Object of the Week: Melvin Dalton Olympic Qualifying Medal and Certificate

Mel Dalton – Olympic Medal of Merit
medal
2 3/16″ diameter
1928
2020.05.0001
Department of Archives and Special Collections, Seton Hall University

 

This Olympic qualifying medal and certificate were presented to Seton Hall University alumnus, Melvin Joseph Dalton, a member of the United States Olympic Team for the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics.  Dalton ranked first place at the Olympic trials on Travers Island (Pelham), New York in the steeplechase run, making him eligible to compete in the summer Olympics that same year.  In the 1928 Olympic Games, he came in seventh place in the steeplechase, a grueling 3,000-meter obstacle race in which runners jump over four hurdles and a water pit.  Dalton’s personal best in the Steeplechase event had him clocking in at 9 minutes, 33 seconds.  Three Finnish runners took the gold, silver and bronze medals: Toivo Loukola, Paavo Nurmi and Ove Anderson.  Toivo Loukola set a new world record at 9 minutes 21 seconds – 12 seconds faster than Dalton’s personal best.  The men’s 3000-meter steeplechase event at the 1928 Olympic Games took place on August 1 and August 4.

Mel Dalton – Olympic Certificate of Merit, certificate, 5 11/16” x 7 11/16”, June 17, 1928, 2020.05.0002, Department of Archives and Special Collections
Mel Dalton – Olympic Certificate of Merit, certificate, 5 11/16” x 7 11/16”, June 17, 1928, 2020.05.0002, Department of Archives and Special Collections

The Amsterdam Olympic Games of 1928 were officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad.  These games saw the participation of 2883 athletes from 46 countries competing in 109 events.  Athletes from twenty-eight nations won gold medals, a record which would stand for forty years, and it was the first time women were allowed to compete in athletics and gymnastics events. Women would not be allowed to compete in the Olympic steeplechase event until 2008 – 80 years after Dalton’s Olympic competition.  The 1928 games also witnessed the first lighting of the Olympic flame at an opening ceremony, as well as the establishment of the protocol of Greek athletes entering the stadium first, with host nation athletes entering last.

For video footage of the 1928 Steeplechase event in which Dalton ran, click here.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, Dalton attended Seton Hall from 1925 to 1929 and was later inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1980.  Dalton ran track for Seton Hall as a student, and in 1925 was undefeated in all his college cross-country races and 2-miles track races. Dalton would later become a member of the priest community.

Black and white image of alumnus Melvin Dalton in his Seton Hall track uniform, in a stance so he appears ready to run
Photo of Melvin Dalton in uniform, Galleon Yearbook, Class of 1927, pg. 115

 

Object of the Week: Sketch of Mother Seton Medal

Sketch for Mother Seton medal
designed by Dieges and Clust
paint and pencil on paper
14 1/2″ x 11 1/2″
c. 1969
2018.17.0001a
MSS 0006
Monsignor Noe Field Archives & Special Collections Center

 

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 – 1821) was born in what would later become the United States and was canonized on September 14, 1975, making her the first American born saint.  After the death of her husband while traveling abroad in 1803, she converted to Catholicism and was received into the Catholic Church in March of 1805 at Saint Peter’s Church in New York.  Mother Seton established the first Catholic girls’ school in the United States, and later founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity.  Her profound impact is still evidenced today by the number of institutions inspired by her work throughout the nation, especially in Maryland and New York City where she had resided.  Pope John XXIII noted at her beatification in 1963, “In a house that was very small, but with ample space for charity, she sowed a seed in America which by Divine Grace grew into a large tree.”  That tree still thrives in the continuation of her charitable work in the service of others, especially women and children.

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.

Object of the Week: Crucifixio Jesu Christi

Friedrich August Ludy
Crucifixio Jesu Christi
Engraving
13.375” x 17.5”
1852
83.2.137
Gift of Anonymous Donor

“Good Friday is much more than reliving the passion of Jesus; it is entering into solidarity with the passion of all people of our planet, whether in the past, the present, or the future.” – Henri Nouwen

Each year on Good Friday, Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Ludy’s engraving depicts these events. Pontius Pilate is shown a plaque which reads, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, as Jesus is nailed to the cross in the background. The figure depicted on the far-left kneeling in prayer is artist Johann Friedrich Overbeck who painted the original work on which this engraving is based.

Object of the Month – #37 Wool Baseball Uniform

#37 Wool Baseball Uniform
wool flannel
mid-20th century
2019.04.0001, 2019.04.0002
Gift of the Smith Family

This wool flannel, short-sleeved Seton Hall University baseball uniform was in use in the 1950s. It was purchased locally from Crelin’s Sport Shops, located at 491 Valley Street in Maplewood, New Jersey. The shop was known for having “Anything in Sports.” While the school colors remain the same, uniforms are now made of polyester. Uniforms today are similar in style, though pants are not cinched at the ankle and knee-length pants are sometimes worn. The baseball program at Seton Hall has had an active presence on campus since its establishment in 1853 and twenty-nine of its players have gone on to play in the major leagues.