in office.

The major issues of the campaign, faithfully documented in this rich set of scrapbooks, revolved around the economic recovery of the country from the Great Depression after the stock market crash of 1929, the possibility of American involvement in World War 2, and the legality or advisability of Roosevelt’s run for a third term. The scrapbooks include news articles describing events of the campaign and election as well as opinions, editorials, and political cartoons on candidates and issues. These materials have not yet been digitized and are very fragile, but they give a window into a political process quite different from today. Come to the Archives to see them, or contact us to find out more!

 

The Thomas and Margaret Melady papers: a Window to Africa of the ’60s and ’70s.

Thomas and Margaret Melady papers
Thomas and Margaret Melady papers, Mss 0072

Ambassador Thomas P. and Dr. Margaret B. Melady have been involved in diplomatic and international affairs since the 1950s, particularly on the continent of Africa. Ambassador Melady has held multiple diplomatic posts for the United States, including Ambassador to Burundi, Ambassador to Uganda, and Ambassador to the Holy See, and is the new Interim Dean of the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations here at Seton Hall University. Dr. Melady is an alumnus of Seton Hall, a former President of the American University in Rome, and is now the President of Melady Associates, a firm specializing in public affairs and educational counseling. The couple have written multiple books on politics in Africa, including Ten African Heroes: The Sweep of Independence in Black Africa, published in 2011.

The correspondence and personal papers that formed the core of the research for that book are a part of a new archival collection held at the Archives and Special Collections Center, the Thomas and Margaret Melady papers, 1959-2010 (bulk 1960-1975). The collection is the gift of Ambassador and Dr. Melady, and documents their involvement with many of the individuals responsible for the vast political changes that took place over the whole continent of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to the ten men featured in the book, who feature prominently in the collection, there are letters from dozens of other individuals and organizations, photographs, and newsclippings documenting that turbulent time.

Thomas Melady first went to Africa in the 1950s while working for the Foreign Service. He and Margaret Badum married in 1961, and the couple spent a great deal of their time in Africa throughout the 1960s and 1970s, deeply involved in diplomatic and political events all over the continent.  Thomas Melady also started the Africa Service Institute, an organization dedicated to the education and advancement of students and leaders in Africa. The materials in the Thomas and Margaret Melady papers cover 36 nations and areas from Angola to Zimbabwe, and cover a range of topics from the intensely personal to the course of nations. Correspondents include political leaders, such as Léopold Sédar Senghor, William V.S. Tubman, and Kenneth David Kaunda; Catholic officials such as Archbishop Jean Zoa of Yaoundé and Archbishop Luc-Auguste Sangare of Bamako; fellow diplomats from and to the United States or the United Nations; students, academics, priests, and many others. Topics include political events in Africa and the United States, the role of racism in politics of the day, requests for assistance from the Africa Service Institute, personal notes of thanks and updates, and a wide variety of conversational subjects.

This rich collection was described in detail by the Meladys before coming to the Archives, and that original description forms the majority of the finding aid. While no materials from the collection have yet been digitized, the entire original collection is available at the Archives and Special Collections Center, on the first floor of Walsh Library. Please see our Hours page to find Hours and Directions, or Contact Us to make an appointment.

The book Ten African Heroes is also available in the Archives and Special Collections Center.