As like any library, the Archives and Special Collection Center has a number of books in need of repair and conservation. Below are some examples:
This 1787 edition of Notes on the state of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson is currently held together by black book tape and needs to be rebound. The book’s text block (book pages and inner binding) are intact but no longer attached to its front and back covers, the included map of Virginia and neighboring states also has some minor damage. This edition is one of the rare volumes published by Jefferson during his lifetime.
This rare 1578 volume by Ignazio Danti is one of the first Italian works that centers on astromony and the use of the astrolabe. The highly damaged cover and spin are made from vellum and needs to be conserved or replaced. The book has also survived previous water damage and the staining is visible throughout.
Another prevalent issue in rare book collections is ‘red rot,’ which is the degradation process of leather. If stored in the improper conditions the leather can degrade and weaken, producing a powder-like residue which transfers to other books, crumbles onto shelving and generally gets everywhere. The damage is irreversible, but can be somewhat stabilized through conservation. This example is an 1860 edition of the History of the religious Society of Friends by Samuel Janney.
If you are interested in helping the University preserve these irreplaceable works, please consider donating to the Friends of the Archive Fund, contact Director Kate Dodds for more information.
Have you ever imagined living in another time and place? Finding out more about daily routines in the course of recorded history through the words of historians who chronicle the story of human experience are invaluable to the present day reader. Another useful aid is a publication(s) from the actual time period which documents the doings of a person, place, or object first hand. With this in mind, and more specifically, materials that allow for personal reference from an annual perspective such as directories, yearbooks, and most notably almanacs provide the researcher with useful data to learn from by word and number alike.
An “almanac” (or “almanack” or “almanach” as they are sometimes referred to) by definition is an annual publication that provides weather forecasts, tide rates, astronomical data, and other relevant information in tabular form. Modern day almanacs have evolved to include various statistical and descriptive information such as economics, government, religion, and political results among other subject areas that touch not only upon local communities, but national and world issues in brief line item and/or summary form. The earliest known almanac published in the “modern sense” was the Almanac of Azarqueil written in 1088 by Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm, al-Zarqālī in Toledo, al-Andalus. There have been several subsequent examples from here as found in different countries, languages, and specializations.
One example of an international almanac found in our collection can be located in our rare book collection if you look back 280 years ago at a far different world than the one of today. This volume entitled: The Gentleman and Citizen’s Almanack, For the Year of Our Lord (Dublin: S. Powell, for John Watson, Bookseller to be sold at his shop on Merchants Key, near the Old Bridge, 1734) is a tome that provides a look at 18th century life in Ireland. This book provides a traditional format with the following array of categories found in the index: “Tide Table, Table of Twilight,” “Table of Coin and Gold Weights,” “Table for a Company Foot,” “Table of the Price of Goods,” “Table fo the Weight of Bread,” “Masters and Wardens Quarterly Assemblies,” “Roads of Ireland,” “Fairs of Ireland,” and others. The attached illustrations provide further details on how the consumers of that day and contemporary readers can relate alike can relate to the facts and figures found here including postal service and its value for communication links before cell phones and twitter for example.
This particular publication provides an every day look at life in an Ireland that goes beyond the essay alone. This and other Irish “almanacks” from 1732-1838 and other books on the Irish experience both reference and beyond can be found here in the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.
For more information contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist at: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu, or (973) 275-2378.
A History of the Family of Seton during Eight Centuries is a two-volume work written by George Seton in 1896 that details the history of the Seton family back to the 10th century. Drawing on an earlier work by Sir Richard Maitland, he traces the main line of the Seton family to its origin. A member of an old British family named Say moved to Scotland, where he adopted the surname Sayton or Seyton upon receiving a grant of land in East Lothian. The name has gone through several spelling changes since that time, including Setone, Setton, Settone, Seytoun, Seaton, Saeton, and Ceton, before Seton was finally adopted by all the principal branches of the family.
The first Seton whose full name could be found was Dougall de Seton, believed to be the son or grandson of the Anglo-Norman immigrant who first assumed the surname. Dougall lived during the time of Alexander I (1107-1124).
Although the family has had ties to Scottish nobility and high society through marriage since its beginning, the first Seton to become a member of the nobility himself was Sir William, the first Lord Seton. Sir William was a distinguished knight, who also became Premier Baron of Scotland and a Lord of Parliament. He appears to have traveled as far as Jerusalem, a significant accomplishment during the mid 14th century in which he lived.
