Archives and Special Collections + University Weekend Activity Map . . .

Bob DaviesIn the spirit and long established tradition of celebrating homecoming at Setonia (more commonly known as Seton Hall University Weekend), the Archives & Special Collections Center is partnering with organizers of this event to commemorate milestone events in school history for those in attendance.  With this in mind, here is an overview of various historical-inspired highlights that will connect our place with students, parents, alumni, and other special visitors who will be in South Orange to personally enjoy the sights, sounds, and commemorative aspects of campus from Friday, September 23rd-Sunday, September 25th in particular . . .

On Friday, September 23rd from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Team Film Room (located on the lower level of the Athletic Center) you are welcome to join author Mr. Barry Marin who has written a book on Bob Davies, the first All-American athlete in Setonia history who Mr. Martin will discuss in a talk entitled: “Bob Davies:  Superstar of Seton Hall’s Golden Age of Basketball.”  A great deal of research on his book was conducted via our various student and sports-oriented collections on site.  From his findings, Mr. Martin has outlined the focus of his book on Davies and his times in conjunction with the significance our alumnus brought to the game of basketball in the following manner:

“Seton Hall College was a major basketball power in the early and mid-1940s.  The “Wonder Five” team won 43-consecutive games – the sixth longest winning streak in NCAA Division I history. The “Mighty Midgets” won 28 games in a row – the second longest streak in Seton Hall basketball history.  The connecting link between these great teams was Bob Davies, Class of 1942, who Sports Illustrated has recognized as one of eight of the most influential players in the first century of college basketball – a list that included Bill Bradley (Princeton) and Patrick Ewing (Georgetown).  Setonian Davies introduced the behind-the-back dribble, pioneered the penetration and transition styles of play, and created several innovative passes.  His Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame plaque identifies him as the “first Super Star of Modern Professional Basketball.”  The colorful Pirate was such a draw that Walsh Gymnasium (now the Pirates women basketball team’s home court) was initially known as “the House that Bob built.”  Moreover, he was a genuine sports hero-role model. Author Clair Bee used him as the prototype for the character Chip Hilton in 23 juvenile fiction books.  During the 1946-47 basketball season, Davies accomplished a remarkable feat that no NBA player will ever duplicate.  He was league MVP for the Rochester (NY) Royals (now Sacramento Kings) and coached the Seton Hall “Mighty Midgets” to a 24-3 record.  One of the losses was by one point to the Holy Cross Crusaders who won the NCAA Tournament.”

Along with hearing his talk, Mr. Martin will have copies of the book – Bob Davies: A Basketball Legend, (Rochester, NY: RIT Press, 2016) available for purchase and reading at the event courtesy of the University Bookstore.  In addition, a special exhibit on the Setonia connections to Davies has been created in conjunction and cooperation with the Walsh Library Gallery.  A window box display (located in Walsh Library facing the Recreation Center) featuring various artifacts and items from the University Archives Collection have been assembled in honor of this talk and launch of the book.  This exhibit will be up through the entire month of September into October.

special attractionsPrior to this talk, parents visiting campus are invited to join a historical tour of the University Grounds as part of a program entitled: “Campus Then and Now” which will take place on Friday, September 23rd from 2:00-3:00 p.m. starting in the Rotunda of Walsh Library.  This fun and informative stroll around campus will involve a historical overview of the school and detailed descriptions of campus architecture and significance of physical plant development over the years.   For more information on the tour and to register please consult the Seton Hall Weekend website .

Alumni and Student Life in particular are also being celebrated that weekend, and in recognition of the times and legacy of the Golden Pirates of 1966, a display case exhibit showing various items representing the anniversary of this class and their activities at Setonia can be found on the First Floor of Walsh Library (opposite the stairwell) near the entrance to the Archives & Special Collections Center.  Featured is collage of various illustrations showcasing special programs, snapshots, athletic information, student activities, and even the annual Galleon and “April Fool’s Edition” of The Setonian for that year.  This case will be available for view throughout University Weekend.

