Bayley Hall – The Grammar School of Setonia

In respect of the recent commemoration of National Catholic Schools Week, Seton Hall has a long and honored tradition of hosting countless students who have their academic roots in parochial-sponsored classrooms across New Jersey and around the world.  Our institution is no exception to showing its support of pre-secondary level education.  Between 1901 and the late 1920s, Seton Hall established the Bayley Hall Grammar School initiative to help students prepare for more advanced study with anticipation that pupils would better continue their educational journey at the Preparatory Academy and College in subsequent semesters.

Founded by Msgr. John A. Stafford, President, the following overview is the first notice of the school with the details extracted from the 1901 Seton Hall College Catalogue and signaled a renewed look at youth-centered instruction after the school attained its first accreditation status four years previous . . .

Over time, the Bayley Hall Grammar School received consistent support and regularly hosted an average of 40-50 students per academic year.  Over its approximately three decades in operation, the school prospered and by the mid-1920s, the description of the school touted its accomplishments, but also provided full disclosure in their approach in print as the following notice from the 1924 Seton Hall College Catalogue was heralded within its pages at a time when the institution was male-only and highly structured in almost every manner . . .

“BAYLEY HALL GRAMMAR SCHOOL – CHARACTER AND PURPOSE . . . in the few years of its existence has won for itself a position second to none among the preparatory institutions of the country.  It has its origin in the realization, forced on the President year after year, that many of the students who sought admission to the High School were, in some one or other of the required studies, inadequately prepared.  It was evident that a department which should take students at an earlier age and give them a thorough grammar school course would not only serve a useful purpose in itself, but would in addition facilitate the more difficult work of the High School.  This ideal has been fully realized.  The graduates of Bayley Hall have, almost without exception, demonstrated by their work in the High School the need and the value of the training given them in the preparatory department.

Such an institution has, of course, to struggle against the difficulties which inevitably arise when boys are for the first time taken from parents and home.  And it is in this particular that Bayley Hall has achieved its greatest success. The occupations of every hour have been so apportioned that mind and body are given useful work and healthy play from the morning bell at half-past is to the last bell at half-past eight.  Periods of recreation alternate with periods of study; every species of athletics is encourages, and every means is employed to develop a sound mind in a sound body.  One of the Reverend Fathers, resident in Bayley Hall, immediately supervises the work in this section.  The discipline is firm, as discipline must always be; but harshness is never permitted to mar the relations of teacher and pupil.  As in the other departments of the institution, the development of the moral character is looked upon as equally important with the acquisition of knowledge; and no pains are spared to lay the foundations of that combination of culture and religious virtue which constitutes the Christian gentlemen.”

James Roosevelt Bayley (1814-1877)

The school building was named in honor of James Roosevelt Bayley (1814-1872), the first Bishop of Newark and hosted the Grammar School, hence the name of the institute and separate from the College proper.  As further described in the catalogues of the era: “The study-hall, class rooms, reading and recreation rooms, and dormitories are all neatly and tastefully furnished, and everything tends to foster in the minds of the young a desire to cultivate habits of cleanliness and neatness in keeping with their surroundings.”  Aside from the well-appointed surroundings, the model of having classes in one space led to consistency and a logical pattern of instruction.  The following synopses provide the typical path of pedagogy found among the first three years encountered by the Bayley Hall student of yore . . .

  • FIRST GRADE

ENGLISH.  Grammar Reviewed; Punctuation; Elementary Precepts of Composition; Forms of Style.

LITERATURE.  Reading of Masterpieces in Prose and Verse; Spelling; Studies in Critical Analysis; Memory Work.

ELOCUTION.  Special Exercises.

SCIENCE.  Physiology and Hygiene.

ARITHMETIC.  Advanced Arithmetic Completed and Reviewed; Business Forms.

GEOGRAPHY.  The United States and Territories.

HISTORY.  Elementary General History.

CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

OPTIONAL SUBJECTS.  Music, Drawing, German, French, Stenography, Type-writing.

