Object of the Week: Engraving of The Holy Family by Sc. Muller

Image: The Holy Family by Sc. Muller from The Holy Bible, The Latin Vulgate Revised with Annotations by The Right Rev. R. Challoner D.D.
New York:  Thomas Kelly, Publisher, 1879.
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections



“I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of [St. Joseph] which he has failed to grant… To other saints the Lord seems to have given grace to succor us in some of our necessities, but of this glorious saint my experience is that he succors us in them all…”[1]

This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s declaration of Saint Joseph as the patron saint of the Universal Church in 1870. To mark this occasion, Pope Francis proclaimed a special “Year of St. Joseph,” which began on the observance of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 2020 and will conclude on this same feast day in 2021.[2]  Additionally, the annual Feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated at this time of year.  Veneration of Saint Joseph began in ancient Egypt, though Pope Sixtus IV officially recognized this custom around 1479.[3]

Saint Joseph is revered as a loving and tender father to Jesus and protector of Mary.  Called by God to serve the mission of Jesus, he “cooperated… in the great mystery of Redemption,” as Saint John Paul II said, “and is truly a minister of salvation.”  He encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, and to show special concern for the disadvantaged.[4]  Joseph’s compassionate nature is expressed in the above engraving by Sc. Muller in The Holy Bible, published in 1879 by Thomas Kelly Publishers, just nine years after Saint Joseph achieved sainthood. Prior to the 19th century, iconography of the Holy Family would often depict Joseph in the background, shrouded in shadows.  After Joseph’s elevation to sainthood, portrayals of the Holy Family included him as an integral part of the subject and composition – as shown in Muller’s interpretation.[5]  Saint Joseph’s attributes are the lily and spikenard, an aromatic oil.[6]

Engraved image of Pope Pius IX
Engraved image of Pope Pius IX – from The Holy Bible, The Latin Vulgate

Saint Joseph is the patron of tradesmen and workers, travelers and refugees, the persecuted, families and homes, purity and interior life, engaged couples, people in distress due to insecurity related to food, home or clothing, as well as sickness, the poor, aged and dying.[7]  On his feast day, many attend church services in his honor. Cultures throughout the world celebrate Saint Joseph’s feast day in a variety of ways. In Spain and Portugal, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph coincides with Father’s Day, generating visits to fathers and father figures.  In some areas, traditional observances include the wearing of special richly colored outfits which might be worn to a parade in Saint Joseph’s honor. In the coastal city of Valencia, Spain, people make elaborate, publicly displayed papier-mâché scenes which are then burned to the ground in a celebration of creativity, mortality and rebirth known as Las Fallas.[8] Sicily has its own rich traditions for the Saint Joseph’s Feast Day.  In Palermo, people organize huge bonfires known as “Vampa” in the city’s piazzas. Many towns organize moving processions accompanied by the singing of prayers and songs. Sicilians also set a Saint Joseph’s table, an altar with special foods, flowers and devotional objects to praise and give thanks.[9]  Polish families set up a Saint Joseph’s table decorated with red and white to symbolize both their country and Saint Joseph. These tables include holy cards and candles, as well as meatless foods in observance of Lent.  Polish hymns are also recited.[10] Some in the Philippines maintain ritual banquet customs in which community members are chosen as representatives of Saint Joseph, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. The three participants are fed an opulent feast during which hymns are sung.[11]  Contemporaneous celebrations in the Philippines are more overtly altruistic, and include volunteering to feed the poor, homeless and the hungry.[12]

In his recent Apostolic Letter, Patris corde (“with a father’s heart”), Pope

Decorative page from The Holy Bible, The Latin Vulgate
page from The Holy Bible, The Latin Vulgate

Francis characterizes Saint Joseph as “a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.”  On the occasion of this Saint Joseph Feast Year, Pope Francis urges us to see the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”[13]  Pope Francis’ letter concludes with a prayer to Saint Joseph, which he encourages us to pray together:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil.  Amen.


The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476. 



[1] Teresa, and E. Allison Peers. Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2010.

[2] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-12/pope-francis-proclaims-year-of-st-joseph.html, accessed 3/9/2021.

[3] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Joseph, accessed 3/9/2021.

[4] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-12/pope-francis-proclaims-year-of-st-joseph.html, accessed 3/9/2021.

[5] https://www.christianiconography.info/holyFamily.html, accessed 3/9/2021.

[6]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Joseph#:~:text=Joseph%20is%20venerated%20as%20Saint,associated%20with%20various%20feast%20days, accessed 3/9/2021.

[7] https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1050, accessed 3/9/2021.

[8] https://www.worldtravelguide.net/features/feature/las-fallas-burning-valencia-to-the-ground/, accessed 3/9/2021.

[9] https://www.scent-of-sicily.com/news/st-josephs-day-traditions-in-sicily/, accessed 3/9/2021.

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Joseph%27s_Day, accessed 3/9/2021.

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Joseph%27s_Day, accessed 3/9/2021.

[12] http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Manila:-feast-day-of-St-Joseph-for-the-poor-33765.html, accessed 3/9/2021.

[13] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-12/pope-francis-proclaims-year-of-st-joseph.html, accessed 3/9/2021.

Object of the Week: Image from “Mobilizing Woman Power” by Harriot Stanton Blatch

Image from:   Harriot Stanton Blatch
Mobilizing Woman Power.
New York:  The Womans (sic) Press, 1918.



