Scary Stories from the Rare Book Collections

Get into the Halloween spirit with these spooky tales from Seton Hall’s rare book collections!  They come from the book Ancient Legends of Ireland, written by Lady Wilde (mother of Oscar Wilde!), which we hold in our collections, and is currently on display in Walsh Gallery.  You can read the entire book online at the Internet Archive.

Happy Halloween!

 

With thanks to the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center for filming and editing.

New Collections Available to Scholars in the SHU Archives

One year ago, Seton Hall’s Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center received two grants: one to process the papers of New Jersey politicians, and one to process the papers of Irish fraternal organizations.  Apprentice archivists were hired and trained by Seton Hall staff, and they got to work organizing boxes of material, deciphering handwriting, and creating custom archival boxes for obsolete media such as LPs and Super-8 videos.

The results are now ready for scholars:

MSS 132 Papers of Arthur A. Quinn, early 20th century labor leader

MSS 003 Papers of Richard Hughes, the first Catholic governor of New Jersey

MSS 002 Papers of Bernard Shanley, Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower

MSS 0135 John Concannon Collection, National Historian of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians

MSS 0145 James MacFarland Collection, past president of the AOH New Jersey State Board

MSS 0146 AOH New Jersey Collection, materials documenting Irish American life sourced from the AOH New Jersey

MSS 0147 Knights of Columbus / Catholic Daughters of the Americas Collection, materials from these fraternal organizations

MSS 0148 James Comerford Papers, papers of a New York City judge who spent time as a volunteer in the IRA

MSS 0150 Gloria Schneider Papers, papers which document the donor’s involvement in numerous Catholic organizations in Northern New Jersey

The archives encourage those interested in these newly available materials to make an appointment to see them in the reading room.  We look forward to seeing scholars use these collections to enrich our understanding of history!

Pathmakers in New Jersey Politics

exhibit walls behind glass
Pathbreakers in New Jersey Politics on display on the first floor of Walsh Library

Seton Hall cares for fourteen archival collections documenting the careers of New Jersey politicians, illustrating the evolution of this state since its founding in 1787.  In 2021, the National Archives awarded Seton Hall a federal grant to process five of these collections: the papers of Arthur A. Quinn, early twentieth-century pioneer in labor activism, the papers of Bernard Shanley, Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower, Governors Richard Hughes and Brendan Byrne, and first Black Congressman from New Jersey Donald Payne.  After processing, these unique materials will be available to the public, enriching our understanding of the state we live in and the many people who worked to make it better.

Exhibit case featuring photos, writings, inscribed book, political buttons and bound copy of Shanley diary
Exhibit case featuring photos, writings, inscribed book, political buttons and bound copy of Shanley diary

The exhibit includes photographs of these politicians, excerpts from their writings, political buttons issued by their campaigns, and most exciting: the daily diary kept by Bernard Shanley when he was Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower.  The archives has a full copy of the diary now available to researchers, in addition to the bound copy on display.

painting of trees along a riverside, with sun glinting off the water
Edwin Havas
Along the Delaware
35 1/2” x 47 1/2”
oil on canvas
Date Unknown
2011.29.0001
Seton Hall University Permanent Collection

This exhibit is currently on display in the Archives Reading Room and may be viewed when the library is open.  Hanging next to the hallway exhibit is a landscape by Seton Hall professor Edwin Havas, titled “Along the Delaware,” providing a contrast of the natural landscape in which all this political debate took place.

Special Collections and the Gallery acknowledge the support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, which generously provided funding for the archival work which made this exhibit possible.

closeup of exhibit text and acknowledgement
Acknowledgement to the National Historic Publications and Records Commission for its support.

Irish Immigrant Mutual Aid Societies in New Jersey

Mayor John Lindsay waving at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City

Recently, the Archives received a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission to organize and describe a large collection of records from Irish immigrant cultural organizations, primarily the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

These records show how immigrants to the United States organized themselves to help one another. These mutual aid organizations provided an early form of insurance – members would pay a little every month, and if they were injured or got sick or a breadwinner in their family died, the society would pay them a benefit in order to provide financial security. These organizations played a crucial role in supporting working class people before the New Deal provided unemployment insurance on a national scale.

As their original role of financial support receded, these organizations shifted their focus toward celebrating culture and community. The Ancient Order of the Hibernians played a prominent role in organizing the famous St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York.