More information on the full schedule and overview of programming to take place on University Weekend and to register for different events please visit their main site. For more information on the talks, displays, and other questions involving school traditions please feel free to contact University Archivist, Alan Delozier via e-mail at: or by phone: (973) 275-2378 for more information.  Enjoy the event and activities ahead!

Back to School – First Day Fever for Seton Hall Students Over the Years

welcome to shuThe refrain of “Welcome to Seton Hall” has been shared on many occasions with scores of students who have ventured through the front gates of the school over the last 160 years.  Although such a salutation can come at any point in time, early September just before Labor Day (or late August over the last decade in particular) has traditionally been designated as the dawn of an academic year for college bound individuals across the country with Seton Hall being no exception to this traditional rite of passage.


Prior to the moment of entry, plenty of preparation faces the undergraduate student from the Freshman who encounter a number of Orientation Sessions prior to attendance through Seniors who are making their final semester opening appearance on campus.  The fine tuning of course selection, purchase of school supplies, bracing for “Move-In Day” and other time honored and timely rituals are often routinely encountered by young scholars across the board.  Once arriving on site, the student body is busy settling in, meeting roommates, making friends, selecting activities, studying course syllabi, book purchasing, and balancing meal plans among many other tasks start in earnest and helps to define the semester that lies ahead for each budding Setonian.  Reflection of these moments are often special to those who lived through these new experiences and many alumni have kept enduring memories of their first time on campus.  With this in mind, the literature produced by the school each term reinforces the structure and substance that goes into planning for a starting term from the first onward.


college calendar 1876The first day of classes ever at Seton Hall came on September 1, 1856 in Madison, New Jersey (prior to the move of operations to South Orange four year later) when a total of five students enrolled at the fledgling institution after paying their room and board of $200 per annum.  The original attendance roster included the following names – Leo G. Thebaud (Madison), Louis and Alfred Boisaubin (Madison), Peter Meehan (Hoboken), and John Moore (New York City).  This number rose to 11 by the end of September and either by on-time registration or those who chose delayed enrollment, the school was now in operation and set the trend for first days to follow thereafter.  For example, attendance figures for registrants to open a fall school term rose to 105 by 1865-66 and fluctuated below or near this number through the remainder of the 1800s.  An upswing figure-wise came during the 20th century as Seton Hall boasted over 200 newcomers for the first time by 1925-26 (259 total) as a prelude to the era of four-figure registrations which came about in 1938-39 when the Urban Division (Extension) Schools of Newark and Jersey City featured 1,025 students (481 at the South Orange campus) on their books.  However, it would not be until 1945-46 when the main campus hosted 1,008 new students (2,109 at the Urban Division) and the year following exploded even further in terms of Setonians who first arrived on site with 2,994 and 3,312 attending classes in South Orange and at the Urban Division respectively.  Thousands more per year and in sum thereafter have also experienced their first day in building a tradition that has endured to the present day.


Various resources trace the beginning of each semester through the finish are available for research purposes here in our collection.  For more information about University History from start to finish please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist via e-mail: or by phone: (973) 275-2378.  In the meantime, a perpetual “Welcome to Seton Hall” everyone!

From The Far East to Seton Hall – Exhibits in Honor and Remembrance of Dr. John C.H. Wu

Presently on exhibit in the Archives & Special Collections Center Reading Room, Walsh Library Display Case (First Floor Across from John C.H. Wu
Stairs/Elevator) and within the Window Space of the Walsh Library Gallery are three views of the life and works of Dr. John Ching Hsiung Wu 吴经熊 (1899-1986) who was a former Professor of Asian Studies and Law at Seton Hall during the 1950s-60s along with his wider work in justice studies, inspirational verse, academic promotion, and publishing endeavors. More biographical information can be found via this website which provides some introductory context on his scholarship to go along with the primarily source materials found on campus.  These and other sites can offer further insight on the legacy of Dr. Wu.