Since 1995, successive Presidents of the United States have issued annual proclamations to honor women each March for Women’s History Month.[1]  What had begun in 1978 as a local celebration with students in Santa Rosa, California has become a national acknowledgment of the roles, accomplishments and contributions of women in society.[2]  The foundation of these celebrations is rooted in International Women’s Day which has been observed annually on March 8 since the turn of the 20th century.[3]

This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Title page from the book "Mobilizing Woman Power"Refusing to be Silenced” in recognition of the centennial anniversary of the Suffrage Movement and the passage of the 19th Amendment which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote.  On this occasion, women-centered institutions, organizations, and scholars from across the United States work to ensure this anniversary, and the 72-year fight to achieve it, are commemorated and celebrated nationally.[4]


Harriot Eaton Stanton Blatch played a pivotal role in the fight for women’s voting rights. Page from the book "Mobilizing Women Power" The daughter of famous suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Henry B. Stanton, an abolitionist, politician and journalist, Blatch was uniquely positioned to champion the cause.[5]   Though Blatch dedicated herself to women’s suffrage, she was also concerned with broader related issues of women’s economic power, independence and enfranchisement.[6]  She wrote many books articulating her thoughts on the suffrage movement and the implications of free women in society. Some of the images in this blog post are from her book “Mobilizing Woman Power” published in 1918.  The book emphasizes women’s contributions to World War I, which ended the year Blatch’s book was published.  The volume focuses on women’s sacrifice for the war effort as well as their disenfranchisement.[7]  That same year in the United Kingdom, where Blatch had lived for 20 years previously, women were granted the right to vote in Parliamentary Elections.[8]  Labor strikes and movements made news around the world, and the Bolshevik Revolution spurred further momentum for women’s and labor rights.

These global events did not go unnoticed in the United States.  With more women in the work force due to industrialization and the war effort, Blatch’s ideas gained traction with the larger public.  In another interesting note about her book, the foreword was written by Theodore Roosevelt, a strong ally and visible partner for women’s rights since 1912.  In the New York State Assembly, the trail-blazing Roosevelt introduced a bill to punish perpetrators of domestic violence against women and appointed women to executive positions in the government.[9]

Image of Blatch giving a speech in Union Square, NYC
Harriot Stanton Blatch addressing Union Square suffrage meeting, photomechanical print
Library of Congress, National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division (26,530)

Blatch also contributed a 100-page chapter to the book “History of Women’s Suffrage” on the subject of Lucy Stone’s American Woman Suffrage Association[10].  The organization was considered a rival to the National Woman Suffrage Association, founded by her mother and social reformer, Susan B. Anthony[11]. The volume was produced collectively by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Ida Husted Harper.[12] Published in six volumes from 1881 to 1922, it is a history of the women’s suffrage movement, primarily in the United States.

Blatch speaking to crowds at Wall Street, NYC
Harriot Stanton Blatch speaking to large crowd of men, Wall Street, New York City.
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

The outspoken Harriot Eaton Stanton Blatch was affiliated with both the Women’s Trade Union League and her mother’s National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1907, she founded the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women. Under her leadership the league enrolled thousands of working women who had never considered themselves political or rebellious.  The burgeoning suffrage movement resulted in large, open-air meetings at which Blatch orated on the cause.  On May 21, 1910, a mass parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City publicized the campaign, the first of many such public demonstrations which brought more visibility and support to the cause of women’s rights.[13]   In her later years Blatch worked tirelessly for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), first drafted in 1923 by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman and introduced in Congress in December 1923.  Still not ratified into law, The ERA is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. It seeks to end the legal distinctions between men and women in matters of divorce, property, employment, and other matters.[14]  Blatch, who lived until November 20, 1940 would not see the passage of this amendment which has yet to be ratified over 80 years after her death.


The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476. 


[1] https://www.womenshistory.org/womens-history/womens-history-month, accessed 3/2/2021.

[2] https://www.etonline.com/womens-history-month-how-it-started-and-how-to-celebrate-161258, accessed 3/2/2021.

[3] https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Activity/15586/The-history-of-IWD, accessed 3/2/2021.

[4] https://www.2020centennial.org/, accessed 3/2/2021.

[5] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Harriot-Eaton-Stanton-Blatch, accessed 3/2/2021.

[6] https://www.amazon.com/Harriot-Stanton-Blatch-Winning-Suffrage/dp/0300080689, accessed 3/2/2021.

[7] https://www.loc.gov/item/18012004/, accessed 3/2/2021.

[8] https://www.theguardian.com/gnmeducationcentre/2018/feb/05/womens-suffrage-february-1918-first-women-gain-right-to-vote-in-parliamentary-elections, accessed 3/2/2021.

[9] https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/tr-gable/, accessed 3/2/2021.

[10] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Harriot-Eaton-Stanton-Blatch, accessed 3/2/2021.

[11] http://www.crusadeforthevote.org/nwsa-organize, accessed 3/3/2021.

[12] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Woman_Suffrage, accessed 3/3/2021.

[13] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Harriot-Eaton-Stanton-Blatch, accessed 3/3/2021.

[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Rights_Amendment, accessed 3/3/2021.

