Physical Distance, Social Solidarity: A communal reading of Monsignor Thomas Fahy’s Inaugural Address 

Guest Blog Post By Angela Kariotis Kotsonis

 

Portrait of Msgr Fahy with books and a basketball hoop
Portrait of Monsignor Fahy, from the Seton Hall Vertical File

I learned about Monsignor Fahy in the spring semester of 2018. It was at an intergenerational panel discussion at the Walsh Library of former Seton Hall student-activist leaders. The event was organized by the Concerned 44, an activated student group. The panel discussion was a teach-in about the history of protest on Seton Hall’s campus and discussion about the progress of the then student movement. You can follow the Concerned 44 on Instagram. If it weren’t for this panel discussion I would not have learned about President Fahy and I’d still be pronouncing Fahy Hall wrong. As an alumna, I can’t help but be angry that it took this long. I became more interested and invited colleagues into the journey of getting to know Fahy.

Alan Delozier, University Archivist, did the work to uncover the Fahy Inaugural address which is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. The CORE has integrated the speech as a required reading for the Journey of Transformations course. And this article intends to showcase a digital

Newspaper Clipping of Msgr Fahy with Black Studies faculty
Monsignor Fahy with the leadership of the Black Studies Program, Newark Star Ledger, April 21, 1975

communal reading of the text as an activist performance practice. The point of the project is to position the text and its ethos as a cultural imprint on our collective memory. To me, Fahy is a white anti-racist abolitionist ancestor who risked and used his power to benefit others. Social justice is a term we’re hearing a lot. What is it? How do you define it? What does it look like? Everyone will have a different answer. I define it as: righting a wrong. If it doesn’t right a wrong, it is not justice. Not only did Fahy leverage his power to right a wrong with some of the most impactful undertakings of Seton Hall’s history but he acknowledged the problem. Often, we rush to solutions without first doing the self interrogation to name the problem. He used this moment, his inaugural address, when everyone was listening and we’re still listening 50 years later. 

The video, this collective recitation, brings many voices together for one message. Faculty and students, separate, but together. It carves a lineage. There are protests now as there were 50 years ago. In the streets and on our campus. 

Greg Iannarella offers insight into what moved him to gravitate toward one of the most unwavering parts of Fahy’s speech, “This section always felt really powerful to me. The description, the intentional language, invoking real scenes and real communities, conjuring the people! It’s a moment where he turns the gaze outward and challenges the audience to see what is relevant.”

Participants were encouraged to think about their location as a backdrop. These choices offer additional meaning and subtext. Virtual performance lets us become our own set designers. Brooke Duffy presented her portion outside of a new school. “It is a public elementary school in Teaneck that was recently renamed for Theodora Smiley Lacey, a civil rights activist, ‘living legend.’ The NorthJersey.com website describes, ‘it was because of her efforts that Teaneck became the first city in the United States to voluntarily integrate its public schools.’”

Program of Monsignor Fahy's Inaugural Address
Program of Monsignor Fahy’s Inaugural Address, October 14, 1970, from Seton Hall’s Vertical Files

This isn’t the last we’ll hear of Fahy’s address. Jon Radwan describes a new participatory oral history project designed to ensure access, inclusion, and equity in its research process to document and preserve the entirety of this part of the University’s history. “We are confident that the Inaugural Address is only the beginning of learning about Msgr. Fahy’s social justice leadership. Our recent proposal to the New Jersey Council for the Humanities seeks funding for a large scale oral history project. We plan to contact alumni, faculty, and administrators who worked closely with Fahy to record their stories about SHU’s collaboration with Newark activists to launch the Black Studies Center.” To support this project please contact Angela Kariotis and Jon Radwan.

Centering historical figures creates their own mythology. Retrospectives are not without their limitations. But there are so few white allies to look up to for this work. Allies must dig deep, activating themselves, stepping into their consciousness. We can extend the Fahy legacy and course correct. Like 50 years ago, it is a transformative yet fragile time. We must have the will to meet it. 

Seton Hall Digital Mapping Project Launched

image of main digital mapping site
Landing page for the new site

Today a new digital map of Seton Hall was launched by Walsh Library.  This site allows users to create rich tours of sites at Seton Hall – or anywhere around the world – contextualizing the places with photographs, text, and even audio and video recordings.  The introductory tour  builds on an existing set of digitized historic postcards of South Orange and Seton Hall that resided in the Library’s e-Repository.  “The postcards were well digitized, and had very detailed, searchable data in the e-Repository.  But this format allows for a more interactive way for the community to explore the collection,” according to Sarah Ponichtera, Assistant Dean for Special Collections and the Gallery.

The project took shape when archives staff, along with the rest of the university, suddenly shifted to remote work in the spring and sought ways to connect the campus community with archival collections during this difficult period.  Technical Services Archivist Sheridan Sayles researched digital mapping products that might suit Seton Hall, and settled on Curatescape, an open-source product.  “Curatescape allows users to connect historic images of sites and objects with their location, essentially weaving in historical stories to the every day places we pass by.” according to Sayles.  Over the spring and summer, Sayles and Library Collection Developer Zachary Pelli worked to get the site installed and import the images and data from the e-Repository.  With the help of a remote intern from Southern Connecticut State University, Amanda Damon, they populated the site with 53 locations (called stories) that can be connected in tours, found using subject tags, and enriched over time as more content is integrated into the site.  Constructing the locations as stories allows for more flexibility – a particularly rich object, such as the stained glass windows in the Chapel, could be its own story even though it is still part of the Chapel location.  A story could even be built around a person with a long history on campus.

Site page for Stafford Hall
Page for Stafford Hall, one of 53 unique locations, or “stories” on the site.

The Library welcomes suggestions from the community for ways to develop and expand the site.  It may be suited for tours developed in courses, adapted to create a virtual tour of campus for those unable to visit in person, or become a center for alumni to contribute their memories of campus.  Due to its home in the Monsignor William Noe Field Archives, content contributed to the digital map will be preserved in the University Archives as part of the history of Seton Hall.  According to University Archivist Alan Delozier, “within this time of quarantine, the value of this initiative is all the more important for those who cannot visit the school grounds at present, but the long term value of this project will continue to attract attention from students, faculty, and other individual across campus along with external users alike.”

Seton Hall Archives Awarded Grant to Process Cuban-American Priest’s Collection

The William Noé Field Archives in Walsh Library at Seton Hall has been awarded a $9,400 grant from the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission to process the Father Raúl Comensañas Papers.

 

Black and white photograph of Raul Comesanas
Msgr. Raúl Comensañas

Father Comensañas served as a priest in Union City and the Hudson County area, where he was active in serving the Cuban exile community. His advocacy work—including a run for the House of Representatives— led local groups to connect exiles with immigration resources and edit Spanish language community newspapers.

 

Beyond telling the story of an extraordinary man, this collection documents the history of the growing Hispanic community in the Archdiocese of Newark. The collection includes correspondence from Father Raúl to his congregants, newspapers Father Raúl edited documenting issues facing the Newark Cuban-American community, and materials from the Republican party advocating for Hispanic issues in the early 1980s.

 

The grant covers supplies to rehouse the collection in archival-grade folders and boxes that will preserve the collection for future generations, and provides funds to hire an archival assistant to help SHU staff organize and describe the collection to prepare it for historians and members of the community to explore.

Image of Miami Cuban newspaper Rece
An issue of Rece, a Miami Cuban newspaper, one of many collected by Father Comensañas

The department hopes to make the collection available to the public by Summer 2021, and plans to make the finding aid for this collection the archives’ first bilingual finding aid, to make it equally available to Spanish-speaking researchers.  The materials are approximately 50% Spanish-language, and 50% English, and the department has found a bilingual student archivist to work with the collection.

 

The archives gratefully acknowledges the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission for its support of this important project, as well as the donor, Jo Welker for entrusting these materials to its care.

Working with Seton Hall’s Audiovisual Collections

by Kyle Brinster, MS-MLIS candidate at

photo of damaged record
A laquer disc with deterioration of the plasticizer

St. John’s University

During the Winter-Spring 2020 semester I served as an intern at Seton Hall where I worked in the Archives and Special Collections Center under Walsh Library. They house a number of collection areas including institutional records, New Jersey history, Irish and Irish-American history, and additionally serve as the repository for records regarding the Archdiocese of Newark. But over the next few months my work was focused on SHU A, or the university’s audio-visual records. 

One thing I have learned during my fledgling archival career is that the real world is very different from coursework. Although this may seem obvious the differences manifest in surprising ways. Often archivists are not part of an organization’s record keeping plan from the outset; they enter the scene well after one or several people have compiled records deemed important. In the past the same has been true of Seton Hall. Books and records were dutifully kept but without full consideration as to whether they fell under the archives’ purview. Similarly, the decision was made to separate out certain record types from their original collection. This is the case with SHU’s photograph collection, and before this semester was true of SHU A. When Technical Archivist Sheridan Sayles pointed out the 3 shelves full of boxes my first day in late January, I thought perhaps I was in over my head. There were boxes full of VHS and cassette tapes, many of which were blank or confusingly labeled. On the shelves beside the boxes were rows of record albums. These came in their commercial boxes and homemade sleeves, with a books of multi-disc albums rounding out the row of records.

I took part in several different AV projects during my semester at SHU. Initially, I consolidated and organized the array of VHS tapes. This consisted of surveying what was in the collection, weeding out commonly produced or off-focus tapes, and rehoming objects with their original existent collection. Separating taped episodes of The Sopranos from the collection was easy, but categorizing the wide range of news clips, Seton Hall TV spots, filmed lectures, and other miscellaneous tapes was something of a challenge. Many were also lacking much or any descriptive information, so they were viewed in order to try and find context so they could be better sorted.

I then set to work capturing the existing collections where the tapes belonged. These areas included the Athletics, College of Business, Poetry in the Round, and WSOU, just to name a few. I created spreadsheets outlining the new additions to the collections, including metadata information like the title, date, and format for easier search and organization in the future.

The process was then repeated with record albums: they were surveyed, weeded, rehoused, and reassigned to their original collections. In this way over the course of a few weeks we transformed SHU A from over a dozen linear feet of shelving into 3 neat boxes.

The archives welcomes undergraduate interns and has a variety of appropriate projects suited to different interests.  Current Seton Hall students interested in working in the archives who are eligible for federal work study, please send an inquiry to sarah.ponichtera@shu.edu.

Reconnecting with Each Other in the Current Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life at Seton Hall as it has for millions of others around the country and the world.  In the name of saving lives by practicing social distancing, it has scattered us into our homes around the region and the country.  Although we are now physically distant from one another, we remain united as Setonians through our connection to Seton Hall.

Seton Hall commencement, 1885
Seton Hall Commencement, 1885

To reconnect as a community, we seek your stories of what this time has been like for you.  We have established a website to submit short personal narratives.  We hope that sharing these stories with one another will bring us back together in a new way, through sharing our personal experiences of this moment.  When we move forward, because there will be a time when we move forward, we plan to listen to these stories together as a community, reflect on what we have learned, and let them guide us into the future.

To participate, please record a 1-3 minute narrative about your experience, using any video or audio equipment available to you, and submit the file to our e-Repository.  Please also submit an image that represents your narrative, which will appear next to your recording in the published archive.

Questions to guide your response:

  • What is your day to day life like?  What would you want people in the future to know about what things are like for us now?
  • What has been most challenging about this time?  What do you miss about your life before the pandemic?  Are there specific places or things on campus that you miss?
  • Essential is a word we are hearing a lot right now.  What does essential mean to you?  Who is essential?  What are we learning about what is essential?
  • What is COVID-19 making possible that never existed before?  What good do you see coming out of this moment? How can we re-frame this moment as an opportunity?
  • What is it you want to remember about this time?  What have you learned?
  • After this pandemic ends, will things go back to the way they were?  What kinds of changes would you like to see? How will you contribute to rebuilding the world?  What will you do differently?

Choose the one that speaks to you, or address more than one if you wish.

With thanks to the scholars and librarians who came together to create this project: Professors Angela Kariotis Kotsonis, Sharon Ince, Marta Deyrup, Lisa DeLuca, and Alan Delozier, Technical Services Archivist Sheridan Sayles and Assistant Deans Elizabeth Leonard and Sarah Ponichtera.

Breviarium Romanum and the Origin of Seton Hall’s Rare Book Collection

By Monsignor Robert Wister

front cover of the Stuart Breviary
The Stuart Breviary, featuring the Cardinal Duke of York’s distinct coat of arms.

The Roman Breviary (Latin: Breviarium Romanum) is the book containing the public or canonical prayers, hymns, psalms, and readings for everyday use, especially by bishops, priests, and deacons of the Catholic Church. Currently, it is known as the Divine Office or The Liturgy of the Hours.

After the Council of Trent (1545-1563), the popes tried to impose a single standard version of the Breviary throughout the Church. They had some success, but many dioceses and religious orders retained their local customs.

Seton Hall’s Breviary is an unusual one. As its title indicates Breviarium Romanum ad usum Cleri Basilicae Vaticanae, it is the Breviary for the Basilica of Saint Peter, the Vatican Basilica. Many cathedral churches and great basilicas especially in Europe, have a “Chapter of Canons.” This group of priests have the responsibility to daily pray the Divine Office. This Breviary contains the ritual they would use, including prayers and hymns unique to the Basilica.

As indicated by the inscription “Joan. Nolin sculp.” at the base of the column on the left of the title page, the title page was engraved by Jean-Baptiste Nolin (c. 1657–1708), who was a French cartographer and engraver. The page pictures Saint Peter’s Basilica and Square, framed by large statues of Saints Peter (left) and Saint Paul (right). Above in the center is the coat of arms of Pope Clement X (1670-1676).

Among his many offices, Cardinal Stuart was Archpriest of Saint Peter’s Basilica from 1751 to 1807. This post included the responsibility to pray with the canons on specific occasions. Its well-worn condition attests to the Cardinal’s fidelity to these responsibilities.

The spine of the Stuart Breviary
The spine of the Stuart Breviary

As noted on the second title page, our Breviary was printed in Paris by Sebastian Mabre-Cramoisy (1637? -1687), Printer to the King, in 1674. In the introduction, the editor notes that it contains certain prayers and scripture readings that are particular to the clergy of Saint Peter’s Basilica. And that the last printing was more than eighty years before and few copies remain. Therefore, it is surprising that Cardinal Stuart would be using a book that is more than a century old since there is record of a 1740 printing. Of course, this version was printed by the renowned Mabre-Cramoisy and the cardinal had it rebound in magnificent red leather and adorned with his coat of arms.

At the bottom of the page, in very small cursive script is the following:

This Breviary was purchased at Rome from a lot of Books which had belonged to Henry Stuart, Cardinal of York. It bears his arms on the cover and probably was the one used by himself as Arch Priest of S. Peter’s. It was brought from Rome to New York, and came into the possession of The Rt. Revd. Bp. Hughes from whom I obtained it.             St. John’s Coll. Fordham May 6th MDCCCXLV
Inscription by Bishop Bayley, describing the circumstances of its purchase. The inscription reads: “This Breviary was purchased at Rome from a lot of Books which had belonged to Henry Stuart, Cardinal of York. It bears his arms on the cover and probably was the one used by himself as Arch Priest of S. Peter’s. It was brought from Rome to New York, and came into the possession of The Rt. Revd. Bp. Hughes from whom I obtained it.             St. John’s Coll. Fordham May 6th MDCCCXLV”

 This short note by Father Bayley, later Bishop Bayley, the founder of Seton Hall University, gives an insight into the manner in which fledgling colleges in the United States would stock their libraries. In later letters and diary entries after he became bishop of Newark, Bayley refers to purchasing large lots of books in Europe, often from shuttered colleges, convents, and monasteries. These volumes formed the core of the libraries of new American colleges. There are numerous examples of centuries-old books with the stamp Collegium Setoniense in the Walsh Library collections.

See the Stuart Breviary itself and learn more about the Cardinal Duke of York who owned it at the exhibit in the Monsignor William Noe Field Special Collections Center on the first floor of Walsh Library, through March 31.

Maria Gillan Speaks at Seton Hall

photo of Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Maria Gillan is a poet who writes about her experience as an Italian-American woman, navigating between the Italian language and culture of her youth and the English language of her adult self.  She writes with great attention to detail, in poems such as “Public School No. 18, Paterson, New Jersey,” where she speaks about the alienation she felt in an English language school as a native speaker of Italian.  But she also speaks to universal themes, such as her sadness about the growing distance between herself and her son as her son grows up and starts a family of his own in “What I Can’t Face About Someone I Love.”  Her work has been translated into Italian, and she now leads workshops in creative writing based in Italy, in addition to branching out into art as well as poetry, with works such as Redhead with Flying Fish and Cat.  In addition, she maintains an active blog and website documenting her work.

Maria Gillan's painting of a redhead with flying fish
Redhead with flying fish and cat

Gillan will be speaking at Seton Hall, in the Theater in the Round on the evening of September 24 at 6pm.  Her translator, Professor Carla Francellini, from University of Siena, will speak as well.  This event honors the 2019 scholarship winners in Italian Studies.

While she is here, Professor Francellini will also be working in the Monsignor William Noe Field Archives, researching in Gillan’s collection here, where not only her physical papers but also Gillan’s blog and website are archived.  Explore the finding aid for the collection, and also stop by and see the window featuring Gillan’s work on the bottom floor of Walsh Library, outside Walsh Gallery.

Exhibit Features Artists in Dialogue with Science

Strange Attractors

 January 14  – March 8, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, January 25, 6pm to 8pm

Charcoal drawing on paper
Linda Francis, Threes


The Walsh Gallery is pleased to present Strange Attractors, a group exhibition conceived as an extension of a symposium hosted at New York City’s CUE Art Foundation in November 2017. Organized by artist and writer Taney Roniger, the symposium, also called Strange Attractors, examined interdisciplinary approaches to art-making with an emphasis on how visual art can generate insight into subjects studied by other fields. Co-curated by Taney Roniger and Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile, the exhibition aims to resume the dialogue in visual form by featuring work by many of the conference participants. The participating artists are: Suzanne Anker, Gianluca Bianchino, Catherine Chalmers, Linda Francis, Lorrie Fredette, Michael Hadley & Elaine Reynolds, Daniel Hill, Ed Kerns, Eve Andrée Laramée, Matthew Ritchie, Taney Roniger, Leonard Shapiro and Werner Sun.


While drawing on the strengths of different systems of knowledge, Strange Attractors celebrates nature and its infinitely interdisciplinary characteristics.  In conjunction with the exhibition, a panel discussion to be held in the gallery will further explore questions raised during the original dialogue (details to be announced). The exhibition has been made possible though the generous support of the Robert Lehman Foundation and the Essex County Arts Council through a re-grant of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

The Walsh Gallery is open 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday—Friday.

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.

Discovering the namesake of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives

Written by Rev. Michael Barone

The Spring 2018 semester at Seton Hall University found Archives staff at the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center beginning to process the collection belonging to the eponymous former University Archivist, Director of Special Collections, and Rare Book Librarian, who died in December 2000.

Holy card, 2000
Holy card, 2000

Speaking to people who knew him, one learns that “Father Field” was a fixture on campus and in the Archdiocese of Newark, for which he was ordained a priest in 1940.

While the arrangement and description of the collection is still an ongoing project, looking through Monsignor’s papers and ephemera, one sees the story of a priest, scholar, lecturer, and traveler beginning to take shape.  After all, archivists process and maintain the collections of persons so that their lives and work might be preserved for future generations of researchers and historians.  While tedious at times, the task of archiving invites oneself to experience a sense of reverence or respect for the subject and creator.

Being himself an archivist for 30 years, Msgr. Field’s papers gives insight into the work of a Dean of Library and Special Collections Director, who earned his MLS from Columbia University in 1961.

Daybook, 1940-1970
Daybook, 1940-1970

Most of the collection is structured to organize his academic papers. However, Monsignor Field was also a gifted poet who sent and received numerous greeting cards from all across the globe. These are part of a correspondence series.  Msgr. Field kept detailed travel logs, postcards, and brochures from years of travel.  Beloved chaplain and member of several professional societies, the numerous awards, religious and devotional objects, owned and collected by the priest, will be discoverable by use of a detailed finding aid describing its inventory of materials and their structure.

Entering the reading room, one notices a prominently placed bust and portrait of Msgr. William Noé Field, welcoming visitors to his beloved

Archives, which bear his name.  Founded during his lifetime, and organized with help of Peter Wosh, the Center remains a valuable repository and resource.  For more information, or to schedule a visit to the Archives at Seton Hall University, located on the ground floor of our Walsh Library.  We look forward to this collection being available to the public in the very near future.

Archives sign
Namesake of the Archives