In more specific terms, among the accomplishments made during the lifetime of Dr. Wu include his role as lead author of the Zhōnghuá Mínguó Xiànfǎ (中華民國憲法) or Constitution of the Republic of China (present day Taiwan) which was adopted at the National Constituent Assembly of this nation on 25 December 1946 and went into action exactly one year later.  He was there at the foundation of the Seton Hall University Law School in 1951 with its campus in Newark became another specialized educational center that offered courses in juris prudence to its student body.  Dr. John Wu who received his doctorate from the University of Michigan became one of the founding faculty members of the new institution and was active in teaching, scholarship, and promotion of legal education at home and abroad.

In line with the contributions of Dr. Wu, with the successful launch of the Far Eastern Studies Institute during the early 1950s and contributions of a dedicated faculty and supportive administrators led to wider educational and diplomatic initiatives later in the decade.  This culminated with the awarding of honorary doctor of letters degrees to four major Asian leaders that included (in alphabetical order): John Myun Chang (Vice-President of the Republic of Korea), Chang Chi-yu (Minister of Education of the Republic of China [Taiwan]), Ngo Dinh-Diem (President of the Republic of Viet-Nam), and Paul Francis Kotaro Tanaka (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan) in 1957 and was a landmark time as Seton Hall had cemented a solid relationship with the different Asian nations which contributed to international collaboration and good will.  This also led to a period of creating reference guides for the wider linguistic community and those who wanted to publish and led to the creation of the Seton Hall University Press in operation during the 1960s and 70s which was active in producing dictionaries, grammar studies, and other aids to help students locally and across the globe.

The Setonian_Seton Hall inaugurates Far Eastern Studies

The aforementioned components can be represented in these displays and the lasting availability of archival resources based on the life and works of Dr. Wu are based in large measure on the recent Symposium held from April 21-22nd 2016 here on the campus of Seton Hall University.  More information about the speakers and subject areas can be found on the Symposium webpage.  When it comes to specific exhibit themes various books by and about Dr. Wu from our collection and that of the Main Collection, Walsh Library are shown along with a number of information leads that represent the 65th anniversary of the Far Eastern Studies Institute along with the latter day Asia Center, and the contributions of those who have made Asian culture a significant part of the academic and cultural life of Seton Hall over the past six decades plus.

For more information about Dr. John Wu, Seton Hall history, or other queries please feel free to contact us by e-mail:  or via phone at: (973) 275-2378.  Thank you in advance for your interest.

Early Irish Education – Nineteenth Century “How To” Guide Books

classroomA common thread shared by most students enrolled in a formal educational program is the traditional meeting in a classroom space of some type with a teacher to guide lesson plans and discussion regardless of time or place.  For example, in Ireland during the nineteenth century there were some academies that remained largely private, separately governed, tuition driven, and primarily located near, or within well-populated towns and cities. The famed “hedge” schools (or scoil chois claí) conducted in rural areas were usually taught out of doors in between bushes (hence the name) in a more basic setting that served as an alternative option for those who did not have access to a more formal school house in their respective area. Considering the want and need of learning, a more modern approach was had in 1831 as a National School initiative was formally established with the goal of providing an educational bond between Catholic and Protestant children under one system. However, even as administrators sought to: “unite in one system children of different creeds,” the preferred method expressed by ecclesiastical officials was to have each individual school house placed under control of an individual church.  Despite the sponsorship questions that arose, the curricular objective was to offer a more liberal arts (reading, writing, and arithmetic) focus with a heavy “moral” component to the young students of which an estimated 300-400,000 throughout all of Ireland attended during the 1830s after the formal system was set into action.