Object of the Week: Image from “The Bible and Its Story” by Josephine Pollard

Image from: Josephine Pollard
The Bible and Its Story
New York: Ward and Drummond, 1889



“My Jesus, I accept all the crosses, all the contradictions, all the adversities that the Father has destined for me. May the unction of Thine grace give me strength to bear these crosses with the submission of which Thou gavest us the example in receiving Thine for us. May I never seek my glory save in the sharing of Thine sufferings!”[1]

Lent is a period of fasting, prayer and giving.  At this time, we remember the importance of opening our hearts to God’s love and one another.  This year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is especially important to care for those who are suffering or to reassure those who are fearful.[2]  These practices improve our spiritual well-being.  By stripping away what is unnecessary, we become more mindful of how God is working in our lives.[3]  Against this backdrop of spiritual reflection and acts of care, the natural cycles of life continue, and winter slowly yields to spring. Days are getting longer, songbirds are returning and the trees are showing the first signs of budding.  Nature shows us there is promise and hope amidst the pain. Similarly, Lent invites us into a 40-day journey of renewed faith, hope, love, discovery and recovery on the worldly and spiritual planes.[4]

The cross is perhaps the most powerful and recognizable symbol of Christianity, especially during the Easter season for its significance Image of Jesus carrying a Crosswith Jesus’ crucifixion. For Christians, the cross symbolizes Christ’s victory over sin and death and God’s love.[5] The engraved images in this post are taken from a rare book in the university’s Department of Archives and Special Collections.  Published in 1889 and authored by Josephine Pollard, “The Bible and Its Story” contains many detailed illustrations including these of Jesus bearing the cross.

Pollard was an American author, hymn writer and poet.  She was born in New York City in 1834 and was educated at the Spingler Institute for Girls in New York[6].  The school was founded by Gorham Dummer Abbott, an American clergyman, educator, and author who seemingly had a profound impact on her life.[7]  Both Pollard and Abbott were dedicated to education, as well as their shared Christian faith and writing.  Abbott also influenced Matthew Vassar, founder of the eponymously named college which was the second degree-granting institution of higher education for women in the United States.[8]

Pollard was a founding member of Sorosis, a professional organization of women founded “to promote ‘mental activity and pleasant social intercourse,’ and in spite of a severe fire of hostile criticism and misrepresentation, it has evinced a sturdy vitality, and really demonstrated its right to exist by a large amount of beneficent work. … These ladies pledged themselves to work for the release of women from the disabilities which debar them from a due participation in the rewards of industrial and professional labour … I believe it has been the stepping-stone to useful public careers, and the source of inspiration to many ladies.”[9]

Black and white portrait of Josephine Pollard
Portrait of Josephine Pollard – Buffalo Electrotype and Engraving Co., Buffalo, N.Y, – http://www.librarything.com/pic/147520

Early members of Sorosis were participants in varied professions and political reform movements such as abolitionism, suffrage, prison reform, temperance and peace. The organization expanded into local chapters beyond New York City in the early twentieth century and the various divisions went on to organize war relief efforts during both World Wars. Peacetime activities included philanthropy (such as support for funding the MacDowell Colony), scholarship funds, and social reforms (such as literary training for immigrant women). In later years, Sorosis focused its activities on local projects, raising money for the aid of other women’s clubs, funding scholarships for women, and aiding local rescue missions.

Image of Jesus carrying the crossThough she died at the age of 57, the trailblazing Josephine Pollard left behind an extensive legacy of books, hymns and poems, as well as a history of activism that reverberates today through educational and professional opportunities for students and women in the form of scholarships and residencies.  Pollard’s hymns remain popular as well and continue to inspire congregants.  One of Pollard’s best-known hymns is “I Stood Outside the Gate.”  Intended for the Lenten season, its words remind us of Jesus’ mercy and his sacrifice for humanity:

“In Mercy’s guise I knew
The Savior long abused,
Who often sought my heart,
And wept when I refused;
Oh, what a blest return
For all my years of sin!
I stood outside the gate,
And Jesus let me in.”[10] 


The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476. 



[1] Marmion, Dom Columba. Christ in His Mysteries: A Spiritual Guide Through the Liturgical Year. Leominster: Gracewing Publishing, 2016.

[2] https://catholicphilly.com/2021/02/lent2021/pope-francis-lenten-message-a-time-to-renew-faith-hope-love/, accessed 2/24/2021.

[3] https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/25-great-things-you-can-do-for-lent, accessed 2/24/2021.

[4] https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/young-voices/season-renewal-recovery-discovery, accessed 2/25/2021.

[5] https://omaha.com/special_sections/from-lilies-to-lambs-easter-symbols-hold-special-significance-for-christians/article_fe75f253-6966-55c7-958053acdd014f89.html#:~:text=The%20cross%20is%20perhaps%20the,humiliation%20in%20the%20Roman%20Empire, accessed 2/25/2021.

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Pollard, accessed 2/25/2021.

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorham_Dummer_Abbott#Biography, accessed 2/25/2021.

[8] https://www.vassar.edu/about/, accessed 2/25/2021.

[9] Faithfull, Emily (1884). Three Visits to America. New York: Fowler & Wells Co., Publishers. pp. 18–21.

[10] https://hymnary.org/text/i_stood_outside_the_gate, accessed 2/25/2021.

Object of the Week: “Far Away and Long Ago” by William Henry Hudson

William Henry Hudson
“Far Away and Long Ago”
Printed for members of the Limited Editions Club by Guillermo Kraft ltda., Buenos Aires:  1943.