  • SECOND GRADE

ENGLISH.  Grammar Completed; Prosody; Description and Narration.

LITERATURE.  Selections in Poetry; Spelling and Analysis; Studies in Figures: Memory Work.

READING AND WRITING.  Bi-Weekly Exercises.

ARITHMETIC .  Continued; Mental Work.

GEOGRAPHY.  Asia, Africa, South America.

HISTORY.  United States History Completed.

CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

OPTIONAL SUBJECTS.  Music, Drawing, German, French, Stenography, Type-Writing.

  • THIRD GRADE

ENGLISH.  Grammar, Etymology Reviewed; Sentences; Essentials of Syntax: Letter Writing; Elementary Composition.

LITERATURE.  Selections in Prose; Spelling and Analysis; Studies in Etymology and Use of Words; Word Formation.

READING AND WRITING.  Special Exercises.

ARITHMETIC. Written and Mental Exercises.

GEOGRAPHY.  Europe.

HISTORY.  Elementary United States History.

CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

OPTIONAL SUBJECTS.  Music, Drawing, Type-writing

As the individual progressed through the system, they reached the end of their time at Bayley Hall during the Eighth Grade.  It was at this point, that pupils had the option belong to a host of clubs and societies including the Athletic Association which promoted competition in billiards, handball, and competition between neighboring schools.  The Library Association was active in collecting and establishing a top flight reference center for the student body.  In addition, the Saint Aloysius Society hosted weekly meetings in order to: “. . . instill into their minds an appreciation and tender regard for this illustrious patron of the young.” Which offered many students a preview, and a wider selection of extra-curricular activities when the reached the high school level.  This was designed to educate the “whole person” as consistent with the goals of the instructors and administration from the start of the program.

The parting wish for graduates from Bayley Hall when they entered the Eighth Grade led to the following prescription:  “The object of this organization is to transact the business of the class, to foster in the pupil the idea of self-reliance in the management of his affairs, and to prepare him for the more formal organization of the High School and College classes.”  Although long defunct, the legacy of the Bayley Hall School lasts and remains a part of the history of Catholic parochial education annals and within the story of specialized schools hosted by Seton Hall over the last century and a half.

For more information on Bayley Hall and other aspects of Seton Hall history please feel free to contact us via e-mail at: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973)275-2378.

Documenting Setonia – Written by Hand and Handled With Care

January 23rd marks National Handwriting Day which was established in 1977 to promote and celebrate the usage of writing instruments from the quill to ballpoint pens along with the paper upon which such methods as cursive, script, and other self-expression is put into print for posterity.  This particular date was also chosen to commemorate the birthday of John Hancock, first Autographer of the Declaration of Independence who arguably has the most famous signature in American History.  However, the story of handwriting can be traced further back in time.

Iconic Illustration from the 1926 White & Blue, Seton Hall College Yearbook

Written communication can be traced back to Ancient Rome (c. fifth century AD) that was built on contributions from other founding civilizations and in the process became an important means of non-verbal communication and by extension preserving the word of the author for future reference.  As this practice caught hold and moving forward to other eras, the Medieval period has been noted for manuscripts reproduced by cloistered monks who patiently and expertly provided copies of texts (mainly Christian and classical-based) as an important service to humanity as a means of promoting literacy and inspire deeper learning opportunities than ever before.  With the advent of the Printing Press during the sixteenth century this lessened the need for handwritten, mass produced works and ushered in a new era of mass-produced writings.  Despite this invention the trade art of “penmanship” still became a sought after skill set especially in the documentary establishment of the American Republic and as the nation grew in size and population where school systems, mail service, and other forums for handwritten communication were created.

