Remembering Monsignor Francis R. Seymour, KHS (1937-2018)

Monsignor Francis R. Seymour, KHS
Monsignor Francis R. Seymour, KHS

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Monsignor Francis R. Seymour, KHS who served for many years as the first Archivist for the Archdiocese of Newark when he was named to this position in 1969.  He was also a founding member of the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission in 1976 and became Chair of this organization in 2009.  The contributions Monsignor Seymour made to the Monsignor William Noe’ Field Archives & Special Collections Center were many and memorable.  Counted among his most important and lasting works include his careful organization of research files related to the priest community, collecting of important documentation from autographed photographs to memorial cards to parish histories and many other items and objects related to the story of Catholic New Jersey.

It was also in the personal sharing of his knowledge and recollections where he really brought history to life. His memory for details was remarkable and brought both enthusiasm and a gentle touch to his interactions with the many people he touched during the course of his life. On a personal level, Monsignor Seymour will be remembered fondly and missed greatly by the many individuals who and had the privilege to learn from his example and had the privilege to call him a colleague and friend.

Among those associated who treasure his kindness are Tiffany Burns, Assistant to the Dean of University Libraries who remembers “My first job on the SHU campus was as an employee with the Archdiocese of Newark. Monsignor Seymour hired me to process sacramental requests in Archives and Special Collections twice a week. During my time in the Archives my brother passed away suddenly. It was Monsignor who most comforted me with words of kindness and his gentle explanation of the Church’s teaching during the saddest days of my life. I always felt that when Monsignor Seymour entered the room he brought the Lord with him.”

Sarah Ponichtera, Assistant Dean of Special Collections and the Gallery, adds, “Monsignor Seymour was a font of knowledge about the history of the Archdiocese. He knew off the top of his head what would take an average researcher days to track down. His passing is an enormous loss for historians of the university, the Archdiocese, and the region.”

Monsignor Seymour with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, c. 1981
Monsignor Seymour with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, c. 1981

More information about the life and accomplishments of Monsignor Seymour can be found via the official announcement issued by the Archdiocese of Newark.

Alan Delozier, University Archivist

Newark’s Catholic Advocate Now Digitized and Searchable

Printed and microfilm versions of the Catholic Advocate in Seton Hall University Special Collections

Printed and microfilm versions of the Catholic Advocate in Seton Hall University Special Collections

Based on research by Professor Alan Delozier

Selections from the Catholic Advocate, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Newark, have now been digitized in a cooperative project between Seton Hall University’s Special Collections and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA).  The newspaper has been published regularly since 1951; however, the issues selected for this digitization project were limited to the years 1958-1964, the era of the Second Vatican Council, enabling researchers to examine this period and its impact on the Newark Catholic community.  The project digitizes newspapers from around the country, enabling scholars to examine differences and similarities between regions during this period.

Screenshot of Catholic News Archives
Screenshot of Catholic News Archives

Seton Hall Special Collections and University Library staff selected the best quality images to scan and provided description of the materials to allow for the detailed searches that are now possible.  As part of the digitization process, the text was captured using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to allow for keyword searches of the entire text of each article, not just the titles.  If a word or name is mentioned anywhere in an article or even in a photograph caption, it will be found in the powerful search engine used in the portal.  However, because the contents were read by machine, interpretive errors are possible in the text.  Therefore, the public is invited to read and correct the text, and particularly active commentators are acknowledged on the website in a “Hall of Fame.”

Article text interface
Article text interface

The CRRA has digitized many more newspapers as part of its project, including the San Francisco Archdiocese’s Monitor, the Clarion Herald of New Orleans, and the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati, among others.  The project and the construction of the Catholic News Archive website was the recipient of a Catholic Communications Campaign grant from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Student working with online resources
Student working with online resources

The digitized materials are currently being utilized in classes at Seton Hall University.  Professor Alan Delozier, University Archivist, has introduced students to this new resource in his class “New Jersey Catholic Experience,” offered through the Department of Catholic Studies.  Students are able to use this powerful new tool to conduct in-depth research on the history of the Catholic New Jersey community.

The new portal and all of its content can be explored here; the Catholic Advocate content specifically be found here.

Announcing ArchivesSpace!

The Msgr. William Noè Field Archives & Special Collections Center at Walsh Library is excited to announce the launch of its new searchable archival database, ArchivesSpace.

ArchivesSpace screenshotResearchers can now use ArchivesSpace to discover what the Center has in its holdings. Digital archival content will be available through ArchivesSpace in the coming months.

Begin your ArchivesSpace search here!

Click here to browse our digital collections!

Current Exhibits in the Archives & Special Collections Center

Seton Hall University Libraries Archives & Special Collections Center is hosting a pair of exhibits currently on view:

The first is The Newark Uprising of 1967:

This period of civil unrest (between July 12 and July 17, 1967) was a protest by African-American residents in response to various discriminatory practices.  The causes associated with this event can be traced back through a long history of uneasy relations between lawmakers, law enforcement, and local citizens. Click here for more information.

The second is Women of Setonia 1937:

This year marks the 80th anniversary since women first attended lectures or taught courses at Seton Hall.  These trailblazers were part of the now defunct Urban Division established by then College President Monsignor James F. Kelley who provided a more inclusive educational experience for all qualified applicants. Click here for more information.

Seton Hall University Libraries Digitized Collections Technology Plan

Seton Hall University Libraries has just posted its Digitized Collections Technology Plan: 2016-2012.

Our strategic plans goals point to the need for more robust digital collections services, including a digital preservation program to share “selected Seton Hall assets to highlight the University, mission, and depth of resources.” This document addresses the requirements needed to achieve these goals, with the long-term aim of ensuring that born- and created-digital information is accessible and preserved for future access.

“We share with all libraries the responsibility of preserving the cultural and intellectual legacy of human endeavor and knowledge for current and future use, particularly those materials that speak to the University’s history, Catholic mission and tradition of service.”

Second Vatican Council Event Thursday, November 21 in the Chancellor’s Suite

Vatican 2 entrance pass for Msgr. Oesterreicher, mss0053_b53_15_01
Vatican 2 entrance pass for Msgr. Oesterreicher, mss0053_b53_15_01

50 years after the Second Vatican Council, scholars, clergy, and Catholics all over the world are still considering the impact of one of the major Church events of the last century. For those with an interest in religious studies or Church history, this is an important time of discussion, analysis, sharing, and review.

The Department of Catholic Studies has put together the event “Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council: Celebrating the Decree on Ecumenism,” taking place tomorrow, November 21 2013. This afternoon event will feature speakers and a panel discussion on Unitatis redintegratio, the Council’s document on ecumenism. The full program linked above lists the speakers, topics, and timeline, and the main portion of the event will take place from 2:00 p.m.  – 5:00 p.m in the Chancellor’s Suite.

The Archives and Special Collections Center is participating in this special event with a display of collection materials related to the Council. Including materials from the John M. Oesterreicher papers, the George Shea papers, the Martin W. Stanton papers, the Walter W. Curtis papers, and the Mrs. Frank Whitrock scrapbooks, this selection highlights the involvement of some of those from the Archdiocese of Newark who participated in the Council, as well as how those at home saw it unfold. This display shows photographs, Council documents, writings, pamphlets, newsclippings, and invitations from these five collections and is just a small sample of related materials held at the A&SCC. More information can be found in the flyer put together by the Department of Catholic Studies. For more information on research materials related to the Second Vatican Council held by the A&SCC, consult our LibGuide page on Vatican 2 collections.

The A&SCC wishes to thank Dr. Ines Murzako and the entire Department of Catholic Studies as well as Dr. John Buschman, Dean of University Libraries, for inclusion in this event.

Seton Hall contributes to the Newark Archives Project

The Archives and Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University is excited to be a part of the Newark Archives Project (NAP), a comprehensive online database of primary source material related to Newark co-sponsored by the Newark History Society and Rutgers University-Newark.

http://blogs.shu.edu/archives/2013/07/seton-hall-contributes-to-the-newark-archives-project/

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

Thomas and Margaret Melady papers, Mss 0072
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 Plan Your Visit 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.

BOOK DETAILS SESQUICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF UNIVERSITY’S IMMACUALTE CONCEPTION SEMINARY

Author captures events, individuals and spirituality that have marked the growth

(South Orange, NJ) – On Wednesday, April 13, 2011, Monsignor Robert James Wister will mark the publication of his new book, Stewards of the Mysteries of God: Immaculate Conception Seminary, 1860 – 2010, with a signing in the Dean’s Suite of Walsh Library at 3 p.m.

With this new narrative, Wister has provided a detailed, scrupulously researched and well-written historical treatment of the University’s Immaculate Conception Seminary.

“The story of the Seminary is a fascinating study of the religious, political, social, and ethnic history of New Jersey,” says Wister. “No aspect of regional or local history has failed to have an impact on the Seminary, and through its graduates, the Seminary has had a great and positive effect on society in general.”

The major seminary of the Archdiocese of Newark is currently in the midst of celebrating 150 years of forming priests for God’s people, with Sesquicentennial festivities continuing through December 2011. For a complete list of dates and events, visit theology.shu.edu.

“We are approaching a great time in the history of Immaculate Conception Seminary,” says Monsignor Robert Coleman, Rector and Dean. “As one of the very few seminaries founded before the Civil War which continues to serve the Church’s mission today, we rejoice in the great history of these 150 years and are filled with hope and confidence for a future of continued growth and service.”

Founded in 1860 by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, Immaculate Conception Seminary was first known by many as the “Diocesan Seminary” and the “Ecclesiastical Seminary.” A staple of Seton Hall College, its first class consisted of nine enrolled seminarians. Today, its rich and diverse student body represents such countries as Nigeria, Poland, Nicaragua and the United States. Its various academic offerings include a Master of Arts in Theology and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, in addition to its Master of Divinity. In 2007, the Seminary also added a Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Theology to its repertoire, which enrolled 95 students as of last fall.

Though Immaculate Conception Seminary continues to evolve over the passing years, its core focus remains unchanged: to provide the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation needed for priests to serve the Catholic Church.

“It is important to recognize that in the midst of so many challenges in the life of the Church, that the Seminary is a strong and healthy institution that will contribute to moving the Church forward, and bringing God’s Kingdom into the hearts of more people,” says Wister.

During the event, Wister will deliver a slide presentation with images and excerpts from this volume, and copies of the book will be available for purchase and autographs. Light refreshments will be served.

The event is free, and is open to the University community, as well as the general public. For more information, please contact

About Seton Hall University

For 154 years, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership, developing the whole student, mind, heart and spirit. Seton Hall combines the resources of a large university with the personal attention of a small liberal arts college. Its attractive suburban campus is only 14 miles by train, bus or car to New York City, with the wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities the city offers. Seton Hall is a Catholic university that embraces students of all races and religions, challenging each other to better the world through integrity, compassion, and a commitment to serving others. For more information, visit: www.shu.edu.