The Thomas and Margaret Melady papers: a Window to Africa of the ’60s and ’70s.

Thomas and Margaret Melady papers
Thomas and Margaret Melady papers, Mss 0072

Ambassador Thomas P. and Dr. Margaret B. Melady have been involved in diplomatic and international affairs since the 1950s, particularly on the continent of Africa. Ambassador Melady has held multiple diplomatic posts for the United States, including Ambassador to Burundi, Ambassador to Uganda, and Ambassador to the Holy See, and is the new Interim Dean of the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations here at Seton Hall University. Dr. Melady is an alumnus of Seton Hall, a former President of the American University in Rome, and is now the President of Melady Associates, a firm specializing in public affairs and educational counseling. The couple have written multiple books on politics in Africa, including Ten African Heroes: The Sweep of Independence in Black Africa, published in 2011.

The correspondence and personal papers that formed the core of the research for that book are a part of a new archival collection held at the Archives and Special Collections Center, the Thomas and Margaret Melady papers, 1959-2010 (bulk 1960-1975). The collection is the gift of Ambassador and Dr. Melady, and documents their involvement with many of the individuals responsible for the vast political changes that took place over the whole continent of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to the ten men featured in the book, who feature prominently in the collection, there are letters from dozens of other individuals and organizations, photographs, and newsclippings documenting that turbulent time.

Thomas Melady first went to Africa in the 1950s while working for the Foreign Service. He and Margaret Badum married in 1961, and the couple spent a great deal of their time in Africa throughout the 1960s and 1970s, deeply involved in diplomatic and political events all over the continent.  Thomas Melady also started the Africa Service Institute, an organization dedicated to the education and advancement of students and leaders in Africa. The materials in the Thomas and Margaret Melady papers cover 36 nations and areas from Angola to Zimbabwe, and cover a range of topics from the intensely personal to the course of nations. Correspondents include political leaders, such as Léopold Sédar Senghor, William V.S. Tubman, and Kenneth David Kaunda; Catholic officials such as Archbishop Jean Zoa of Yaoundé and Archbishop Luc-Auguste Sangare of Bamako; fellow diplomats from and to the United States or the United Nations; students, academics, priests, and many others. Topics include political events in Africa and the United States, the role of racism in politics of the day, requests for assistance from the Africa Service Institute, personal notes of thanks and updates, and a wide variety of conversational subjects.

This rich collection was described in detail by the Meladys before coming to the Archives, and that original description forms the majority of the finding aid. While no materials from the collection have yet been digitized, the entire original collection is available at the Archives and Special Collections Center, on the first floor of Walsh Library. Please see our Hours page to find Hours and Directions, or Contact Us to make an appointment.

The book Ten African Heroes is also available in the Archives and Special Collections Center.

John M. Oesterreicher Books and Journals

The personal library of Mgsr. John M. Oesterreicher is just one aspect of his extensive collection available in the Archives and Special Collection Center. His personal library contained more than 5300 monographs and over 150 journal titles. As of this month all of Msgr. Oesterriecher’s books are available through the Seton Hall University library catalog and a list of journals is available through the collection’s finding aid. These materials date from the early 20th century through his death in 1993, and focus on Catholicism, Judaeo-Christian Studies and anti-Semitism. It includes works in English, German, French and Hebrew.

John M. Oesterreicher presents The Bridge IV to Pope Paul VI
John M. Oesterreicher presents The Bridge IV to Pope Paul VI, from the John M. Oesterreicher papers, Mss 0053. See this and other images from the Oesterreicher collection at the Digital Field Archives and Special Collections Center.

Mgsr. Oesterreicher was born February 2, 1904 in Stadt-Liebau, Moravia, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, into a Jewish family. He studied theology at the Universities of Graz and Vienna, was ordained to the priesthood in 1927, and in 1953 he founded the Institute for Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. He served as consultor to the Secretariat for Christian Unity during several sessions of the Second Vatican Council and was named an Honorary Prelate in recognition of his work. Msgr. Oesterreicher was a prolific author, publishing several books, an underground journal in Germany in the 1930s, many pamphlets, and numerous articles. He passed away in 1993.

Contributed by Len Iannaccone.

Catholic Studies: Primary Sources & Special Collections LibGuide

In collaboration with the Department of Catholic Studies and University Libraries, Catholic Studies: Primary Sources and Special Collections, featuring archival resources housed in the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, has been created to inform the community about our unique primary source offerings that focus upon Catholicism in its varied forms.  Like other LibGuides that are designed to help individuals navigate their way through a particular subject area, this guide provides students, faculty, and others with research leads through a series of abstracts, site links, and relevant information boxes.

Catholic Studies LibGuide

The major feature of this particular LibGuide is providing detailed lists of finding aids created by Professor Tracy M. Jackson (who also co-edits this site), grouped by subject, that describe unique manuscript collections housed within our Center.  Those related to the Catholic Church can be found under designated heading tabs including: Catholic New Jersey; Catholic Church History, 19th Century; Catholic Church History, 20th Century; Women in the Catholic Church; and Catholic Organizations. Collections belonging to the parent organizations of the Center are listed under University Archives Collections and Archdiocese of Newark Collections.  In addition to these, the personal and professional papers of various Catholic political legislators including former New Jersey Governors Richard Hughes and Brendan Byrne along with notable figures such as Bernard Shanley, Matthew Rinaldo, Marcus Daly and Leonard Dreyfus are also well represented.

This guide also highlights collections and materials held outside of the Center. Special sections highlighting unique bibles found at the Immaculate Conception Seminary, rare book holding descriptions and traditional reference guides such as almanacs, directories, and encyclopedia citations held in Walsh Library are provided for context.  Information leads connecting to local research centers and libraries featuring other Catholic based resource materials can also be found via this site.

A companion guide, Catholic Studies, produced by Professor Anthony E. Lee gives information about general research in Catholic Studies. Or visit our other LibGuides specifically related to Archives & Special Collections.

Archives and Special Collections LibGuides

To help make our collections more accessible, the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center has two LibGuides designed to assist researchers and students in finding materials.

Special Collections LibGuide
Special Collections LibGuide

LibGuides are collections of resources put together by librarians and library staff. A LibGuide is a handy way to gather together information about a particular subject by providing links to library databases, links to outside websites, lists of books or materials, how-to instructions, videos, RSS feeds, and even documents for download. Librarians at Seton Hall have created LibGuides on areas of study, how to conduct research, using the library, and many useful topics for students and members of the SHU community.

The Center’s LibGuides are geared to assist students and researchers in conducting primary source research. The Special Collections at Seton Hall University LibGuide is our newest and most extensive LibGuide. This guide groups our collections by topic and provides a brief description of each one, and includes information on archival collections, rare book collections, and other materials that are not housed in the Archives and Special Collections Center on the first floor of Walsh Library. In order to assist students and other users with finding as much material that may be relevant to their research as possible, this guide also includes descriptions of materials that may not have any other online descriptions yet, such as unprocessed archival collections, and materials at other Seton Hall locations, such as the Rodino Law Library in Newark. To further assist researchers, a tab called Forms and Policies includes information useful to those who wish to conduct research at the Center, or to request services. This guide is still being developed, and more information on materials and collections at Seton Hall will be added, along with information on how to conduct primary source research and how to access digital materials.

The Finding Aids LibGuide includes links to all current online finding aids, and is updated as soon as a new finding aid is posted. This LibGuide is primarily for providing quick access to finding aids and may be most useful for those researchers who are somewhat familiar with our collections or who want to know which finding aids are available online.

Our Online Finding Aids Get a Face Lift

Here at the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center we have many wonderful archival collections containing a vast assemblage of historical artifacts, images, documents, and information. As part of our continuing efforts to make these resources more easily and readily available, we are working hard on making the descriptions of these materials easier to find and use. Finding aids for archival collections, the basic descriptions of and guides to the materials in collections, are now available as standalone web pages, available from our Online Finding Aids page.

The Online Finding Aids page will have a continually updated list of all the collection finding aids currently available as webpages, listed by the collection number and grouped by Manuscript Collections, Seton Hall University Collections, and Archdiocese of Newark Collections. To view the finding aid for a given collection, simply click on the link in the collection title. The finding aid for that collection will include information about the creator(s) of the collection, the types of materials the collection includes, and subjects covered by the collection. Use the navigation menu on the left side of the page for easier use of the finding aid, or use the command Control F to search for keywords.

Previously, our online finding aids were available through our Digital Collections site, via the Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids page. These finding aids will continue to be available, until they too can be updated.

Because finding aids are descriptions of the materials, they do not include digitized materials; to view the collections and materials described on this site, come visit the Archives and Special Collections Center in person (see our homepage for more information), or explore our Digital Collections. And keep an eye on this site for further developments!