Time Machines: Meet the Researchers!

The Time Machines project, which supports undergraduate research in Special Collections, is off to a great start.  The sheer diversity of the projects—podcasts, a map of climate change in the Arctic, even a cookbook —showcase just how diverse primary source-based research can be. Read on to learn more about our student researchers, their proposals, and how their projects are going thus far.

Pegi Bracaj

Object of Choice: The Miriam Rooney Papers 

Pegi Bracaj is a political science student with aspirations for a career in law upon graduation. She was drawn to the papers of Miriam Rooney, the founding dean of Seton Hall Law School and the first female dean of a law school in the United States. Pegi decided to expand upon the primary source material by creating a multi-episode podcast series. The first episode will be dedicated to Rooney’s life as based on the archival findings. In later episodes, she plans to “contextualize Miriam Rooney’s accomplishments in the context of the broader legal history, showcasing her influence on subsequent generations of female lawyers”. Through interviews with current female lawyers at Seton Hall Law School, Pegi seeks to connect Miriam Rooney’s life to the ongoing discussion and challenges faced by women in the legal sphere today.

Ashley Skladany

Object of Choice: Collection of 1967 Newark Rebellion Newsclippings 

Ashley focused her project on the 1967 Newark Riots and its impact on the campus through two mediums-an academic paper and a podcast. As a technical producer of the Global Current, the official international affairs podcast of SHU’s School of Diplomacy, Ashley will utilize her skills to record and edit a podcast that interviews individuals who attended the university at the time or who were impacted.

Eman Fatima

Object of Choice: Coin from the Mughal Dynasty ; Coin, ¼ Anna

Eman Fatima spent the first sixteen years of her life in Pakistan and describes her interest in history and decolonization stemming from a lack of substantial education on British colonialism (particularly in South Asian countries) in schools’ curriculum. In wanting to explore how colonialism has molded and continues to mold the identity, culture, and daily life in South Asian society, Eman intends to write an academic paper comparing two coins: one from the Mughal Dynasty, and the other from the 17th century amid British rule over India and Pakistan.

Collin Doyle

Object of Choice: Journal of Roy Fitzsimmons, 1937-1938*

Collin came to the Archives upon hearing that the Archives had recently acquired the journal of Roy Fitzsimmons (SHU class of 1937), a physicist and polar explorer who took said journal on the MacGregor Arctic Expedition from July 1, 1937 – October 4, 1938. The goals of the expedition were to conduct a magnetic survey, collect weather data, photograph the aurora borealis and study its effects upon radio transmission, and to explore the area northwest of Ellesmere Island. Collin intends to create a data visualization project incorporating computer algebra systems such as Mathematica to generate 3D maps, as well as contour plots, of the arctic landscapes explored by Roy Fitzsimmons in the late 1930s, with the goal of highlighting the effects of climate change over the last century. Through this medium, Collin seeks to “breathe life into the journal’s observations” while providing commentary on the urgency of climate change and the threat it poses to our society and planet as a whole.

*Journal is not currently available online but is available to view at the Archives by appointment.

Hope Mahakian

Object of Choice: WWII Ration Books, 1943 

Hope, a History major, has always been interested in the effects of WWII on the American home front. When researching possible items for this project she came across the WWII ration books but was not initially interested in pursuing them. However, after a trip to the Archives and viewing the object for herself, research questions began to emerge–”Who is or was the person that owned them? What were they used for? What do the different stamps mean? Why were some used more than others?” After discovering that all the ration books were owned by women, who were most likely in the same family, Hope decided to take a more personal approach to this project by creating her own cookbook based on the recipes that were created or became more popular due to rationing. In addition, she intends to also create a short video in the style of a 1940s infomercial, complete with filters and wardrobe choices to create the proper aesthetic, where herself and fellow actors cook the recipes themselves. Through both of these mediums Hope intends to convey what rationing looked like and how it differed across different types of families.

Austin DelSontro

Object of Choice: Setonian Newspapers, 1924-2019 

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of The Setonian, Seton Hall’s student run newspaper, Austin approached this project wanting to explore not only how campus life has changed over the course of 100 years, but what has remained the same. Further, Austin’s research will focus on the evolution of writers, the topics covered over the years, and the response to significant cultural/political events over the past 100 years. While Austin’s primary project will be an academic paper, he also intends to supplement a digital component, such as a website or a blog, and use images to illustrate key differences. Austin is also exploring the possibility of creating his own personalized newspaper, inspired by The Setonian itself, to provide a comprehensive overview of his research findings.

Final projects will be shared with the community in April 2024. Stay tuned for more updates—we cannot wait to see how they will turn out!

100 Years of The Setonian

FIrst page of the Setonian newspaper, dated 1924

On March 15th, 1924, the first edition of The Setonian was published. In the inaugural article, the author writes about the years-long trials and efforts faced to get the publication off the ground, with the hopes to put forth a periodical that represents the goings on of the student body. “Get behind the paper, and it will live; neglect your duty and it will soon pass into oblivion,” the author implores in the last line to the reader. Now one hundred years later, The Setonian continues to thrive, further and further from oblivion with the inclusion of digital formats. To honor this important anniversary, Special Collections and Gallery have resolved to digitize the entire archives of the newspaper back to this founding issue.  

Starting last semester, the archives began to digitize early additions of The Setonian that are currently only available to view via microfilm. In digitizing these files, they will be able to be accessed by not only Seton Hall students and faculty, but the general public as well. You will be able to follow the progress of the project here, as new digital editions will be linked here as they are published.  They will also be available through the archives regular research portals Archivesspace and Preservica.  

Walsh Gallery is dedicating their Fall 2024 exhibition to the centennial of The Setonian.  The Gallery will be collaborating with both the Archives and Setonian staff to tell the story of not only The Setonian, but of Seton Hall itself through the last one hundred years by highlighting historic and cultural events on campus and beyond. 

 

Walsh Gallery Presents “Contemporary Spirituality in African Art” January 17th, 2024-May 20th, 2024

cyanotype depicting a young girl in a dress
Tokie Rome-Taylor No Weapon Formed Against Me Shall Prosper cyanotype, 34” x 24”, 2022

The Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University presents Contemporary African Spirituality in Art. The show is curated by Atim Annette Oton the Director and Curator of Calabar Gallery which showcases contemporary African and African Diaspora artists in three locations. The exhibition features more than 25 artists working abroad and in the United States to collectively address the subject and influence of African spirituality on the world stage. Participating artists include: Seyi Adebanjo, Ron Baker, Vladimir Cybil Charlier, Digi Chivetta, Elvira Clayton, Willie Cole, Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Maurice Evans, Ricardo Osmondo Francis, Geraldine Gaines, Toka Hlongwane, Tenjin Ikeda, Damien Jélaine, Ben F. Jones, brandon king, Grace Kisa, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, Cassandra Martin, Don Miller, Data Oruwari, Komikka Patton, Dr. Fahamu Pecou, Rosy Petri, Ransome, Sachi Rome, Tokie Rome-Taylor, Erik Olivera Rubio and Ghislaine Sabiti.  The exhibition is co-sponsored by the College of Human Development, Culture and Media, Africana Studies, the African Student Association, DEI Committee, International Federation of Catholic Universities, Museum HUE and the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

The exhibition is populated by a wealth of programs including appearances at the opening reception by Her Royal Majesty Queen Mother Dr. Dòwòti Désir, Sêvémo 1st Queen Mother of the African Diaspora, Antoinette Ellis-Williams – scholar, minister, mother, wife, activist, poet artist and professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, and Rashad Wright, author and former Poet Laureate of Jersey City.  Other upcoming events include film screenings, curator’s tours and public art projects which will be posted on the gallery’s website – check back regularly for updates.

The opening reception for the exhibition is January 18th, 2024 from 5pm-8pm. You can RSVP to the event here. Please make sure to register for (free) parking prior to your arrival–you may do so at the link here.

Seton Hall University’s beautiful main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles from New York City — offering students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. Seton Hall’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark. The University’s Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley, N.J. houses Seton Hall’s College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences as well as the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University. The Walsh Gallery, located on the first floor of the Walsh Library is open 9am to 5pm, Monday—Friday. Groups of 8 or more must register in advance. Admission to the gallery and its programs is free and open to the public.

#ArchivesDeepDive: Exploring the Seton family papers with Professor Sean Harvey

We are thrilled to introduce #ArchivesDeepDive, a recurring series of write ups on the research done within the Msgr. William Noe Archives & Special Collections by our own staff and students, faculty, and members of the general public.

The Archives & Special Collections recently welcomed Professor Sean Harvey into the Reading Room for a sneak preview of our new acquisition of Seton Family Papers.  These new materials were generously donated by the Sisters of Charity of New York.  These papers consist of letters from Elizabeth Ann Seton’s relatives both before and after her lifetime as well as records of the family’s international shipping business, which played such a monumental role in Mother Seton’s life.  The sisters not only took meticulous care of these valuable records but transcribed them so that modern readers can easily decipher the contents of the 18th century script.

Harvey focused on the correspondence of William Seton, father-in-law of our university’s namesake, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, and his mother from 1782-83. William Seton was a prominent merchant in New York City during the American Revolution. Like many merchants of this time, Professor Harvey notes that he was a Loyalist, who felt the reason for his own success was the result of a prosperous British Empire and faithfulness to King George III. Seton remained in New York City throughout the war since it remained primarily under British control, but the pending British evacuation after the war “left William Seton exposed, vulnerable to retaliation once patriots took control of the city” Professor Harvey regards. While we do not have his own words, we can see this vulnerable sentiment reflected in letters from his mother, Elizabeth Seton, who writes in December of 1782 “you will have it more in your power than ever to make a large Fortune, as the Americans will be wiser, and more selfish, than to drive Honest industrious People out of their Society.”

As the popular idiom says, history is written by the victors, and a simple exchange between a mother and son provides larger insight on what the American Revolution meant to those who opposed it. In addition, Professor Harvey notes, this correspondence “hints at the resiliency of family ties despite an ocean-wide separation and the disruption of war and revolution”.

There is still much to be explored in the Seton family papers. If you are interested in doing your own research, make an appointment with us here. The Archives & Special Collections is open Mon-Fri from 9am-5pm.

Have an idea for your own #ArchivesDeepDive? Email archives@shu.edu.