In 1763, seventeen-year-old William Seton, descended from a line of the family that resided in the county of Fife, Scotland, immigrated to the United States to find fortune. Within two years he established himself as a businessman in New York, importing goods from Europe and India. He was a loyalist during the Revolutionary War, but after the war remained in New York and became a citizen of the United States. His eldest son, William, followed in his father’s footsteps as a successful merchant and businessman. On the 25th of January 1794 he married Elizabeth Ann Bayley. After William Seton’s death in 1803, Elizabeth Ann Seton converted to Catholicism. She later founded the first order of the Sisters of Charity in the United States, and opened St. Joseph’s School, the first free Catholic school in the country. She was also the aunt of Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, who decided to name Seton Hall College after her when it was established in 1856. Later, she was canonized as the first American-born saint.
The Seton family can trace their history back eight centuries, how far back can your family go? The Archives has a number of great genealogy resources. One of our most-used collections is the Latter Day Saints microfilm of parish and cemetery records in the Archdiocese of Newark. These microfilms largely consist of sacramental records and cemetery records which can provide key information to genealogists studying their family history. The films, which were made in the mid-1980s by the Latter Day Saints, can be viewed in the Archives by appointment, or can be ordered from Salt Lake City to be sent to a local LDS Family History Center. For more information about Family History Centers, visit the FamilySearch website. You can also request a search to be performed by Archives staff for a $25.00/hour research fee. For more information please visit our Genealogy Resources page, and have fun exploring your family history!
The Archives holds a number of pre-1800 monographs, one such work is C. Julius Solinus’ Polyhistor:Treasury of memorabilia from all over the world.
This edition (shown below) was published in Basel, Switzerland in 1538.
Solinus was a third century Latin scholar, who compiled a number of earlier ancient texts in his Polyhistor, including works from Pliny the Elder and the cartographer Pomponius Mela. Topics covered include the geography of the ancient world and a chronology of ancient Rome.
A number of newer maps are credited to Sebastian Munster (1489-1552). Shown below is a map of Asia, while obviously lacking in details (including Japan) the map does contain a small portion of North American visible in the upper right, labeled ‘terra incognita.’ This has been called one of the earliest maps to feature the west coast of North America.
The same map also includes a number of ships and sea monsters along the bottom edge, in what would be the Indian Ocean.
To learn more about map-making and the history of cartography please consult the library collection, including these works:
The first installment of our three-part series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Great War is now on display in the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center, and will remain until 31 October 2014.
This portion of the exhibit is focused on the beginning of the war, including a set of lead figurines depicting the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and a diorama of a trench which illustrates the crowded, cramped quarters that were endured by soldiers on the Western Front.
In addition, there are figurines depicting early French and German uniforms, models of planes used in the war, and figurines depicting Ottoman soldiers during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. The objects in the exhibit curated by Brianna LoSardo, Special Collections Assistant, are on loan from former history professor and Provost, Dr. Richard Connors.
Throughout the exhibit we are showcasing rare books from our Archives which contain photographs and illustrations of the war, as well as a collection of poetry written during and about the Great War. Maps and art prints complete the display.
The exhibit can be viewed any time the Walsh Library is open, in the display cases across from Walsh Gallery. It will be followed by the second installment on 1 November 2014.
Last year, the Archives and Special Collections Center acquired materials of special importance to the Seton Hall community: the Seton family photograph album and two books belonging to the Seton family.
Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American born saint, founded the first congregation of sisters in the United States, the Sisters of Charity; opened the first free Catholic school in the U.S., St. Joseph’s Academy; and is the namesake of Seton Hall University. Before converting to Catholicism in 1805 and founding an order of sisters, she was married to William Seton and had five children, all of whom were educated in Catholic schools.
William Seton II (later called William Seton Sr.) was Elizabeth’s oldest son, born in 1796, and after completing his education he joined the United States Navy, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He married Emily Prime in 1832 and the couple had seven children of their own before Emily died in 1854. William made a home in New York, in what is now the Bronx, called Cragdon. This estate had a large home, barns, and extensive grounds; it overlooked the village of East Chester and offered beautiful views of the surrounding area.
The Seton family photograph album was made in 1867. The photographer(s) is unknown, but the first page of the album is inscribed to William Seton from Thomas Jevons (who later married William’s daughter Isabel) and Alfred Booth. Jevons and Booth were British businessmen, and it isn’t clear how they came to be acquainted with the Setons, but the album was apparently a gift from the two, featuring photographs of the Setons’ home and surrounds.
The 51 photographs in the album include hand-written descriptions of each image and may have been written by one of William Seton’s children, as he is referred to as Father in at least one image. Many of the images are of the Cragdon house and the areas nearby, including trees, a brook, meadows, ledges, caves, and the nearby East Chester village. A number of the images also include members of the family, usually identified in the caption, and friends and family, as well as clearly beloved pet dogs, also usually named. Winter, spring, and summer are represented in the images, as are activities appropriate to each, including sledding (called “coasting”) and a fishing party.