St. Patricks' Day parade program, printed on green paper
St. Patrick’s Day parade program, 1963

The John Concannon papers, which project archivist Quinn Christie is processing, also contain planning documents for the parade, invitations to local dignitaries to attend and play roles in the celebration, tickets, musical lineups, and much more. As Christie says, “This collection is full of surprises.  I never know what I’m going to find when we open a box.  In the papers of Concannon, we found the records of James Comerford, who served as President of the AOH and Chairman of the Parade.  In addition to papers from his organizational roles, we found his membership card in the Irish Volunteers (predecessors to the IRA) from 1918.”

The collection will be available to researchers by the end of 2022.  

Walsh Gallery Exhibits Objects from Seton Hall’s History “Out of the Vault” January 31 – May 13, 2022

painting of African American pregnant Mary
Deborah McDuff Williams
“Remember Me” (detail)
acrylic on canvas
1997

The Walsh Gallery presents “Out of the Vault,” an exhibition of objects that illuminate important moments in Seton Hall’s history.  The exhibition situates the viewer with the founding of Seton Hall College in 1856 by James Roosevelt Bayley, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Newark and nephew of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton – the first American born saint and the university’s namesake.  The exhibition then jumps 75 years to Seton Hall’s Diamond Jubilee Anniversary in 1931.  Objects from this period include a gold embroidered brocade vestment, historic commencement photographs, and a hand-written inscription from President McLaughlin to Bishop Walsh written on a yearbook page.  “Out of the Vault” also explores the 700th Anniversary of poet Dante Alighieri’s birth in 1961 with paintings by Professor of Art Anthony Triano, engravings by William Blake and a rare text of Dante’s “La Vita Nuova” translated by celebrated artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

image of Walsh Gallery's current exhibit
Out of the Vault at Walsh Gallery

The Walsh Gallery and Department of Archives and Special Collections care for and interpret the objects in the university’s collections.  This exhibition is one of the many ways the departments preserve the university’s history via material culture and research.  Other collections include The Wang Fangyu Collection of Asian Art which includes objects spanning over 3,500 years from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, India and Vietnam; The Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology which includes objects from North American cultures including the Leni Lenape, Paiute, Zuni, Pomo and Tlingit peoples as well as objects from South American, Asian, European and African cultures; and The D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities which includes coins from ancient Etruscan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures.   The collections are available to students, faculty and scholars for research and scholarly purposes.  Appointments to see the collections can be made by completing this form or a portion of our collections can be viewed on Google Arts and Culture

The Walsh Gallery is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday—Friday.

Get to Know the Library Staff! Brianna LoSardo

Headshot of Brianna LoSardoBrianna LoSardo is the Archivist of the Archdiocese of Newark, responsible for maintaining the collections of the Archdiocese and helping researchers working with the collections.  Brianna got her start at Seton Hall, and in this role she still works closely with the Archives and Walsh Gallery team, as well as faculty researchers.  These amazing collections are some of the oldest and most interesting materials at Seton Hall, including the records of Bishop Bayley, founder of Seton Hall, and many unique vestments and artifacts in addition to paper records. 

1. How long have you been working at the library?
7 years total, 2 in my current position


2. What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I could not put it down!


3. What are you watching these days?
Great British Baking Show


4. Print book or ebook?
Ebook


5. What superpower would you want?
The ability to teleport.


6. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl

The UNA-USA Collection at Seton Hall

The Monsignor Field Archives and Special Collections Center is the official repository for the records of the national organization that supports the United Nations, UNA-USA.

Over the past year, a student at New York University’s Archives and Public History Program, Quin de la Rosa, has been working to process the collection – organizing the contents and creating a detailed finding aid that will allow researchers from around the country to discover what materials are held here.  The collection contains records from all the chapters around the country and the records of the activities of the organization itself.

 

Luers and Kofi Annan sitting on a couch
Meeting between Kofi Annan and Bill Luers (left), February 17, 1999

Since the United States has been a strong supporter of the United Nations, the UNA-USA received significant attention from U.N. leadership, as this photograph, showing Kofi Annan, who had just been inaugurated as Secretary-General of the United Nations, meeting with UNA-USA President Bill Luers, on Feburary 17, 1999 (MSS 52, Records of the UNA-USA, Box 28, Folder 35).

Winter Holidays Across Cultures

The dark days of December are punctuated by the celebration of religious and cultural holidays, and festivals worldwide. At Seton Hall University there are a many ways to celebrate throughout this month. One of our most anticipated traditions is the annual Christmas tree lighting which takes place this year at 6pm on Monday, December 6th on the University Green. Christmas at The Hall includes concerts, charitable events, a cabaret and trips to Christmas markets. Check the calendar of events to see how you can participate.

Engraving of angels
The Life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Virgin Mary
New York: 1879, Benziger Brothers,

The image to the left depicts the birth of Christ, celebrated each at Christmas.

This time of year is when Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated. The Jewish holiday commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire the 2nd century BCE. This year Hanukkah is celebrated November 28th through December 6th. The hanukkiah, depicted to the right, is lit nightly to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah.

hanukkiah at the Western Wall
Postcard – Hanukkiah (menorah) by the Western Wall
MSS0016, Box 1, Folder 34 – Sister Rose Thering Papers

The ninth candle is known as the shamash, or helper candle, since it is used to light the other eight candles.  The laws of the holiday forbid using the light of the hanukkiah for practical purposes, reserving it to celebrate the miracle.

Geeta Jayanti, the birthday of Bhagavad Gita, the sacred text of the Hindus, is celebrated this year on December 14th. It is a major festival that commemorates the preaching of Gita to Arjuna, a young warrior, and Krishna, a god acting as Arjuna’s charioteer. The image above depicts Arjuna’s moment of doubt about his role in the impending battle against adversaries who are also his cousins.

illustration of Hindu dieties
Elements of Mythology
Philadelphia: 1830, C. Sherman and Co. Printers

The festival is celebrated mainly in Kurukshetra, Haryana, India – a pilgrimage site believed to be the place where Krishna recited Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. Sadhus (holy men), pilgrims from across the country, and many foreigners visit Kurukshetra for Gita Jayanti.

Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration of African American culture is observed annually from December 26 through January 1. The name Kwanzaa is taken from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning first fruits. Each evening during Kwanzaa, a candle is lit on the kinara, a traditional candleholder, to honor seven principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). The English-Swahili phrasebook below is open to a page with the translations for many foods that might be eaten during this time.

Image of the English to Swahili book from the Father Raúl Comesañas Papers Collection MSS-0130
Father Raúl Comesañas Papers Collection MSS-0130

While this blog post is not exhaustive in scope, it is indicative of the diverse fabric of the community in which Seton Hall University resides as well as the rich heritage of our students, faculty and staff. The images above are but a small sampling of the variety of cultures, traditions and religions represented in the collections cared for by the Walsh Gallery and Special Collections at Seton Hall University. Students, faculty and researchers may make appointments to view materials. 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

Native American Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Image of inscribed book by Joy Harjo
Inscribed copy of She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo in Walsh Library

Did you know that Seton Hall’s rare book collection contains poetry by Native American authors?  There is an inscribed copy of one of the early books of the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo, in Walsh Library’s Rare Book collection.  The inscription reads “for Penny and Bill, in strength and in beauty.”  This refers to William Higginson and his wife, who founded From Here Press in Patterson, New Jersey.  Higginson, a specialist in haiku, donated his incredible collection of poetry books to Seton Hall in 2013.

An alto saxophonist and artist as well as poet, Harjo breaks boundaries in many aspects of her work.  Influenced by jazz and blues as well as by her Cree heritage and poetic predecessors such as Audre Lorde, Harjo’s poetry reflects on loss, survival, and the limitations of language itself.

Learn more about her work and her life.

All Saints’ Day

by Jeanne Brasile

 

Woodcut engraving of Madonna and St. Jerone
Saint Jerome or Madonna and the Saints
engraving after Francesco Bartolozzi by Karl Heinrich-Muller
19th century
2012.00.0032

November 1 is the annual celebration of All Saints Day which honors all Catholic saints, particularly those with no special feast day of their own.  All Saints Day is celebrated worldwide by Roman Catholics as well as other Christian denominations.  A feast day commemorates a saint or saints who are remembered on their individual feast days with special services and prayers.  Certain feast days include public celebrations and processions.  Some saints are celebrated internationally, while others are honored regionally or locally.

All Saints Day was first observed under Pope Boniface IV on May 1, 609 when he dedicated Rome’s Pantheon to the Virgin Mary and the Martyrs.  Pope Boniface also instituted All Souls Day, an additional day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of those who have died.  Celebrated on November 2, it immediately follows All Saints Day.[1]  In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved the All Saints Day observance to November 1,  though celebrations were local to Rome.  Under Pope Gregory IV, All Saints Day became an official worldwide observance for the entirety of the church.[2]

Prior to the 10th century, there was no formalized process for identifying and sanctifying saints.  This was addressed by Pope John XV who defined the parameters for sainthood.  Previous to Pope John XV, sainthood was often attained through popular public opinion.  Today, there are more than 10,000 recognized saints.[3]  The Catholic Online website has a comprehensive list of saints, angels and feast days – in addition to a wealth of other Catholic resources.  It will give you a sense of the many saints venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, and it is fun to browse.  For instance, did you know Saint Bernardino is the patron saint of advertising and communications?  Or that Saint Januarius is the patron saint of blood banks, and in Naples, also volcanoes?  Seton Hall University’s Walsh Gallery and Archives and Special Collections have a significant number of collections that featuring various Catholic saints.  In honor of All Saints Day, we have assembled these images of art and artifacts featuring those who have been canonized.

Sketch of medal honoring Elizabeth Ann Seton
Design for Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal from Dieges and Clust
2018.17.0001.a

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the University’s namesake, is the patron saint of Catholic schools, widows, and seafarers.  She is also the aunt of the university’s founder, The Most Reverend, James Roosevelt Bayley.  This image of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is from a medal designed for the Society of the Preservation of Setonia.  This design was made in advance of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s canonization which occurred in 1975.  This medal design, in addition to numerous other artifacts that illuminate the life and work of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton are currently on display in the Walsh Gallery exhibition “The Treasures of Seton Hall University.”  Her feast day is January 4.

Portrait of Saint Pope John XXIII
Portrait of Saint Pope John XXIII
20th century
2021.12.0001
Courtesy of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Newark

Saint Pope John XXIII is one of the most popular popes in the Roman Catholic Church.  He ushered in a new era by convening the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965), popularly known as Vatican II.  This council resulted in sweeping changes throughout the church to address the modern era.  Canonized by Pope Francis in April 2014, Saint Pope John XXIII’s feast day is October 11.  He is the patron saint of Papal delegates, the Patriarchy of Venice and the Second Vatican Council.[4]  Saint John XXIII was also the pope that beatified Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.  Beatification, a precursor to canonization or sainthood, is a declaration of blessedness.

Portrait of Saint Pope Paul VI
Portrait of Saint Pope Paul VI
mid to late 20th century
2021.11.0001
Courtesy of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Newark

Saint Pope Paul VI was the 262nd pope of the Roman Catholic Church, succeeding John XXIII as pope.  He also presided over Vatican II, closing the session in 1965 which resulted in numerous church reforms including the improvement of relations with the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches.  Saint Pope Paul VI canonized Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1975.   He was in turn beatified and canonized by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2018, respectively.[5]  His feast day is May 29th.

Saint Martín de Porres canonization medal
Saint Martín de Porres canonization medal
1962
2021.01.0011
Gift of Peter Ahr

Saint Martín de Porres (1579 – 1639), a Peruvian born saint ,was associated with the Dominican Order.  He was known for caring for the sick, was trained in the healing arts and was also barber.  Though he was devoted to the church, at that time his lineage prevented him from taking his vows as the son of an unmarried Spanish nobleman and a mother that was a freed slave of African and Native descent.  Like Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, he founded orphanages and was devoted to the cause of education.  He is the patron saint of mixed race people, public health workers, public schools, public education, the poor, Peru, innkeepers and barbers as well as lottery winners, racial harmony and social justice.[6]  Today, his name graces numerous schools throughout the United States as well as a Catholic University in Lima, Peru.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha illustration
Anishinabe Enamiad with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha illustration
December 10, 1896 – vol. 1, no. 10
BX801 .A55
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – 1680), whose feast day falls on July 14th, is the first Native American saint recognized by the Catholic Church.  A layperson of Algonquin-Mohawk heritage, she was born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon which sits on the banks of New York States’ Mohawk River.  She was the daughter of Kenneronkwa, a Mohawk chief, and Kahenta, an Algonquin woman who had been captured in a raid, then taken into the Mohawk tribe.[7] In Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s time, the Mohawks had considerable contact with other tribes, as well as European trappers, traders and missionaries.  A resulting  outbreak of smallpox took the lives of the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s parents and brother.  She survived, but with lasting health implications.  At the age of 18, after meeting a Jesuit priest, she converted to Catholicism, dying just a few short years later at the age of 24.[8]    She was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II, and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica October 21, 2012.[9] Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is the patron saint of the environment, ecology, those who have lost their parents, people in exile and Native Americans.[10]

A mass in honor of All Saints Day will be held at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Seton Hall University at 11am on November 1.

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.catholic.org/saints/allsaints/  accessed 10/25/2021

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/01/world/all-saints-day-trnd/index.html accessed 10/25/2021

[3] https://www.britannica.com/story/roman-catholic-saints-hallowed-from-the-other-side accessed 10/23/2021

[4] https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=7305 accessed 10/26/2021

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Paul_VI  accessed 10/25/2026

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_de_Porres  accessed 10/25/2021

[7] https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=154  accessed 10/26/2021

[8] https://www.kateri.org/our-patron-saint/  accessed 10/26/2021

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekakwitha  accessed 10/25/2021

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekakwitha  accessed 10/26/2021