With the establishment of the United States and moving into the nineteenth century, a bookkeeper named Platt Rogers Spencer who adopted a method to teach cursive writing that was captured in various textbooks and made its way to various schools and colleges to help students improve their respective writing styles.  Eventually print and cursive developed into various methods side-by-side in the dawn before typewriters and later computers would help with journaling and interpersonal communication.  Overall, expanded technology has superseded the need or want to write as a matter of preferred course.  More information on the historical evolution of handwriting can be referenced via the V-Letter and History Channel sites found via the links located below . . .

https://www.vletter.com/help/font-faq/history-of-handwriting.html

https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-penmanship-on-national-handwriting-day#:~:text=Borrowing%20aspects%20of%20the%20Etruscan,script%20for%20transactions%20and%20correspondence.&text=Elegant%20handwriting%20emerged%20as%20a,educating%20generations%20of%20master%20scribes

Page featuring student autographs – 1926 White & Blue Seton Hall College Yearbook

Although handwriting is not in vogue in the present day except for the most part among those who prefer traditional forms of communication and to “jot down” information, but if nothing else a personal signature and/or requested autograph are at the very least a form of handwriting that has held on as a mark of personal identification and shows that the practice has not departed altogether.  These examples are true to life within the world of Seton Hall academic life where note-taking is now mainly done via a computer laptop, etc.  But there is always a place for handwriting to remain even though it is rarer to find schools that teach this craft in full, or even the elementary level basics nowadays.

When looking at historical textbooks and examples within our Rare Book Collection there are a pair of texts found that show how the student of the nineteenth century learned the finer art of taking their writing skills into advanced applications.  The following works include the following texts . . .

A volume entitled: Five Hundred Mistakes of Daily Occurrence in Speaking, Pronouncing, and Writing the English Language, Corrected. (New York: D. Burgess & Co., 1856) [Call Number: PE1460 .B8 1856] is one that saw print in the same year that Seton Hall College was founded.  Within this book, the modern reader can see what some of the most common errors and correct approaches were made among the student body of yore.

Within this volume you can see five hundred individual examples from the first . . .

“THE business would suit any one who enjoys bad health.”  [From an advertisement in a daily newspaper of New-York.]  Few persons who have bad health can be said to enjoy it.  Use some other form of expression: as, one in delicate health, or, one whose health is bad.”

Through to the five-hundredth on their list . . .

The last direction which this little book will give on the subject with which it has been occupied, is one that long ago was given in the greatest of books – “Let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ.”  If obedience to this injunction may not guard him who heeds it against the commission of such mistakes as are numbered in this catalogue, it will not fail to lead him out of the way of errors more grievous and solemn.”

More specific to Setonia, is the book entitled – How to Write Letters: A Manual of Correspondence Showing the Correct Structure, Composition, Punctuation, Formalities, and Uses of the Various Kinds of Letters, Notes, and Cards by J. Willis Westlake (Philadelphia: Christopher Sower Co., 1876) [Call Number: PE 1485 .W4 1876]  Our version was once owned by a former student – Thomas Raftery, ’93 who not only possessed this copy, but along with the book, but also found within the text block was a letter from his mother that shows a perfect example of cursive writing from that period.

Letter written Mrs. Raftery found in the book of her son (c. 1880s-early 1890s)

Along with their primer in tow, Mr. Raftery would have encountered a core curriculum that was totally structured and included detailed classes in English Composition along with optional instruction in stenography and/or drawing (for $50.00 per annum apiece) to help with his writing practice and perfecting his form.  Even though Mr. Raftery attended the school for a brief time without graduating he did have the basic tools to aid with his writing efforts.  This is one of many examples that features unique handwritten registers, letters, and other documents based content that have been transcribed and preserved in our repository.  These materials are available to researchers for exploration and perspective on handwriting styles and content that have been created through sight and hand alike.

For more information on the other 498 Mistakes, see other examples of handwriting in the name of academic life and administrative business, and other aspects of handwriting along with the Rare Books and Seton Hall History feel free to reach out to us via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Commemorating the Birth of First President of Seton Hall – Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid

Not only is December the month when the world celebrates the dawn of the Lord Jesus Christ, but within the annals of Seton Hall history, the last part of the year is also known for the birth of our first (and third) College President (from 1856-57 and 1859-66), Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid.  Born on December 15, 1823, McQuaid was an important figure in the christening of the Catholic College of New Jersey during its early years and the impact of his vision and belief in the worth of higher education lives on through his early and enduring initiatives and memorials in the latter day including McQuaid Hall (Home to the School of Diplomacy) and the McQuaid Medal (the highest honor bestowed on those affiliated with the University) among other landmarks outside South Orange.