Library Lover’s Month is dedicated to the people who love whole buildings devoted to the reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying, preserving and otherwise loving books.[1]  Libraries are sanctuaries, offering safe spaces for study, reflection and enjoyment.  Libraries indulge our desire to acquire knowledge – they are essentially ‘places of information.’[2]  When we think about libraries, we often think about a building brimming with shelves of books on all topics.   However, there is more to libraries than just books.  They are community hubs supported by librarians who fulfill multiple roles as information experts, subject matter specialists, program organizers, educators, community builders and partners in research. Seton Hall University contains a number of libraries across its three campuses including the Walsh Library, Interprofessional Health Sciences Library, Valente Italian Library, Turro Seminary Library and Law Library.  The Walsh Library also houses the Department of Archives and Special Collections and the Walsh Gallery which care for rare books, manuscripts, art and artifacts and hosts spaces for exhibitions, programs and displays.[3]

The book featured in this post, “Far Away and Long Ago” by William Henry Hudson, recollects the author’s early life, between the ages of four and twelve, which were spent in Argentina.  It is part of the Rare Book

Image of William Henry Hudson
Portrait of William Henry Hudson by Raúl Rosarivo from “Far Away and Long Ago”

Collection, housed in the Department of Archives and Special Collections. This limited-edition book had a run of just fifteen hundred copies and was designed by Alberto Kraft.  The volume in the Seton Hall Archives is signed by Kraft and illustrator Raúl Rosarivo.  This edition is bound in cowhide with undressed leather on the lower portion and features laced edges. [4]  The materials used in the binding reflect William Henry Hudson’s childhood, much of which was spent in the rugged pampas of Argentina, where his parents raised sheep, though the region is known for its free-ranging cattle.  These formative experiences in nature would profoundly impact his future.  As an adult, Hudson would achieve recognition as an author, naturalist, and ornithologist.  He was lauded for his exotic romances, especially “Green Mansions” which was published in 1904.  “Far Away and Long Ago” lovingly recounts his childhood — roaming the pampas at liberty, studying the plant and animal life, and observing both natural and human phenomena on the harsh frontier.  At age 15, he suffered an illness which would impact his health adversely for the remainder of his life.  Around this period of infirmity, he read Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species” which reaffirmed his interest in the natural world.[5]

Illustration of a man by Raúl Rosarivo from “Far Away and Long Ago”
Illustration by Raúl Rosarivo from “Far Away and Long Ago”

Though William Henry Hudson may not be a household name today, he had many admirers in his time.  In 1934, renowned author Ernest Hemingway wrote a list of book recommendations to a young, aspiring writer. It included William Henry Hudson’s “Far Away and Long Ago” in addition to books by celebrated authors such as Stephen Crane, e.e. cummings, Leo Tolstoy, Emily Bronte, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and James Joyce.[6]  Hudson’s book was also among the objects auctioned from The Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan at Christie’s auction house in 2016.[7]  Praise for Hudson’s writing consistently mentions his palpable imagery, as was noted in this thoughtful review on amazon.com:

“This book was like knocking on an old friend’s door, being welcomed in and settling in front of a fire with a glass of something in one’s hand. The author then talks, gently and beautifully, weaving this picture of his early life. He brings his characters to life and describes the birds and other creatures so well, I felt as if I was there with him, every time I picked up the book to read. A gentle lovely story of a young boy’s steps from childhood.” – L.M. Gainsford[8]


The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476. 


[1] http://www.librarysupport.net/librarylovers/, accessed 2/16/2021.

[2] http://www.ilovelibraries.org/what-libraries-do, accessed 2/16/2021.

[3] https://library.shu.edu/home accessed 2/16/2021, accessed 2/16/2021.

[4] http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?vid=4&sid=b64ff686-5122-4343-b1c9-852f6588dd78%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZzaXRlPWVkcy1saXZl#AN=sth.ocn542094967&db=cat00991a, accessed 2/16/2021.

[5] https://www.britannica.com/biography/W-H-Hudson, accessed 2/16/2021.

[6] https://www.openculture.com/2013/05/ernest_hemingways_reading_list_for_a_young_writer_1934.html, accessed 2/16/2021.

[7] https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-limited-editions-club-hudson-wh-far-6018661/?lid=1&from=relatedlot&intobjectid=6018661, accessed 2/16/2021.

[8] https://www.amazon.com/Far-Away-Long-Ago-Childhood/dp/0907871747, accessed 2/16/2021.

Object of the Week: Mangbetu Effigy Jug

Mangbetu Effigy Jug (reproduction)
Teaching Collection – Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology Collection
Courtesy of the Walsh Gallery



This year’s annual celebration of African American History Month is anchored by the theme “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” which focuses on the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the United States.  This reproduction from Seton Hall University’s Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology is from the Mangbetu peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.  Like other Central and West African groups in the United States, the first Congolese arrived in the Americas as enslaved people during the transatlantic slave trade which endured from the 16th to the 19th century.    Congolese people were often taken to locales in Louisiana and South Carolina.  People from West and Central African regions comprised almost 40% of enslaved peoples in the Americas.[1]

Mangbetu refers to an amalgam of linguistically and culturally related people in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The group includes the Mangbetu, Meegye, Makere, Malele, Popoi and Abelu. These groups share the common language known as Kingbetu.[2]  Beginning in the 1960s, a new influx of voluntary immigrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo arrived in the United States, primarily to pursue an education.  Immigration from the country to the United States rose again in the 1990s.  However, this time, Congolese people arrived as refugees due to civil conflicts, violence and economic hardship.[3]  The United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees reports that between 2008 and 2013, approximately 11,000 Congolese refugees arrived in the United States, settling primarily in Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, and New York.[4]

Despite this fraught history, the Mangbetu have held fast to many of their rich cultural traditions.  They are especially known for their pottery, metal work and as makers of musical instruments.  Women potters would have been the primary makers of effigy jugs like this figurative vessel with its characteristic dark, burnished surface.  Though the Mangbetu still make jugs like these, they are now sold to tourists and art collectors rather than used in daily life. [5]  The elaborate coiffure depicted on this jug is characteristic of a traditional Mangbetu woman and is not idealized.

Contemporary Ivory Coast artist Laetitia Ky is inspired by traditional hair styles from African peoples such as the Mangbetu.  Her art is a fusion of hair, design and sculpture.  Ky ‘sculpts’ her hair into the traditional forms she finds in archival images of African women.  Ky then photographs her style and juxtaposes her image next to the historic photograph that inspired her.  She also teaches “Ky-braid” workshops to teach others how to style their hair in traditional African ways.  Ky uses hair as a form of social justice – merging cultural and feminine pride while bringing awareness to issues such as violence against women, gender parity, colonialism and bullying.  Ky uses her TikTok and Twitter accounts to reach the public.[6]


Laetitia Ky (left) with archival image of an unknown Mangbetu woman that inspired her.

This video shows an array of hairstyles from Africa such as the types that Ky is inspired by.  You can see the Mangbetu hairstyle similar to the effigy jug around the 3:30 timestamp in this celebration of hair.


The Walsh Gallery has a considerable collection of fine art, artifacts and archeological specimens for use by faculty, students and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, contact us at 973-275-2033 or walshgallery@shu.edu to make a research appointment. 



[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade, accessed 1/26/2021.

[2] https://thisisafrica.me/african-identities/mangbetu-people-drc/, accessed 1/26/2021.

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congolese_Americans#cite_note-Africansdescend-11, accessed 1/25/2021.

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/profiles/congolese/population-movements/index.html, accessed 1/25/2021.

[5] https://spectrumartsincblog.com/2015/07/25/the-mangbetu-people-and-their-pottery/, accessed 1/25/2021.

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laetitia_Ky, accessed 2/8/2021.

Object of the Week: Akabeko (Ox or Cow Toy)

Akabeko (Ox or Cow toy)
Painted and lacquered papier-mâché
3 ¾” H x 5 ְ⅝” W x 1 ⅞” D
Fukushima, Japan
Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology Collection




The Lunar New Year is primarily celebrated in Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Tibet and Mongolia.  The festival has different names depending upon the country.  It is called Tết in Vietnam and Losar in Tibet.  The Lunar New Year represents new beginnings regardless of the region or country, though each region’s traditions vary.  The holiday occurs on the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar, which lasts roughly 354 days and is traditional to many east Asian countries, in contrast to the 365 day Gregorian calendar used in the United States. Traditionally, the festival was a ceremonial day to pray to gods and ancestors for a good planting and harvest season. The three main themes of the holiday are fortune, happiness, and health.

Each new year is associated with an animal sign from the zodiac.  The Lunar New Year marks the transition from one animal to the next and each has its own attributes. In order, the zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.[1]  This year, 2021, is the Year of the Ox.  If you were born in an Ox year, you are diligent, dependable, strong and determined.  Oxen have traditional, conservative characteristics.[2]  If you would like to know what your zodiac animal is, you can look it up on this chart[3]:

Chart with the zodiac animals and which years in the past and future coincide with each animal

Unlike other Asian countries, Japan no longer celebrates Lunar New Year. In 1873, during the Meiji Restoration – the political revolution – Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar to put the country in step with the West.  Initially, this break with the traditional lunisolar calendar was strongly opposed.  Many Japanese continued to celebrate the Lunar New Year well into the 20th century, especially in rural areas. Eventually, the lunisolar calendar faded completely from daily life in Japan.[4] Today, the New Year in Japan is celebrated on December 31 and is known as Ōmisoka.[5]

Image of the Enzoji Temple, Japan
Enzoji Temple, Japan

Though Japan no longer celebrates the Lunar New Year as a whole, there are vestiges of the traditional celebration that hold fast.  “Little New Year,” or Koshōgatsu, is celebrated on January 15. For the New Year’s breakfast, it is still customary to eat azukigayu (rice porridge) with sweet, red azuki beans. In the past, after eating this meal, a divination ritual would then be performed by placing bamboo cylinders in the remaining porridge and leaving them overnight. The more rice that was stuck inside the cylinders the following morning, the better the harvest would be that year.  Today, some temples and shrines still perform the traditional divination rituals.[6]  Another custom that is held over from traditional Lunar New Year celebrations is to make and eat rice cakes (mochi).[7]

The object of the week is an ox is from the Seton Hall Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. This toy is known as Akabeko (赤べこ), a legendary cow[8] from Japan, said to have helped build the famous Enzoji Buddhist Temple. It is one of the three main temples dedicated to Kokuzo Bosatsu, a bodhisattva whose wisdom was said to be as expansive as the universe.  The toy is made out of two pieces of wood covered with

Life-size akabeko outside the Enzoji Temple in Fukushima Prefecture
Life-size akabeko outside the Enzoji Temple in Fukushima Prefecture

papier-mâché, shaped and painted to look like a red cow or ox. One piece comprises the cow’s head and neck and the other, its body. The head and neck hang from a string which runs through the hollow body so that when the toy is moved, the head bobs up and down and side to side. The earliest akabeko toys were created in the late 16th or early 17th century.[9]    Today, the toy has become a symbol of the Fukushima Prefecture where the Enzoji Temple is located[10].

The Walsh Gallery has a considerable collection of fine art, artifacts and archeological specimens for use by faculty, students and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, contact us at 973-275-2033 or walshgallery@shu.edu to make a research appointment. 



[1] https://chinesenewyear.net/zodiac/, accessed 1/28/2021.

[2] https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/ox.htm, accessed 1/28/2021.

[3] https://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/zodiac/, accessed 1/28/2021.

[4] https://www.cheng-tsui.com/blog/why-doesn%E2%80%99t-japan-celebrate-the-lunar-new-year, accessed 2/3/2021.

[5] https://www.cheng-tsui.com/blog/why-doesn%E2%80%99t-japan-celebrate-the-lunar-new-year, accessed 2/3/2021.

[6] https://www.cheng-tsui.com/blog/why-doesn%E2%80%99t-japan-celebrate-the-lunar-new-year, accessed 2/3/2021.

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_New_Year, accessed 2/3/2021.

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akabeko, accessed 2/1/2021.

[9] https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7712.html, accessed 2/1/2021.

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akabeko, accessed 2/1/2021.

Object of the Week: Guro Mask

Guro Mask (reproduction)
Teaching Collection – Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology Collection
Courtesy of the Walsh Gallery



This year’s theme for African American History Month is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.”  This theme illuminates the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the United States.  This mask, from Seton Hall University’s Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, is from the Guro (also Gouro) People of the Ivory Coast in West Africa.   This region of the continent was profoundly affected by the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  An estimated 12 to 12.8 million forced migrations of African people took place over the course of more than 400 years.  Those who survived the passage were enslaved in Europe and the Americas.[1]

Despite this trauma, West Africans and African Americans have retained many customs from their respective cultures.  Music and dance are two of the most prevalent ways humanity connects with the past, and masks are a powerful and important part of these traditions in West Africa.  In many African cultures, including the Guro, masks are potent instruments of unity, family and community.[2]  Used in traditional ceremonies and rites such as funerals, weddings and festivals, the masks are activated through music and dance, playing an important role in honoring ancestors and providing community members with palpable links to the past.[3]

Guro dancer performing
Guro Dancer performing
Courtesy of Danse traditionnelle du du centre-ouest de la Côte d’Ivoire (Zaouli) à la cérémonie de la flamme de la paix à Bouaké.
Feb 25, 2008
Courtesy of Zenman

In West Africa, secret societies are an important part of community life.   The Guro societies are called Je for females and Kne for males.  Only members of these secret societies may wear masks and perform in rituals honoring ancestors.[4]  Chika Okeke-Agula, a West African performer/curator/artist and art historian explained, “When fully activated, masks become ‘spirits made tangible’.”[5]  The mask provides an entry into the spirit world to channel the divine, summon ancestral wisdom, escort the departed, accompany initiates, reaffirm societal values, venerate the living, and to mark the natural cycles of existence, from birth to death, season to season.​[6]  The ceremonies in which masks are used are called ‘masquerades’ – interventions between the world of the living and the world of the ancestors. During masquerades, the full powers of the masks are released.[7]

The video below from UNESCO shows a masked Guro dancer wearing traditional clothing.  Dances are energetic and marked by quick footwork, accompanied by drumming and elaborate costumes.  This traditional music and dance known as Zaouli[8] plays an educational, playful and aesthetic role, contributes to environmental preservation, conveys the cultural identity of its bearers and promotes integration and social cohesion among community members.[9]

The Walsh Gallery has a considerable collection of fine art, artifacts and archeological specimens for use by faculty, students and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, contact us at 973-275-2033 or walshgallery@shu.edu to make a research appointment. 


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade#:~:text=Slaves%20were%20imprisoned%20in%20a,a%20span%20of%20400%20years, accessed 1/21/2021.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaouli, accessed 1/21/2021.

[3] https://www.africancraftsmarket.com/products/african-masks/African-Guro-mask.html, accessed 1/21/2021.

[4] https://kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com/2014/06/guro-gouro-people-artistic-mande-mask.html, accessed 1/25/2021.

[5] https://www.culturesofwestafrica.com/west-african-mask/, accessed 1/26/2021.

[6] Binkley DA. Masks and Masquerades. In: Peek PM, Yankah K, eds. African Folklore: An Encyclopedia. New York, NY, USA: Routledge; 2004:479-485.

[7] Akubor EO. Africans’ concept of masquerades and their role in societal control and stability: Some notes on the Esan people of southern Nigeria. Asian and African Studies. 2016;25(1):32-50.

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaouli, accessed 1/26/2021.

[9] https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/zaouli-popular-music-and-dance-of-the-guro-communities-in-cote-divoire-01255, accessed 1/26/2021.

Object of the Week: Seton Hall College School Bell

Seton Hall College School Bell
Meneely Bell Foundry
Gift of the Seton Hall University Alumni Association
Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University



This mid-19th century bronze bell was originally located at the Seton Hall College campus in Madison, New Jersey. In the late 1960s, Dr. Louis de Crenascol, Chair of the Department of Art and Music, saw it for sale in an antique shop in nearby Summit.  The bell was purchased through an arrangement between Dr. de Crenascol, Norbert Kubilus – President of the Society for the Preservation of Setonia—and John L. Botti – Executive Secretary of the Alumni Association—and brought to Seton Hall University where it hung in the McLaughlin Library until the building was razed in the 1990s to make way for Jubilee Hall.  The bell then moved to the current Walsh Library and is presently on view in the Reading Room of the Department of Archives and Special Collections.[1]  The bell was manufactured by Meneely’s of Troy, New York, a foundry which was known for making school bells of 100 pounds or more.[2]

Bronze bells such as this one were commonly used in America from the 19th century until the mid-20th century and were rung to mark important times for students and teachers, such as to signal the beginning or end of the school day, classes or lunch breaks. They were intended to carry sound over a wide area in a world largely without clocks, wrist watches or cell phones to keep track of time.  For this reason, bronze, with its resonant qualities, was the metal of choice.[3]  Today, the old bronze school bell has largely been displaced by electric buzzers, public address (P.A.) systems or music.[4]   You can hear what the Seton Hall College bell might sound like by listening to this sound sample of a similar Meneely Bell of the period below.[5]

School house bells were often sold ready for installation, bundled with a frame, wheel and wood sills.  If you look closely at the image of Seton Hall

Diagram of the parts of a bell
Figure 1. https://www.pinterest.com/cpbellfoundry/_created/

College’s bell above, you will see horizontal arms that would have been attached to the frame to support the bell.  Bells would be placed in the upper part of a belfry, or belltower, with a rope hung from the wheel. School bells were typically between 20 and 28 inches across to produce a slightly higher pitch than church bells which, would have been larger to peal with a deeper sound. This detail regarding size and tone was important.  The public had to be able to distinguish between school, civic and church bells to avoid confusion.[6]

Church, clock and tower bells are also used to communicate with the public to commemorate important events such as the swearing in of an official or state leader, or religious rites including marriage and death.  Bells are frequently associated with the concepts of peace and freedom, but they can also mark specific times on a clock or serve as a percussive musical

Image of red and white mid-19th century schoolhouse with belfry
Image of mid-19th century schoolhouse with belfry in Maysville, Colorado. Courtesy of Jeffrey Beal, Colorado, USA. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maysville_School_(6287064191).jpg

instrument.  The earliest archaeological evidence of bells dates from the 3rd millennium B.C.E. in the Yang Shao culture of Neolithic China.[7]  Bells figure prominently in the public imagination, especially literary works.  The Guardian has compiled a list of the 10 Best Bells in Literature. The list includes stories such as Macbeth by William Shakespeare, The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe and Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo.  Check out the full list to see how many you have read.


The Walsh Gallery has a considerable collection of fine art, artifacts and archeological specimens for use by faculty, students and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, contact us at 973-275-2033 or walshgallery@shu.edu to make a research appointment. 


[1] Interview with Alan Delozier by Meghan Brady, 10/08/2020.

[2] https://antiques.lovetoknow.com/collectibles/antique-school-house-bells accessed 1/19/2021

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell#:~:text=The%20earliest%20archaeological%20evidence%20of,bells%20appear%20in%201000%20BC. Accessed 1/19/2021

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_bell, accessed 1/19/2021.

[5] http://www.brosamersbells.com/hear.html, accessed 1/19/2021.

[6] https://antiques.lovetoknow.com/collectibles/antique-school-house-bells, accessed 1/19/2021.

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell#:~:text=The%20earliest%20archaeological%20evidence%20of,bells%20appear%20in%201000%20BC, accessed 1/19/2021.

Object of the Week: Civil Defense Medical Corp Armband

Civil Defense Medical Corp Armband
embroidered textile
mid-20th century
Leonard Dreyfuss papers
MSS 0001
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections



            First observed in January 1970, National Blood Donor Month brings attention to the heightened need for blood and platelet donations in the winter months, typically the most difficult time of the year to meet

Notice of Re-Appointment to Board of Directors, The American Red Cross – Newark Chapter, January 26, 1943, Leonard Dreyfuss papers, MSS 0001, Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections.
Notice of Re-Appointment to Board of Directors
The American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
January 26, 1943
Leonard Dreyfuss papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

patients’ needs for these products.  Inclement weather and the onset of flu season shrinks the donor pool while demand increases.[1]  Though COVID-19 has altered our daily lives, hospitals and clinics still serve patients in need of blood transfusions. COVID-19 has forced many health care facilities to serve patients at a different capacity by temporarily closing clinics and suspending elective services and procedures or shifting to virtual care in many cases. Yet the need for blood still exists to perform transfusions in most emergent cases, such as traumas, cancer patients, orthopedic surgeries, and many others.  Unfortunately, while the need for blood is growing, fewer people are donating presently.[2]

Did you know that one in seven hospital patients will use blood?  Or that one in 83 births will require a blood transfusion?  If you know someone who has cancer, is pregnant, or has sickle-cell disease, then you might know someone who may need blood.  On December 31, 1969 President Richard Nixon proclaimed January 1970 as the first official observance of National Blood Donor Month as requested by Senate Joint Resolution 154, to

Certificate of Merit from American Red Cross – Newark Chapter 1943 Leonard Dreyfuss papers MSS 0001 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections
Certificate of Merit from American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
Leonard Dreyfuss Papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

pay tribute to voluntary blood donors and encourage new donors.[3]  The American Red Cross provides roughly 35% of donated blood in the United States, while community-based organizations provide 60% and the remaining 5% of the blood supply is collected directly by hospitals.[4]  The American Red Cross was founded in Dansville, New York in 1881 by Clara Barton, who served as a nurse during the American Civil War.[5]

These objects are from the Leonard Dreyfuss Collection on deposit at the university’s Archives and Special Collections.  Leonard Dreyfuss served as Chair of the Newark Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1956 to 1960, and was distinguished as an honorary director of the of the chapter for life.[6]  He also volunteered for the New Jersey Civil Defense which was formed by legislation in 1942 “to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of New Jersey and to aid in the prevention of damage to and the destruction of property during any emergency.”[7] Dreyfuss also served as a trustee of the Newark Museum and the advisory board at Seton Hall University, which awarded him an honorary degree in 1950. Leonard Dreyfuss was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 6, 1886.  In 1914, he joined the Newark Sign Company – an outdoor sign

Christmas Roll Call Acknowledgement Letter American Red Cross – Newark Chapter January 12, 1919 Leonard Dreyfuss papers MSS 0001 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections
Christmas Roll Call Acknowledgement Letter
American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
January 12, 1919
Leonard Dreyfuss papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

advertising firm.  After 1923, he led a highly successful merger with several advertising companies which became known as U.A.C.  Dreyfuss rapidly moved up the executive ladder, becoming Vice President, President and finally, Chairman of the Board before retiring in 1965.  Leonard Dreyfuss died on December 29, 1969 in Essex Fells, New Jersey. [8]

The Leonard Dreyfus Papers show the namesake’s commitment to service, particularly his efforts with the Civil Defense and Newark Chapter of the American Red Cross. These materials are available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access, set up a research appointment online or contact us at 973-761-9476.


[1] https://www.few.org/national-blood-donor-month/ accessed 1/12/2021

[2] https://news.llu.edu/patient-care/why-giving-blood-necessary-during-pandemic accessed 1/12/2021

[3] https://www.adrp.org/NBDM accessed 1/12/2021 accessed 1/12/2021

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Red_Cross#Blood_donation, accessed 1/12/2021.

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Barton, accessed 01/12/2021.

[6] https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/168, accessed 01/12/2021.

[7] http://ready.nj.gov/laws-directives/appendix-a.shtml, accessed 01/12/2021.

[8] https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/168, accessed 01/12/2021.


Object of the Week: Image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


          January 18, 2021 marks the annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in honor of the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy.  This day is one of service, not rest, encouraging all Americans to consider Dr. King’s work and honor his memory by volunteering in their communities.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a federally recognized holiday in 1983 when President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law, though the first official federal observance did not occur until 1986.[1]

Image of MLK day article by Lenora Cerrato
Nancy Forsberg Collection, MSS 22, Folder 718 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

In 1964, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the Civil Rights Movement.[2]  He was 35 years old at the time, and the youngest man to have received the award to that point.  The prize was bestowed upon Dr. King in recognition of his nonviolent campaign against racial segregation. Since 1901 when the first Nobel Prizes were awarded, recipients have been required to present a public lecture.[3]  You can hear Dr. King’s Nobel Lecture in Oslo, Norway on December 11, 1964 in the video below.  Dr. Clayborne Carson, Director of The King Institute at Stanford University, believes this lecture, which “lays out his goals for the remainder of his life” is one of his most important speeches.  In this speech, King addresses the problems of racial injustice, poverty and war as global evils and not a uniquely American problem.[4]

The Statement of the Clergy of Union (NJ) on the formation of the MLK Commission was issued just a little over a week after his death, demonstrating their devastation and the importance they placed on Dr. King and his work.

Upon Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, the Clergy Association of Union (New Jersey) composed a statement which was read at a memorial service for Dr. King.  The typed statement, as well as a printed copy from a local newspaper, was preserved by Rev. Nancy Forsberg of the First Congregational Church, where she served as pastor from 1967 until her death in 2000.[5] Like Dr. King, Reverend Nancy – as she was affectionately known by parishioners – was dedicated to interfaith and interracial understanding.  She formed an interfaith Bus Ministry which took participants on inspirational day, weekend, and overseas trips in the furtherance of peace and understanding between people of various faiths and backgrounds.  The Nancy Forsberg Papers, preserved at The

Newspaper clipping on 3 x 5 card from the Nancy Forsberg Collection
Nancy Forsberg Collection, MSS 22, Folder 718 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

Department of Archives and Special Collections at Seton Hall University, contains numerous clippings, correspondence and ephemera she collected, including a file dedicated to the subject of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., revealing the importance of his work in parallel to her own efforts.  Though Rev. Forsberg’s papers date to the late 1960s, they still resonate today and ask us to reconsider her and Dr. King’s efforts for Civil Rights and social justice with a renewed sense of urgency.  These materials are available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access, set up a research appointment online or contact us at 973-761-9476.

Marvin Rich Statement on death of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nancy Forsberg Collection, MSS 22, Folder 718 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections


[1] https://www.al.com/news/2018/01/alabama_mississippi_only_2_sta.html, accessed 1/8/2021.

[2] https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/biographical/, accessed 1/8/2021.

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u71K76y7jf8, accessed 1/8/2021.

[4]https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/clayborne-carson, accessed 1/8/2021.

[5] http://www.tributes.com/obituary/show/Nancy-E.-Forsberg-83332540, accessed 1/8/2021.