Although the original cover of the album is missing, the photographs are in good condition and only a little faded, with almost no silvering (a phenomenon of many old photographs in which dark areas turn silver due to chemical changes over time). These lovely images are quite striking now, as they show an area that would today bear little resemblance to the past captured here. For those interested in Mother Seton’s family and the history of Catholics in America in the 19th century, these images depict a genteel family and their home. For those interested in other historical figures, the images include Army officers of the Civil War and active businessmen of New York and England, as well as the costumes of men and women of the upper-middle and serving classes in 1867. For those interested in nature, the images show trees, flowers, and scenery long vanished from where they stood when these pictures were taken, although the current Seton Park in the Bronx may include areas depicted here.
A new exhibit in the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center, Literature as Art, will be available through September 15th. Volumes of world literature published by the Limited Editions Club founded in 1929 by George Macy were beautifully bound and illustrated by artists of the day, in limited number to subscribers.
Attention was paid to the covers, the dust covers as well as to the works and their illustrations. Some are leather bound with embossed designs related to the content. For instance, Daphnis and Chloe by Longus has a golden boss very like a Greek coin with the profiles of the title characters. The Man without a Country by Edward Everett Hale sports an embossed outline of the map of North America while Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage depicts a Union and a Confederate soldier contending over a flag. Other interesting cover concepts include the water silk cover of Samuel Butler’s Erewohn and the bold red and black theme exemplifying Stendhal’s The Red and the Black. The Coverley Papers taken from Addison and Steele’s The Spectator of 1711-1712 is clothed in flowered chintz while Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights wears illustrations of her famous characters, Heathcliff and Cathy, and her own portrait.
Sometimes themes from the book have been used in the cover and dust cover designs as the running penguin motif imprinted on Anatole France’s Penguin Island. In the case of Gargantua & Pantagruel by Rabelais, a mural takes shape across the bindings of the five volumes when they are beside each other in the dust cover. Another period binding technique is the use of marbleized paper. Often used to line the inside cover of a volume, it was used on the dust cover for William Makespeace Thackeray’s The Rose and the Ring and on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables.
Illustrations take the form of pen and ink drawings, wood cut block prints, lithographs or watercolor paintings. Not only do these limited editions provide the subscriber with hours of reading from the canon of Western Literature, they preserve work of regional, period artists and craftsmanship in the production of books rarely seen today in an age when books are often published electronically without any physical form at all. These sumptuous volumes can be seen on the ground floor of Walsh Library, opposite Walsh Gallery whenever the Library is open.
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.
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.
Have You Ever Wanted to Learn More About What Goes into Making a Book and Meet Local Authors in the Process? Then We Have a Program for You!
Please join the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission and friends on Saturday, April 13th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Motherhouse located on the campus of Caldwell College, located in Caldwell, New Jersey for a conference entitled…
“The Art of the Printed Word – Historical Book Creation, From Prayer to Preparation to Publication.”
This program will serve as a showcase the recent publication of Catholic history oriented books, periodicals, and other print resources, but is also designed to show each the steps that go into making a book from idea, research options, the importance of writing and how to achieve a finished product. Speakers will present short talks on their work and will also welcome questions in relation to their expertise. Noted authors including Father Augustine Curley, Carl Ganz, Father Michael Krull, Monsignor Raymond Kupke, Sister Margherita Marchione, Tom McCabe, Brian Regan, Greg Tobin, and others will be present to talk about their experiences and tell you more about the publication process. A major portion of this day will also be devoted for those interested in sharing their own research and interact with the speakers in more depth.
Those doing any type of publishing whether it be institutional and/or parish histories, articles, newsletters, and other specialized volumes are encouraged to attend.
Registration is now open. The cost for the day is $20.00 (students $10.00) per person and this includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. You can register at the door, but advance notice is appreciated. To reserve a space and/or for more information please contact Alan DeLozier via e-mail: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu, or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.
Taighde a thionscnamh. March is widely recognized as the time when the feast of St. Patrick is celebrated, but it has also been specially designated as Irish history month. In the spirit of learning not only about the patron saint of Ireland, but more extensively about the history, culture, arts, spirituality, language, literature, and other aspects about, and emanating from Éire we encourage your research curiosity to flow here in the Archives & Special Collections Center. We welcome you to explore our primary source print materials along with a wide range of book titles from our McManus, Murphy, and Concannon collections among other specialized holdings available for review.
Please consult our Irish Studies LibGuide for more information about the wider value of na Gaeil experience and locating relevant materials through our various resource catalogs. This site provides a central gateway to further inquiry.
We look forward to working with you and fostering a true “foghlaim” (learning) experience. Go raibh maith agat!