McQuaid Hall (Home to the School of Diplomacy and International Relations), c. 2015
McQuaid Medal – Front Side of the Award, c. 2000

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia (1911) and the seminal work The Catholic Church in New Jersey of 1904 (found online within the Library Guide – https://library.shu.edu/nj-catholic-history and in hard copy form within our Rare Book Collection, Call Numbers – BXZ841.C25 and BXZ1415.N5 F6 1904 respectively), the following highlights have been recorded in relation to the life and legacy of Bishop McQuaid.  The trailblazing president of Seton Hall, McQuaid (1823-1909) was born in New York City and his parents were of Irish Catholic origin and the family made history as they played host to the first Mass said in Powel’s Hook (presently known as Jersey City) in 1829.  Inspired by his practice in the Catholic faith, McQuaid was educated in Quebec and later at St. John’s Seminary at Fordham prior to his ordination in 1848.  He was assigned as a priest to the Diocese of New York and preceding the creation of the See of Newark (five years later) and was made a curate at St. Vincent Martyr in Madison, New Jersey.

Bernard J. McQuaid, c. 1855

When Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley became the first Bishop of Newark he assigned McQuaid to cover multiple missions including the rectorship of St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark, and co-founding of Seton Hall College along with aid in establishing the Seton Sisters of Charity in Madison during the 1850s prior to becoming Vicar-General of the See in 1866.

During the mid-nineteenth century, the accomplishments made by McQuaid at Setonia were often tied into school firsts.   Seton Hall College was initially located in Madison, New Jersey, and commenced operations on September 1, 1856 with an initial enrollment of five students. Those who were included on the registration rolls under the leadership of McQuaid could expect to endure a structured seven-year Classical, Liberal Arts program (three year prep and four year college study) with heavy emphasis on Theology, Philosophy, Latin, Greek and Foreign Language offerings. during his second term as chief executive, McQuaid helped with the move of the Seton Hall College campus from Madison to South Orange in 1860. The College was Incorporated by Act of the New Jersey State Legislature on March 8, 1861.  McQuaid also belonged to the first Board of Trustees and co-authorized approval of the first Bachelor of Arts degree (A.B.) that was awarded to Louis Edward Firth in 1862. The earliest corporate seal included the Seton Family coat of arms and image of the Blessed Mary along with the enduring motto — Hazard Zit Forward — “No Matter What The Hazard, Yet Forward” was subsequently designed and adopted by the institution during May 1864 with sanction offered by McQuaid.

Bernard J. McQuaid, c. 1900

McQuiad was later appointed the first Bishop of Rochester (New York) in 1868 and continued forward with his primary cause of Catholic education in creating a strong parochial school systems, seminary, and was instrumental in working with the State university in the city on collaborative educational initiatives, all of which was generated in earnest during his time at Setonia and served the See of Rochester until his death in 1909.

More details on Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid can be found via our varied collections within the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center and the Seton Hall University Libraries.  Finding aids and lists can be found via the following links below . . .

Office of the President & Chancellor – Bernard J. McQuaid Papers (SHU 0003-001) – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/273

Volumes written by Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid – https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/search?queryString=au%3D%22McQuaid%2C%20B%20J%22%20AND%20au%3D%22Bernard%20John%22%20AND%20au%3D%221823-1909%22&databaseList=283&expandSearch=true&clusterResults=off

Volumes with Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid as the Subject – https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/search?clusterResults=off&queryString=bernard+mcquaid

For more information and to inquire about obtaining information off-site or looking into a future research appointment please feel free to contact us by phone at: (973) 275-2378, or via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu