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.  

Honoring Humanistic Studies at Setonia

December is recognized as Universal Human Rights Month across the planet and this is a focus of study that has been particularly evident on the Seton Hall campus over the last several decades. Promoting the study of Social Sciences in the name of Humanities has been an intellectual-centered staple of the school curriculum and examples have been preserved within our repository showing its development from founding date to the present day.

During the 1960s under the sponsorship of University President, Bishop John Dougherty, the creation of a specialized Humanistic Studies program was one of the highlights of his tenure. His efforts along with the deans and professors on campus during this time helped to enhance the learning experience with specific course offerings that allowed the student body to explore the wide-ranging accomplishments of human endeavor in a more structured manner than ever before.

Humanities Program Course Listing – Spring 1969 Semester

The following abstract provides an overview of this seminal program during the 1969-70 academic year. “The purpose of the Office of Humanistic Studies is the development of a contemporary educational vehicle whose chief feature is to probe the humanistic dimension of knowledge and to communicate data whose significance points beyond the narrow confines of the specialist.  As the occasion demands, the Office offers courses in those ‘boundary’ areas which do not fall within the competence of any given department.”

Additionally, the specific course offerings in this area included the following class titles: Humanist Dimension of the Sciences, The Phenomenon of Woman, The Contemporary Dialogue Between Christians and Marxists, The Meaning of Aspiration, Psychotheology, Perspectives in Mind Expansion, The Psychology of Creative Writing, Music in Human Experience, Religion and the American Experience, Films and Their Philosophical Implications: A Revolution in Consciousness, The Revolution of Color in the Afro-Asian World.

Humanities Promotional Flyer – 1974

For those who qualified for the Humanities Honors Program, this was another high point of educational opportunity that benefited those who engaged in higher level study. This sequence included the following course titles: “The Humanities Honors Program offers the specially qualified student the opportunity to cut across the subject areas of the liberal arts curriculum and to undertake an interdepartmental program of integrated studies in the Western tradition from ancient times to the 20th century as reflected in history, literature (discursive and imaginative), and the arts. The courses are organized on the principle that some sense of the interdependence of the various human disciplines assures the most meaningful command of each of them. While the lecture method is retained to provide the students with the necessary direction, the emphasis in the program is on intensive reading, discussion, independent research, and co-related project work in the humanities.”

The course titles integrated within the Honors sequence included the following: Ancient Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Modern Studies, Non-Western Humanities, Philosophy and Drama, Contemporary Russian Culture, Literature and Psychology.

Additionally, the University has been active in the promotion of Human Rights and various statements have been drafted and issued over the the years are also retained for posterity.

Statement on Human Relations, c. 2000

The tradition of course offerings in the humanities has moved forward as subsequent semesters has yielded courses and students who have learned from the varied classes offered. Programs and course descriptions can be found via our Vertical Files and Catalog(ue)/Bulletins along with specific listings outlined within our ArchivesSpace catalog found via the following link: https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=Humanities&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

For more information on Humanities along with all aspects of Seton Hall University History, please contact via e-mail at: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

The History of Chemistry & Setonia – A Successful Experiment

Seton Hall has traditionally been noted for its detailed liberal arts curriculum but has also hosted a number of other major programs across the academic spectrum. Within the natural sciences, the field of Chemistry has been an integral part of the educational offerings for the student body. This year marks the 160th anniversary of the first documented course offered at Seton Hall College eventually led to increased expansion to a full-fledged program known as the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the present time.

Types of Chemistry Offered to Seton Hall Students, Mid-1960s

The study of Chemistry by general definition found in various primers definition chain of qualities involved with this natural science focuses primarily on the investigation of the properties and behavior connected to matter. This includes the deeper study of elements and compounds involving the reactive behavior of atoms, ions, and molecules in particular.

During the first years of Seton Hall on the South Orange campus, the Chemistry class option was listed within the earliest Seton Hall College Catalog(ue)s/Bulletins under the “Mathematical Course” banner was by all indicators a required course. Between the 1860s-90s, an introductory Chemistry class was offered to enrolled students during the First Term of the Sophomore year at the school and held on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during a particular semester. The first text-books used included popular works for their time: “First Principles of Chemistry, For the Use of Colleges and Schools,” by Benjamin Silliman (Philadelphia: T. Bliss & Co., 1866) and later, A Class-Book of Chemistry: On the Basis of the New System, by Edward Livingston Youmans (New York: Appleton, 1857) as foundational works to this discipline.

Early Chemistry Laboratory (Alumni Hall), c. 1910s

Moving into the twentieth century, a more specific insight to Chemistry and its place in the Setonia curriculum can be gleaned from the following description of study from the pages of the Seton Hall College Catalogue of 1921-22. This passage from one hundred years ago provides a detailed look at what was involved in the requirements associated with class participation at that time . . .

“SCIENCE. CHEMISTRY – The aims of the course are: (1) to offer all students an opportunity to become acquainted with the facts of modern chemistry and the special forms of reasoning and method applied to those practical sciences which have their basis in chemistry; (2) to fill out the general training of undergraduates; and (3) to prepare the student for later advanced work in the sciences. Special stress is therefore laid on thoroughness of preparation, and the symmetrical development of the student’s knowledge.  The elements of inorganic chemistry are taught by lectures, laboratory illustrations nad experiments, and recitations from notes and from a general text-book.  Through the scope of the course is essentially fitted to the purposes in view, yet the method of treatment, particularly in the matter of lecture presentation, offers many special advantages to the student.  He must learn how to synopsize and generalize a lecture, he must know how to trace its drift and link its lessons with the matter already learned, ad must see its import, as well, in relation to the work yet to be done.  The notebook counts for examination results, and a pass-mark cannot be won without it.  The course occupies the entire Sophomore year.  Its study is obligatory on all B Sc. degree students and for such others as can offer for it no satisfactory equivalent . . . The following is a brief outline of the course: Oxygen; hydrogen; water and hydrogen dioxide; the atomic theory; molecular and atomic wights; chemical calculations; nitrogen; the atmosphere; solutions; acids; bases; salts; neutralization; valence; compounds of nitrogen; sulphur and its compounds; the periodic law; the chlorine group.  Carbon and its simpler compounds; flames the phosphorus group; silicon; titanium; baron; the metals; the alkaline-earth group; copper; mercury; silver; tin and lead; manganese; gold and the platinum group; some simpler organic compounds.”

Students in Front of Atom Wall, c. 1960s

Moving forward over the last several decades, scores of Setonia students have either majored in Chemistry or taken a version as an elective or in some other context. Among the lasting testament to this study are lasting course descriptions, papers, and other landmarks across campus. This includes McNulty Hall (now known as the Science Center) featuring the legendary “Atom Wall” relief built during the 1950s has been the host to countless lectures and lab experiments by faculty and students alike to further the knowledge of Chemistry-centered inquiry.

Graduate Studies in Chemistry Overview, 1966

A continuum of supporting the need and advance of those wishing to explore advanced study expanded in large measure when Chemistry became the first University-wide doctoral program established by University during the mid-1960s. A number of Master’s Theses were produced by 1964 and the first PhD degrees earned that year led to published Dissertations released the following year. Specific examples can be found within the Seton Hall University Libraries Catalog by searching via the following link – https://library.shu.edu/library/books within the search term: “Chemistry” and choosing to search within the category of: “Thesis, Dissertation” resources and focusing upon a specific year or year-range.

Renovations to the Science Center, publications arising from Chemistry faculty, and other developments in the new Millennium have provided a success story for those connected to the study and success of this field of endeavor. In documenting the trajectory and evolution of the history within the holdings found at the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center there are various resources including various articles in school publications, vertical file content, prospectus booklets, departmental notes along with various faculty notes, and a specific historical textbook collection that shows examples of college-level print aids published mainly from the 1920s-70s.  Our Rare Book holdings also contain centuries-old titles and have been consulted by the Seton Hall community over the years including some of the oldest titles found in our catalog . . .

Lewis, William. The Edinburgh new dispensatory: containing, I. The elements of pharmaceutical chemistry. II. The materia medica … III. The pharmaceutical preparations and medicinal compositions of the latest editions of the London and Edinburgh pharmacopoeias … Being an improvement of the New dispensatory by Dr. Lewis. (Edinburgh: William Creeck, 1797) [Seton Hall University Libraries, ARCHIVES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Rare Book Library – IN-ARCHIVES USE ONLY, RS151.3 .L4 1797]

Stack, Richard. Introduction to the study of chemistry; explaining its principles, and their application to arts, manufactures, etc. … (Dublin: Graisberry & Campbell, 1802) [Seton Hall University Libraries, ARCHIVES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS MacManus Irish – IN-ARCHIVES USE ONLY, QD28 .S78]

Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc, et al. Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière : avec la description du cabinet du roy. (Paris: De l’Imprimerie, 1803-04) [Seton Hall University Libraries, ARCHIVES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Rare Book Library – IN-ARCHIVES USE ONLY]

Brande, William Thomas, et. al. A manual of chemistry: containing the principal facts of the science, arranged in the order in which they are discussed and illustrated in the lectures at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. (New York: George Long, 1821) [Seton Hall University Libraries, ARCHIVES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Rare Book Library, QD30 .B82]

Chemistry Prospectus Cover, 2001

Historical Text-Books and Rare Book classified Chemistry works can be found by limiting your search to “Archives and Special Collections” when locating the following site – https://library.shu.edu/library/books  Additional resources both historical and contemporary can be found by searching for wider Chemistry resources via the University Libraries Homepage – https://library.shu.edu/home and Chemistry-based Library Guide constructed by Dr. Lisa Rose-Wiles found here – https://library.shu.edu/chemistry

Chemistry Faculty and Students, c. 2000s

For more specific information on Chemistry and Natural Science-centered resources and any other aspect of University History and/or Rare Books we are glad to assist your research efforts. Contact us at: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

“Pirates” – The Unveiling and Embrace of the Iconic Seton Hall Nickname

Introduction

Beyond an educated choice of academic specializations, the selection of a nickname, mascot, school colors, special cheers, and other unique campus traditions have long been one of the most important legacies that any college or university can make to universally celebrate their respective athletic teams in particular while honoring their student, alumni, and fan base by extension.  On a competitive level sports-wise, there have been an abundance of Tigers, Bulldogs, Lions, Bears, and other wildlife for example in order to show team pride and hopefully inspire fear in opponents.  However, other appellations have a logical link to history including such local models as the “Queensmen” of Rutgers College (founded in 1766 as Queen’s College) and the “Vikings” of Upsala (established in 1893 by Swedish educators who noted the nickname was synonymous with Scandinavian lore).  Beyond what their opponents were formulating when it came to their own respective mascot preferences, Seton Hall had its own road to image-based immortality.

Throughout its storied history, the hues of “White and Blue” have always been synonymous with Seton Hall.  These colors were adopted during the nineteenth century and likely inspired by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley whose family crest features a series of white stars affixed to a cobalt field.  Additionally, Blue is associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the early patronesses of the school and associated with finding truth while White is the symbol of purity, light, and saints who were not martyred (although Elizabeth Ann Seton was not canonized until 1975, she did not achieve martyrdom)

The first graphic depiction of a “Pirate” from the December 1930 edition of The Setonian, four months before this nickname was actually adopted by the College

When it came to seminal nicknames at Seton Hall during the years prior to the celebration of its Diamond Jubilee, intercollegiate squads used the sobriquet – “White and Blue” as an all-purpose attribution.  Additional adjectives included “The Villagers,” “Alerts,” and the “Quick Step Nine” (for Baseball Nines) have also been documented in print through Setonia-produced imprints (including the title of the School Annual or Yearbook from 1924-42) and external media sources alike.  This legacy still lives on in the popular refrain – “Fight, Fight, Fight for the Blue and White . . . Onward to Victory!”  Presumably this “mascot” and choice of talisman would have continued further, had it not been for one fateful day on a New England Baseball Field nine decades ago

The Pirates are Born

Within the aftermath of the Seton Hall-Holy Cross Baseball Game held on April 24, 1931 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the visiting team from New Jersey somewhat miraculously came from behind after experiencing a five-run deficit through the stringing together a combination of walks, hits, and errors that helped the “White & Blue” Nine emerge victorious by a final score of 11-10. This outcome prompted a Newark News sportswriter to exclaim, “That Seton Hall team is a gang of Pirates! . . . ,” which applied to the aggressive play and the squad stealing a victory (or a “treasured” result if you will) from the Crusader Nine. Upon hearing of this post-game proclamation within their locker room, the Seton Hall squad decided that their newfound name was both fitting and fashionable, and they would return to South Orange and be known as the Pirates thereafter.

Article from the April 24, 1931 edition of The Newark News

It has been oft-wondered why the writer used the term “Pirates” instead of something else?  Upon reflection this makes sense as the noun “Pirate” has been defined according to the Cambridge University Dictionary as one who: “. . . sails on the sea and attacks and steals from other ships.”  Combine the formal definition taken from a journalist with the prevalence of Pirate imagery in popular culture including the long-standing renown of such novels as: The Pirate, by Sir Walter Scott (1821); “Long John Silver” a major figure in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883); “Captain Hook” from Neverland, one of the main protagonists from the book – Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie (1904). Book covers/jackets, early cinema, and literary descriptions set the image of English launched a “Jolly Roger” Pirate model (with large, plumed hat featuring a decorative “Skull and Cross Bones” motif, eye patch, peg leg, hook hand, etc.) who sailed the Caribbean during the eighteenth-mid-nineteenth century seas.

Illustrative “Pirate” from the April 1931 Setonian

In 1931, the book entitled: Yankee Ships in Pirate Waters by Rupert Sargent Holland and the daily comic strip, Terry and the Pirates by Milton Caniff helped to reinforce the “swashbuckling” and exciting aspects of Piracy in a fictional sense.  On the sports-front, that same year the Pittsburgh Pirates, a major league club was celebrating a half century of existence and their third decade in the National League.  They were known as frequent visitors to the Newark-area to play such local teams as the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants in regular series during that era. Thus, “Pirates” already had a wider appeal throughout popular society and the sports world alike.

The first edition of The Setonian (Student Newspaper) after the Holy Cross contest resulted in the first public pronouncement of this new nickname adoption. The Reverend Thomas J. Gilhooly (then a student in 1931) wrote a poetic verse in tribute of this new and figurative era in Seton Hall Athletics History . . .

“THE PIRATES – Our teams are known as Pirates, / In the world where sport holds sway; / And like their honored forbears, / Nothing stands in their way.  /  On the football field, the Pirates / Fight for every gain; / And though they do not always win, / The enemy earns the game. / In the realm of basketball, / The Pirates stand supreme; For her is their initial charge, / Their booty . . . so it seems. / Then baseball calls them to the helm, / And bold and brave they stand; / Now they justify their name, / They are heroes of the land. / So onward, ye brave Pirates. / On, on to worlds of crowns; / Onward to “runs” and “baskets”, / Onward to many “touchdowns.” / on, onward to greater heights, / In the world where sports holds sway; / And where your honored forbears, / Pridefully bless your day.”

Despite an initially warm and exciting reception, somewhat curiously, the use of the “Pirate” nickname in print did not have wider usage or uniform approval during the remainder of the 1930s and into the 1940s.  Interestingly, the “Pirate” term was used conservatively beforehand especially in print as the “White and Blue” and the unofficial and colloquial – “Setonians,” “South Orangers,” and even “South Orange Lads,” were typically used as an alternative term within some press circles.

“Pirate” Mascot caricature used primarily during the Late 1930s-1940s

Conceivably the violent and illegal nature associated with real-life “Pirates” went against Catholic teaching and moral sensibilities, but for the sake of intercollegiate competition having a fearsome nickname makes a team appear more formidable, but all in the spirit of competitive sportsmanship.  The question of change came in 1936, when sports scribes from The Setonian made their own attempt to create a distinctive nickname for the Seton Hall Five and every other sports team to supersede the “Pirates” for something more benign. They came up with the “Kerryblues” (the “Kerry” is a bluish furry dog noted for its fighting instincts and “Blues” for the school color), but this particular moniker never stuck, and the “Pirates” have endured and by the 1970s had adopted an alternative and rarely used nickname of the “Buccaneers” or “Buccettes” for Women’s sports teams. And would be used conservatively for a few more years.

However, it would not be until the post-World War II-era when the “Pirates” brand came into greater vogue.  This explosion which began in earnest from the early 1950s forward was fueled by the success of each Seton Hall Athletic squad to compete over the last half century plus whether it be on the Basketball or Volleyball Court, Baseball Diamond, Soccer Field, Running Track, Golf Course, or any other venue where Seton Hall squads have competed. Additionally, there is no aspect of school life that has been left untouched by some aspect of a “Pirate” allegory.  Whether it be figurative or visual, the proliferation of Pirate references by word, print, and in logo form that is associated with Setonia has not only become regionally recognized, but nationally as well. This has also coincided with the wide-spread growth of sports marketing along with a receptive and passionate student body, alumni, and wide-spread fan base that choose to identify as Pirate Fans.

 Additional “Pirate” Historical Sightings and Research Opportunities

Documentation shows that not only athletic teams really ran with the nickname (and the Seton Hall Prep School by extension adopted the nickname as well) The student body also began to incorporate popular Pirate-centered imagery into their activities. As noted above, the renaming of the Student Annual (Yearbook) first known as the “White and Blue” was later changed to “The Galleon” (for one year in 1940) and for good from 1947-2006 when it ceased publication . . .

https://scholarship.shu.edu/yearbooks/index.3.html

Examples of the evolution of the Seton Hall “Pirate” logo, c. 1960s-Present

As archival documentation shows, other examples go beyond Athletic Team representation alone to exhibit how the administration and all parts of the University adopted the nickname to coincide with various project designations and publication titles including the aforementioned Galleon (a term for a Pirate Ship), there are others like “Pirate Plank” (as in “Walking The . . . “ as a form of punishment, “Pirate Treasure” (the typical objective that Pirates sought), in other words from 1931 to the present-day, all aspects of University life have been touched by some degree of “Pirate” identification in some way either by exposure, extension, usage, naming opportunities, cheering, school spirit, along with other applications or allegories.

“Pirate” Mascot from the 1970s

Seton Hall University looks to navigate forward with the “Pirate” as its mascot now and well past its ninetieth anniversary.  Many more “ahoys” will be heard on campus and beyond when it comes to praising Seton Hall in the following traditional manner . . . “Go Pirates!”

For more information on Seton Hall traditions and other aspects of school history please contact the University Archives by e-mail: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Legacy of Cesar Chavez, UFW, and Connections to Setonia

Introduction

Counted among the most important figures in the history of labor relations and human rights advocacy is Cesar Chavez whose legacy remains alive through continual study and application of his principles on behalf of the migrant farm community and other disenfranchised Latinos in particular.  As part of an ambitious plan, Mr. Chavez founded the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) in order to bring awareness and advocate for fair working conditions, collective bargaining opportunities, competitive wages, and seeking fairness and respect for all farmers who were in need of support.  The following highlights taken from the UFW biographical overview produced by the UFW provides a brief overview on the life and accomplishments of Mr. Chavez which would lead to his wide-spread appeal which became global including Seton Hall on a local level.

Flag and Symbol of the United Farm Workers

Biographical Sketch

Cesar Estrada Chavez (1927-1993) was born in the vicinity of Yuma, Arizona.  In 1938, his family re-located to California where they briefly resided at the La Colonia Barrio in Oxnard prior to moving back and forth between his home state and California where the family settled in San Jose by June of 1939, but would soon live in a series of towns including Brawley, Atascadero, Gonzales, King City, Salinas, McFarland, Delano, Wasco, Selma, Kingsburg, and Mendota.

In addition to his moving from place to place, Mr. Chavez was discriminated against as a youth especially as a Latino who attended primarily English-language grade school where racist remarks, discriminatory practices, and the linguistic barrier led to an unbalanced experience in the classroom.  Mr. Chavez made it through the eighth grade but dropped out to become a migrant farm worker during the 1930s through the early 1940s. Despite not having a formal education beyond middle school, Mr. Chavez was well-read and studied a vast range of subjects and believed that: “The end of all education should surely be service to others.”  Counted among his early inspirations were St. Francis of Assisi and Mohandas Gandhi who both taught non-violence as a means of achieving justice for others.

By 1946, Mr. Chavez enlisted in United States Navy and served for two years prior becoming a civilian and at this time he married the former Ms. Helen Fabela and at first lived in Delano, California and together were parents to eight children over the course of their lives together.

Mr. Chavez became more interested and active in civil rights during the late 1940s and 1950s and offered to assist with voter registration as part of his local California-based Community Service Organization.  From this starting point, he founded the National Farm Workers Association (later known as the UFW) in 1962.  Counted among his co-founders and long-time allies were Ms. Dolores Huerta and his brother Mr. Richard Chavez.  Their core group of supporters were grape farmers, but this soon spread to those who harvested other fruits and vegetables which resulted in 50,000 dues paying members by 1970.

As part of the La Causa “The Cause” movement, the most iconic and effective  forms of non-violent resistance initiated by Mr. Chavez included the Delano Grape Strike (1965-70), a 340-mile March for Civil Rights from Delano to Sacramento (1966), and a number of fasts in protest of sub-standard worker conditions including those of: 25 days (1968), 24 days (1972), and 36 days (1988) for example.  These demonstrations were also complimented by a number of product boycotts, picketing, and other means of non-violent protest to draw attention to those who were exposed to unfair treatment and in need not only vocal, but also legal and political support.

Mr. Chavez passed away near Salinas, California on April 23, 1993.  It is estimated that this was the largest funeral conducted for any labor leader in United States history to date.  The following year, Mr. Chavez was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifetime of advocacy work on behalf of others and as U..S. President Bill Clinton noted in the accompanying citation: “The farm workers who labored in the fields and yearned for respect and self-sufficiency pinned their hopes on this remarkable man who, with faith and discipline, soft spoken humility and amazing inner strength, led a very courageous life.”1

Newark Star-Ledger Article on the Symposium – November, 1974

Seton Hall Ties – Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta

The work of Mr. Chavez had been long known by those on the Seton Hall University campus through media reports that chronicled activities on the West Coast to a national audience including our student body, faculty, and administration. The Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center has worked with the public on research projects related to the Latino community including primary source documentation connected to the Unanue Latino Institute and their celebration entitled: “The Catholic Symbolism of Cesar Chavez” in 2019.  This which resulted in an overview of the event and connections that he and other members of the UFW had to Seton Hall was researched and written by Adam Varoqua. Counted among the main features that marked the connection between Mr. Chavez and our school go back to the founding date of the Puerto Rican Institute (now known as the Unanue Institute) in 1974.

By 1974, the first Seton Hall-sponsored Migrant Symposium was created through the efforts of University President Monsignor Thomas Fahy who was an active supporter of the UFW along with a variety of other social justice related issues. He noted that: We are happy to express solidarity with the aims of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.”  Monsignor Fahy also worked with Archbishop Peter Gerety and other clergy within the Archdiocese of Newark and across the region to help with advocacy on behalf of Mr. Chavez and his mission. Their work also extended to working with state legislators such as Assemblyman Byron Baer who introduced a bill to aid farmer workers in New Jersey later that year.2

Mr. Chavez invited to provide the keynote address, but due to medical issues could not attend.  His proxy was Ms. Dolores Huerta who was also a top official within the UFW and was an honored guest then and also when revisiting campus in 2019 to discuss what progress had been made regarding the rights of Latinos and migrant famers over the last four decades since she last came to South Orange.

Catholic Advocate Article, November 14, 1974

Catholic Advocate Article, November 14, 1974

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archival & Library Research Opportunities

 Over the course of his life and into the present day, the work of Mr. Chavez has also been included as part of various History, Labor Studies, Diplomacy, and Latino-centered courses at Seton Hall.  Interest continues not only in regard to the life and work of Cesar Chavez, but Dolores Huerta, UFW, and the Unanue Latino Institute at Seton Hall.  Along with materials found in our Vertical Files, Office of Public Affairs Clipping Files, Setonian Newspaper, Seton Hall Yearbooks – https://scholarship.shu.edu/yearbooks/ and other resources found within our repository are available for research project consultation.  Additionally, the  following resources are available within the University Libraries and the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections for review.

  • Major Archival Collections

 Office of the President & Chancellor of Seton Hall University: Thomas G. Fahy

Identifier: SHU-0003-015

Abstract

Thomas G. Fahy was the fifteenth President of Seton Hall University and oversaw significant physical growth as well as progress in equal access to education for minorities, improved governance, and student affairs during his tenure as president. The Office of the President and Chancellor: Thomas Fahy records include materials generated and gathered by Monsignor Fahy during his time as President of Seton Hall University.

Dates: 1970-1976

Link To Finding Aid: https://archivesspace library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/283

  • Chavez Literary Journals

(Named in honor of Cesar Chavez, but covering a wide range of Multi-Cultural subjects and themes)

Cover Art – Chavez, Literary Journal of Seton Hall University, Spring 2012

Chavez Literary Arts Magazine, 1998-2005

File — Box: 169

Scope and Contents note

Published by: Department of English at Seton Hall University
Original number: 1.191

Dates: 1998-2005

Link To Finding Aid:

https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/41683

Chavez: literary magazine, 2000 – 2013

 File — Box: 4

Dates: 2000 – 2013

Link To Finding Aid: https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/76936

Unanue Latino Institute Newsletter

File — Box: 204

Scope and Contents

Dates: 1856-2012

Link to Finding Aid: https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/41920

  • Additional Digital Resources

“Cesar Chavez,” Catholic Advocate Online Version – 1958-1976. https://thecatholicnewsarchive.org/?a=q&hs=1&r=1&results=1&txq=%22Cesar+Chavez%22&dafdq=&dafmq=&dafyq=&datdq=&datmq=&datyq=&puq=ca&txf=txIN&ssnip=txt&e=——-en-20-ca-1–txt-txIN-%22chavez%22——-

  • Seton Hall University Libraries Resources

Cesar Chavez (SHU Search) – Articles

https://library.shu.edu/home

http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/results?vid=0&sid=18360a78-6a31-4378-b2eb-092839117e2d%40pdc-v-sessmgr01&bquery=%2522Caesar%2BChavez%2522&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZ0eXBlPTAmc2VhcmNoTW9kZT1BbmQmc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d

Cesar Chavez (SHU Search) – Book Titles

https://library.shu.edu/library/books

https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/v2/search?clusterResults=off&queryString=Cesar+Chavez

  • Seton Hall University – Special Event & Institutional Internet Sites

“Cesar E. Chavez,” Love & Forgiveness in Governance. Seton Hall University School of Diplomacy and International Relations, 2014. https://blogs.shu.edu/diplomacyresearch/2014/01/03/exemplar-of-forgiving-prisoner-cesar-e-chavez-2/

Shuyama, Naomi.  The Latino Institute Commemorates the 25th Anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s Passing, 5 April 2018.  https://www.shu.edu/arts-sciences/news/the-latino-institute-celebrates-cesar-chavez.cfm

Varoqua, Adam. “History Rediscovered: The Holy Alliance of the Catholic Church, Seton Hall University, and Iconic Labor Rights Activist Cesar Chavez,” Accessed 21 March 2021.  https://www.shu.edu/latino-institute/news/charter-day-exhibit-displays-seton-hall-mark-on-labor.cfm

“An Afternoon with Dolores Huerta,” 20 October 2019 https://www.shu.edu/latino-institute/an-afternoon-with-dolores-huerta.cfm

Dolores Huerta, Iconic Labor Rights Activist, Returns to Seton Hall, 2 October 2019

https://www.shu.edu/latino-institute/news/dolores-huerta-iconic-labor-rights-activist-returns-to-seton-hall.cfm

  • Selected Internet Sites – Cesar Chavez

AFL-CIO Biography

https://aflcio.org/about/history/labor-history-people/cesar-chavez

California State University – San Marcos Biography

https://www.csusm.edu/lafs/chavez.html

Cesar Chavez Foundation Biography

https://chavezfoundation.org/about-cesar-chavez/

UFW and the Story of Cesar Chavez – https://ufw.org/research/history/story-cesar-chavez/

 

  • Selected Internet Sites – Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta Foundation Biography

https://doloreshuerta.org/doloreshuerta/

Dolores Huerta – National Park Service Biography

https://www.nps.gov/people/dolores-huerta.htm

Dolores Huerta – National Women’s History Museum Biography

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/dolores-huerta

 

  • Selected Internet Sites – United Farm Workers (UFW)

National Farm Workers Association – SNCC Legacy Project – https://snccdigital.org/inside-sncc/alliances-relationships/national-farm-workers-association/

United Farm Workers Homepage – https://ufw.org/

United Farm Workers (History and Geography) –

https://depts.washington.edu/moves/UFW_intro.shtml

Contact Information

For more information about our resources and to schedule an appointment to view our resources please feel free to contact us via e-mail: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 761-9476.

Bibliography

1  “The Story of Cesar Chavez,” United Farm Workers of America Homepage, Accessed 10 August 2021. https://ufw.org/research/history/story-cesar-chavez/

2   Varoqua, Adam. “History Rediscovered: The Holy Alliance of the Catholic Church, Seton Hall University, and Iconic Labor Rights Activist Cesar Chavez,” Accessed 21 March 2021.  https://www.shu.edu/latino-institute/news/charter-day-exhibit-displays-seton-hall-mark-on-labor.cfm

 

“We Remember” Seton Hall & 9-11

As we reflect on the twentieth anniversary of the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001, the historical record is deep and reflects upon the many ranges of emotion for those who lived through that day and subsequent generations who are just now learning about its prevailing effects both past and present.  When it comes to the legacy of 9-11 and learning more about the varied issues in published form that connect to this period, the educational benefit is considerable.

The Front page of The Setonian, 13 September 2001

Resources preserved inside the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, the resources found mainly reflect on the student, alumni, and administrative perspective.  For example, within the pages of The Setonian published right after 9-11 there are several articles that explore not only the basics of the attack on the World Trade Center, but also on a local level in salute to both the victims and heroes who had connections to the school.  Additional articles appeared in the Seton Hall University Magazine and other communiqués produced campus-wide during this time and in subsequent years to mark the occasion.

Additional information can also be referenced within the many articles and books that have been penned about the subject found in our Rare Book and the University Libraries Main Collections.  Special copies of the Thomas L. Friedman volume entitled: Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2002) and Superpower Syndrome: America’s Apocalyptic Confrontation With the World. (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2003) are found in our Special Collections Center.  Other volumes include a work by former Writer-In-Residence Anthony De Palma whose work” City of Dust: Illness, Arrogance, and 9/11. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2011) is included with many other titles found via our SetonCat bibliographical system.  Various print materials under the Library of Congress subject heading: “September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001” can be referenced via our homepage found within this site – https://library.shu.edu/home

When it comes to our Manuscript Collections, the Honorable Donald M. Payne Papers features a detailed file on September 11th from a U.S. Congressional standpoint. More information on the collection proper can be found via the following link – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/34116  Other documentation and resources from different entities and Catholic New Jersey-centered outlets in particular are also available to our research community on many levels.

Memorial Cross and Register of Deceased from 9-11 located in front of Boland Hall, Seton Hall University

The Seton Hall University Homepage also includes a number of different resources that commemorate the aftermath of 9-11 over the past decades along with other significant pages that touch upon this anniversary. A corresponding list of individual site links can be found here – https://www.shu.edu/search.cfm?q=9%2F11#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=9%2F11&gsc.page=1

For more information related to any aspect related to 9-11 please feel free contact us via e-mail at: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Pomp and Circumstance Zet Forward – Commencement Exercises at Setonia

Graduation Day is a rite of passage for any senior who has fulfilled all coursework requirements necessary to earn a diploma, but this milestone is further seen as both recognition and reward for their dedication to educational achievement.  Traditionally, the annual commencement ceremony is one that is seen as a high point and celebratory event as a capstone for any academic year at Seton Hall.

There is a primary graduation exercise that typically takes place during the month of May, but the experience for each graduate is typically enhanced through related ceremonies sponsored by each individual School and College on campus.  The name of each graduate, their major and degree along with information about the rituals that are observed at each event.  These details are memorialized through the pages of commemorative program booklets are often complimented with invitation cards, event tickets, and other documentation that have made for valuable archival resources that outline these multiple observances for future generations to reference.

Seton Hall College Commencement Program, 1888

Between the founding date of Setonia in 1856 to the present day, the planning and pageantry of all commencement exercises has a noteworthy history.  Official ceremonies were held during the first few years that the campus was located in Madison through its move to South Orange.  However, it was not until 1862 when the first graduate Mr. Louis Firth started a trend for thousands of other future alumni who would ultimately earn a diploma from Seton Hall.  Printed programs of that era outlined the ceremonial aspects of each annual observance and these records show that musical and dramatic programming was a traditional feature along with the parade of those donning the gown, hood, and mortar boards which further enhanced the occasion for attendees through most of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

When it came to the choice of commencement venues over the years, the first ceremonies often took place off-campus at local Music Halls in and around nearby Newark.  With the construction of Walsh Gymnasium (re-christened the Regan Recreation Center) by 1939 this central campus locale became the new home to ceremonies over the next several years for the few hundred students (on average) who earned their Latin-inscribed diplomas each year.  Degree parchments would change over time, but most contain variations on the following wording . . .

(Latin Text): REGENTES UNIVERSITATIS SETONIANAE – Omnibus Has Litteras Lecturis – SALUTEM IN DOMINO – Testamur nos, pro factultate nobis summa Republicae Neo-Caesarienis protestate facta, unaniemi consensus provechisse – Ad gradum – Cum omnibus honoribus iuribus ac privilegis huic gradus adnexis.  Quo malor sit fedis ac testimonium plerius, has litteras communi nostro Sigillo et manu nostra muniendas curavimus.

(English Translation): THE REGENTS OF SETON HALL UNIVERSITY – TO ALL WHO READ THIS DOCUMENT – GREETINGS IN THE LORD – We testify that, with the power given to us by the supreme authority of the State of New Jersey, we have promoted to the degree of <insert> with all the honors, rights and privileges appertaining to this degree.  Wherefore, so that its authenticity may be greater and the attestation the fuller, we have undertaken to reinforce this document with our common seal and our hand.”

Notes on the 1931 Seton Hall College Commencement (75th Anniversary)

The number of degrees minted for each class would change with the large influx of students that enrolled at Seton Hall who took advantage of the GI Bill of Rights and tuition support after World War II. This resulted in a several-fold increase in the number of graduates that would increase in number from the late 1940s to the present day.

From the 1940s-50s and the succeeding decades, commencement-centered events were held on campus.  The ceremonies were usually held in the shadow of the “Atom Wall” (or other historical campus building depending upon the year and number of guests) which hosted the graduates, families, administrators, clergy, faculty, special guests, and friends who set upon the University Green.  During the mid-twentieth century with an increased number of graduates to account for and honor, multiple ceremonies were often scheduled usually a morning and afternoon session on the same day for example.  This helped with logistics such as parking and making sure that ample space on campus was available for all in attendance on particular graduation day.

1975 Commencement Exercises on the University Green at Seton Hall

Counted among the most memorable and highly publicized of individual commencement exercises came in 1983 when U.S. President Ronald Regan received an honorary degree along with artist Ms. Pearl Bailey and television executive Mr. Gary Nardino which resulted in a memorable event in Seton Hall History.

President Ronald Regan Speech at Seton Hall University – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l1IUqtJiuI

The popularity of Seton Hall commencements throughout the early-mid 1980s led to the search for a larger venue by the end of this decade.  This led the administration to book an off-campus venue which resulted in a long-term relationship with the Brendan Byrne-Meadowlands Arena (now known as the IZOD Center) in East Rutherford.  This lasted until the 2010s when the Prudential Center in Newark became the primary choice and central place for graduation exercises to this day.  Due to restrictions brought on by the Global Pandemic, the 2020 ceremony was cancelled, but has returned this year as a hybrid and multi-session event with both live and video elements alike.

Regardless of the year, the commemorative program booklets produced for each graduation ceremony show their own distinctive artwork, content, and uniqueness for those representing Seton Hall by a particular academic year.  Within the Monsignor William Noe’ Field Archives & Special Collections Center, the University Archives proper contain copies of many annual Commencement Programs dating back to the nineteenth century.  Within the pages of these guides, the names of each graduate and degree they received along with the commencement committee, marshals, order of events and individuals involved with the event including professors.  In addition, honorary degree recipients have been recorded over the years and usually give the keynote speech along with the valedictorian(s) who represent the student body.  Overall this is a day for the graduate and their families and the printed materials generated in their honor is an important part of our collection.

 

 

 

 

1971 Seton Hall University Commencement Program

In addition to programs, various literature including invitation cards, press clippings, photographs, diplomas, and other materials of note that have memorialized one of the most special days within any academic year.  From the earliest graduation paraphernalia to the inclusion of present-day resources (including multiple ceremonies due to COVID-19 precautions) through the most recent editions during May of 2021 have been documented in various ways.  For example, the following links below provide additional specific information and context in regard to various graduation events in different forms and formats including catalog links and video presentations alike . . .

Commencement – Seton Hall University (ArchiveSpace)

https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=commencement&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

Commencement Sites (Seton Hall University Home Page) – https://www.shu.edu/search.cfm?q=commencement#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=commencement&gsc.page=1

Commencement – Seton Hall University Graduation Exercises (YouTube) – https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=seton+hall+commenccement

University History LibGuide = Honorary Degree Recipients, Yearbooks, Seton Hall Magazine, and other resources featuring Commencement-related information) –https://library.shu.edu/ld.php?content_id=13780930

1910 Seton Hall College Commencement Program

For more information on Graduation Ceremonies, Seton Hall History, and related subjects please feel free to reach out to us.  We can be contacted via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.  Thank you in advance and congratulations to all members of the Class of 2021!

Rita Murphy – Educator, Media Trendsetter, and Icon of Irish Enlightenment

 

Within the month of March and various commemorations honoring both Women’s History and Irish American Heritage, the Monsignor William Noé Archives & Special Collections Center houses a number of resources that represent these corresponding subject areas.  In regard to specific examples, our repository also plays host to the legacy of Miss Rita M. Murphy (1912-2003), one of the most prolific figures in the annals of school history and Irish educational circles alike.

Miss Rita Murphy is one of three women born to Irish émigrés – Edward Murphy formerly of Drominarigle, Newmarket, County Cork and Mary (née Collins), a native County Longford, Éire.  Rita lived most of her early life with immediate family on Wegman Parkway within the Greenville neighborhood of Jersey City, New Jersey.  The Murphys were proud of their ties to Hudson County as Edward worked for several years as the Chief Clerk for the Jersey City Fire Department.

The formative academic years for Rita consisted of embracing learning opportunities offered throughout the 1910s and 20s.  This included enrollment at the Sacred Heart Grammar School located in her hometown prior to her graduation from nearby St. Aloysius Academy in 1930.

Fall 1937 Urban Division Student Requirements – Seton Hall College

Miss Murphy was a lifelong advocate of schooling for all which became one of her more serious passions upon receiving a B.S. in Education from the State Teacher’s College in Jersey City (presently known as New Jersey City University) during the early 1930s.  Miss Murphy was later part of the vanguard as a member of the first class of women to enroll at the Seton Hall Urban Division in Jersey City during the Fall of 1937, and later counted among the earliest female graduates of the institution one year later.  Just after receiving her diploma, Miss Murphy complimented the Urban Division personnel roster when she became the first female head of an information center on campus when named Director of the Urban Division Library during the 1938-39 academic year.  Her studies at Setonia did not end here, as Miss Murphy later earned a master’s degree from the school prior by the start of the 1940 semester.

Miss Murphy at her graduation day in 1937 (SHUP Photographs)

Education ultimately became a full-time vocation for Miss Murphy when she was hired as an instructor at the Sacred Heart School of Newark and then as a History Teacher at Snyder High School also located in Newark.  Miss Murphy rose to the position of Department Chair during her later career after many years in a classroom setting.  She was also an Assistant Professor of American History at the Seton Hall Urban Division for several semesters which complimented her work at the preparatory school level.

Miss Murphy and her legacy not only centered around the students she touched in the course of her academic life, but also as a passionate advocate and devotee of celebrating the story of Ireland, the heritage, and the people associated with her ancestral homeland.

In many ways, the most memorable contribution to campus life and academics made by Miss Murphy came with her leadership efforts as long-time director of the Institute of Irish Culture with most classes held at the Jersey City and Newark campuses from the 1950s through the transition to South Orange by the 1970s.  This initiative offered individuals the opportunity to study for course credit, or on a non-matriculation basis depending upon the preference of the applicant.  Miss Murphy herself taught the two credit – “INTRODUCTION TO HISTORY OF IRELAND” course on Tuesday evenings during the school year.  She also gave a number of independent talks and lectures around New Jersey especially during the month of March for all age groups on a number of specific topics related to Irish History and Culture.  This included a specialization in folktales including her own creation entitled “The Lonely Leprechaun” among other popular themes that made Miss Murphy a widely sought speaker around the state.

Typical schedule and list of offerings found at the Institute of Irish Culture at Seton Hall during the 1950s

Miss Murphy also hosted a long-time weekly Irish Music Program on W-S-O-U FM entitled – “Pageant of Ireland” that was christened on St. Patrick’s Day 1957 at the request of Msgr. John L. McNulty, University President.  Drawing upon the popularity of this single show, Miss Murphy created a weekly 25-minute program that regularly aired on Monday evenings from 7:05-7:25 p.m. between 1957 until its final sign-off in 1994 having accounted for over 1,100 individual shows in the process.  When discussing the longevity of the show with local writer, Mr. Jim Lowney during the early 1980s, Miss Murphy noted that: “When I first dedicated to do the weekly shows.  I feared I would run out of themes and songs.  I didn’t.  Overall all those years (almost 22) every program was new and different.  I found that one program idea often led to another . . .”

When it came to other areas of mass media, Miss Murphy wrote occasional newspaper articles, reports, and was enlisted for book reviews in regard to a number of Irish texts.  She was also a pioneer in broadcast television when she served as a regular panelist on the “Ireland’s Heritage” television program airing over Newark-based station W-A-A-T (later W-N-E-T) TV, Channel 13 between 1955-57.

TV Guide Entry for “Ireland’s Heritage,” c. March, 1957

 

 

 

Screen shots of Miss Murphy’s television program – “Ireland’s Heritage, c. 1957

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her work continued to impact on a number of individuals moving into the following decade as Miss Murphy earned the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award from Pope Paul VI in 1968 for recognition of her work on behalf of the Archdiocese of Newark for her work on behalf of religious education connected with the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine within the Archdiocese of Newark.

During her lifetime, Miss Murphy divided time between homes in Jersey City and Allenhurst.  It was in Allenhurst where she kept most of her personal library of books and record albums which encompassed significant square footage across three floors of the house.  These resources were a constant companion both in her active years and during her retirement as the new millennium approached. Miss Murphy passed away in West Long Branch, New Jersey in 2003 and is buried at Mount Calvary in Neptune.  However, her personal motto lives on: “The day you cease to burn with love, people will die with the cold.”

Custom Bookplate utilized by Miss Rita Murphy during her lifetime

Seton Hall is the beneficiary of the largesse provided by Miss Murphy and various family members prior to her death with the donation of the papers, book and record albums that represents her various research and teaching aids for over half a century.  Her collection of nearly 1,000 book titles is complimented by a collection of record albums and subject files including biographical data and early-mid 20th century Irish press pieces including pamphlets, clippings, letters, and other print matter with a particular emphasis on the Irish Institute, Eamon De Valera, Consulate General of Ireland, Friends of Irish Freedom, Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Book Reviews, and other relevant materials.

This collection has since been organized into one of our signature assemblages on Ireland and the Irish Diaspora.  The following abstract provides an introduction to the “Rita Murphy Papers and Phonographs Collections” (MSS 0015) which dates from 1898-2001.  “Scope and Contents – The Rita Murphy papers documents her interest in Irish culture and history. There are two series within this collection; series I consists primarily of letters, newspaper clippings, and book reviews and information, series II consist of phonographic records. In series I, the letters document communication between Ms. Murphy and various Irish people of importance and the newspaper clippings document Irish cultural history. In series II, the phonographic record holdings (1908-73) include folk and classical Irish music selections along with popular Western music and spoken word recordings.”

Here is a link to find out more specific details about the Rita Murphy Collection – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/183

For more information about Rita Murphy, Seton Hall University History, and any aspect of the Irish experience and/or related topics please feel free to contact us via e-mail at: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Ike and the Seton Hall University Centennial

During the Centennial Year of Seton Hall University in 1956, this milestone date in school history led to the planning of a number of public programs that commemorated not only the evolution of the academic-based legacy of Setonia found in the classroom, but also the contributions of her students, faculty, and alumni to American society at large.  The presentations and specially-themed events scheduled throughout the 1956 Academic Year not only touched upon the ties Seton Hall nurtured in relation to religious life and educational enlightenment, but also linked to industry, commerce, medical support, science, publishing, and a number of other disciplines that touched upon community support.  Additionally, the most visible area of community public service in which Setonia had a long history of connections was that of political science and governmental affairs.

Event program cover from the Centennial of Seton Hall University (1956)Beyond having a long and productive relationship with a number of local and national politicians alike, the school and its cognizance of the United States Presidency is one that has been one that has been studied via courses campus-wide over the last several semesters and the campus has hosted various candidates for the highest office in the land over the last several decades.  When it comes to sitting Chief Executives and their appearances within the Seton Hall story, the most famous example was the visit of President Ronald Reagan at the Commencement Exercises held on the University Green in 1983.  However, another chapter that is notable was the invitation extended to President Dwight David Eisenhower by University President Monsignor John McNulty to be a part of the Centennial Convocation in 1956.

The invitation to “Ike” was a logical idea since it was a major anniversary celebration for the institution, but the Deputy White House Chief of Staff and Appointments Secretary to President Eisenhower was noted lawyer, Mr. Bernard Shanley, a native of Newark who served in this capacity from 1955-57 and had established ties to Seton Hall and the Archdiocese.  Ike was also connected to the values of higher education as the former President of Columbia University (1948-53) along with his prestige as a war hero and leader of the country  all made for the hope that he would be a part of this anniversary pageant.  However, President Eisenhower would ultimately send his regrets via telegram that he could not attend ceremonies in South Orange that year.

When retrospectively looking behind the reasons why Ike would not grace center stage at the podium, or the strains of “Hail to the Chief” were not heard, were various and understandable.  In conducting research through the diaries of Bernard Shanley held within the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center and various Seton Hall-centered resources a picture of the inner-workings of scheduling during late-February through early March emerges.  Ike was a popular president, but he was facing the unknown when it came to re-election and the Democratic primaries going on at that time which included candidates Estes Kefauver (TN), W. Averell Harriman (NY) and eventual nominee Adlai Stevenson (IL).  This took on greater significance as rumors as to the ill health of President Eisenhower were reported nationwide through the early months of 1956.  On February 29th, Ike made a public pronouncement that he would seek re-election that November.  Otherwise, during that first week of March, Ike was in conference regarding a letter written by FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover on the topic of Civil Rights (3/1), preparation for a Summit Meeting with leaders from Canada and Mexico later that month with input from former President Herbert Hoover (3/3), a speech to the Fourth Annual Republican Women’s National Conference (3/6), taking time to send a birthday greeting to Pope Pius XII, and other duties along with sending the telegram of regrets to Monsignor McNulty and the Seton Hall community.

Banner and Headline of The Setonian from March 15, 1956

Although he did not physically visit our campus, this gesture of recognition by President Eisenhower was well-received by the Seton Hall community at the time and his place although directly fleeting in terms of personal contact with the school would be helpful through various initiatives such as the first White House Commission on Education (1955), various Higher Education initiatives (1950s-1960), and the Federal Aid Highway Act (1956) for commuters, among other imprints made by Ike and other Chief Executives over the years as we remember them on as part of this President’s Day observance.

For more information on Dwight David Eisenhower, please consult his President Library Website via the following URL – https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/

For more information about our Manuscript Collections including the Bernard Shanley Papers, and other aspects of U.S. Political and Seton Hall University history we can be reached via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Documenting Setonia – Written by Hand and Handled With Care

January 23rd marks National Handwriting Day which was established in 1977 to promote and celebrate the usage of writing instruments from the quill to ballpoint pens along with the paper upon which such methods as cursive, script, and other self-expression is put into print for posterity.  This particular date was also chosen to commemorate the birthday of John Hancock, first Autographer of the Declaration of Independence who arguably has the most famous signature in American History.  However, the story of handwriting can be traced further back in time.

Iconic Illustration from the 1926 White & Blue, Seton Hall College Yearbook

Written communication can be traced back to Ancient Rome (c. fifth century AD) that was built on contributions from other founding civilizations and in the process became an important means of non-verbal communication and by extension preserving the word of the author for future reference.  As this practice caught hold and moving forward to other eras, the Medieval period has been noted for manuscripts reproduced by cloistered monks who patiently and expertly provided copies of texts (mainly Christian and classical-based) as an important service to humanity as a means of promoting literacy and inspire deeper learning opportunities than ever before.  With the advent of the Printing Press during the sixteenth century this lessened the need for handwritten, mass produced works and ushered in a new era of mass-produced writings.  Despite this invention the trade art of “penmanship” still became a sought after skill set especially in the documentary establishment of the American Republic and as the nation grew in size and population where school systems, mail service, and other forums for handwritten communication were created.

With the establishment of the United States and moving into the nineteenth century, a bookkeeper named Platt Rogers Spencer who adopted a method to teach cursive writing that was captured in various textbooks and made its way to various schools and colleges to help students improve their respective writing styles.  Eventually print and cursive developed into various methods side-by-side in the dawn before typewriters and later computers would help with journaling and interpersonal communication.  Overall, expanded technology has superseded the need or want to write as a matter of preferred course.  More information on the historical evolution of handwriting can be referenced via the V-Letter and History Channel sites found via the links located below . . .

https://www.vletter.com/help/font-faq/history-of-handwriting.html

https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-penmanship-on-national-handwriting-day#:~:text=Borrowing%20aspects%20of%20the%20Etruscan,script%20for%20transactions%20and%20correspondence.&text=Elegant%20handwriting%20emerged%20as%20a,educating%20generations%20of%20master%20scribes

Page featuring student autographs – 1926 White & Blue Seton Hall College Yearbook

Although handwriting is not in vogue in the present day except for the most part among those who prefer traditional forms of communication and to “jot down” information, but if nothing else a personal signature and/or requested autograph are at the very least a form of handwriting that has held on as a mark of personal identification and shows that the practice has not departed altogether.  These examples are true to life within the world of Seton Hall academic life where note-taking is now mainly done via a computer laptop, etc.  But there is always a place for handwriting to remain even though it is rarer to find schools that teach this craft in full, or even the elementary level basics nowadays.

When looking at historical textbooks and examples within our Rare Book Collection there are a pair of texts found that show how the student of the nineteenth century learned the finer art of taking their writing skills into advanced applications.  The following works include the following texts . . .

A volume entitled: Five Hundred Mistakes of Daily Occurrence in Speaking, Pronouncing, and Writing the English Language, Corrected. (New York: D. Burgess & Co., 1856) [Call Number: PE1460 .B8 1856] is one that saw print in the same year that Seton Hall College was founded.  Within this book, the modern reader can see what some of the most common errors and correct approaches were made among the student body of yore.

Within this volume you can see five hundred individual examples from the first . . .

“THE business would suit any one who enjoys bad health.”  [From an advertisement in a daily newspaper of New-York.]  Few persons who have bad health can be said to enjoy it.  Use some other form of expression: as, one in delicate health, or, one whose health is bad.”

Through to the five-hundredth on their list . . .

The last direction which this little book will give on the subject with which it has been occupied, is one that long ago was given in the greatest of books – “Let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ.”  If obedience to this injunction may not guard him who heeds it against the commission of such mistakes as are numbered in this catalogue, it will not fail to lead him out of the way of errors more grievous and solemn.”

More specific to Setonia, is the book entitled – How to Write Letters: A Manual of Correspondence Showing the Correct Structure, Composition, Punctuation, Formalities, and Uses of the Various Kinds of Letters, Notes, and Cards by J. Willis Westlake (Philadelphia: Christopher Sower Co., 1876) [Call Number: PE 1485 .W4 1876]  Our version was once owned by a former student – Thomas Raftery, ’93 who not only possessed this copy, but along with the book, but also found within the text block was a letter from his mother that shows a perfect example of cursive writing from that period.

Letter written Mrs. Raftery found in the book of her son (c. 1880s-early 1890s)

Along with their primer in tow, Mr. Raftery would have encountered a core curriculum that was totally structured and included detailed classes in English Composition along with optional instruction in stenography and/or drawing (for $50.00 per annum apiece) to help with his writing practice and perfecting his form.  Even though Mr. Raftery attended the school for a brief time without graduating he did have the basic tools to aid with his writing efforts.  This is one of many examples that features unique handwritten registers, letters, and other documents based content that have been transcribed and preserved in our repository.  These materials are available to researchers for exploration and perspective on handwriting styles and content that have been created through sight and hand alike.

For more information on the other 498 Mistakes, see other examples of handwriting in the name of academic life and administrative business, and other aspects of handwriting along with the Rare Books and Seton Hall History feel free to reach out to us via e-mail at: Archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.