Plan and elevation of desks


More detailed information about the development of grade school level information in the annals of Irish history can be researched through our collections with a particular emphasis on how educators articulated the proper method of instruction.  In particular there are two volumes – The Schoolmaster’s Manual (1825) and The Handbook of School Management and Methods of Teaching by P.W. Joyce (1864) articulate the goals inherent in formative academic training methodology.  As the first work from the 1820s told readers by way of an introductory observation – “As this work is intended for the assistance of those who are convinced that well-ordered education, suited to their respective stations, should be diffused as extensively as possible amongst all classes in society, and who are desirous of  becoming acquainted with the modern improvements in the manner of imparting instruction to the poor.”  The Handbook would offer an expression of its own philosophy to the reader in the following words – “. . . the site of a school should be dry and cheerful, and easily accessible to the great bulk of the population.”  These words and the guidance provided to instructors and students alike would help to show the development of educational life in Ireland over time and provides a window to past practice in the process.

For more information about accessing these and other works on education and other subject matter please feel free to inquire via e-mail:  or call (973) 275-2378 for more details.

occupation of school hours

Introducing the Daniel J. Leab collection

In 2015, the Archives and Special Collections Center received a donation of research materials from Seton Hall Professor Emeritus Daniel J. Leab. Dr. Leab taught in the history department for over thirty years, and over the course of his career he has served the University as director of the American Studies program, chair of the History Department, chair of the Rank and Tenure committee, and founder and director of Seton Hall’s Multi-Cultural Program. The materials in this collection were used by Dr. Leab in his research on various topics, including the Cold War, American communism, the American labor movement, the history of the FBI and the CIA, and the history of film.

The majority of the collection is made up of books, most notably a nearly complete run of House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) reports. The HUAC materials represent years of hearings based on the alleged subversive activities of private citizens and they seem to symbolize the climate of fear and suspicion during the Cold War era. Included in the HUAC reports are the controversial Hollywood investigations, in which many members of the entertainment industry were subpoenaed based on alleged communist activities.

HUAC hollywood blog
HUAC report on communist infiltration of the motion-picture industry. The reports, printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office, had only paper covers and were bound by two staples driven through the pages near the spine.
Some of the HUAC reports in the Leab collection were combined into large volumes and sturdily re-bound, with a decorative marbling effect applied to the exposed edge of the pages.
Some of the HUAC reports in the Leab collection were combined into large volumes and sturdily re-bound, with a decorative marbling effect applied to the exposed edge of the pages.

The collection contains many additional books which address the Cold War era, providing rich context for the HUAC reports and exploring other aspects of the time period, such as Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist activities. In addition, there are a number of volumes on American labor relations. A full list of the books in the collection can be viewed in the Daniel J. Leab collection research guide.

unamericana blog
A quarter-century of un-Americana : a tragico-comical memorabilia of HUAC: This book of “Un-Americana” contains political cartoons and writings satirizing the House Un-American Activities Committee.

As a supplement to the book collection, there is also a small archival collection containing publications relating to the Cold War and labor relations, and a number of photocopies from the American Heritage Center’s Louis de Rochemont collection, which Dr. Leab consulted while researching his book Orwell Subverted: the CIA and the filming of Animal Farm. A finding aid for the collection is available.
The Daniel J. Leab collection may be viewed by appointment in the Archives and Special Collections Center Reading Room. To make an appointment, please contact 973-761-9476 or

The Jacob I. Fass papers now available for research!

The Archives and Special Collections center recently acquired the Jacob. I Fass papers, a small collection of the WWII-era correspondence, notes, and photographs of chemical scientist Jacob I. Fass.

Passport photograph of Jacob I. Fass
Passport photograph of Jacob I. Fass

Fass was a chemical engineer who worked at National Oil Products Co. (NOPCO) during World War II. The collection includes the secret notes that he took while employed there, documenting his work processes as well as office politics and conversations between employees. The fact that these notes were kept in secret—folded up into tiny squares so that Fass could smuggle them out of the building—speaks to his unease and even paranoia surrounding his work, his co-workers, and his fear of being drafted for the war.

One of Fass's "secret" notes (front)
One of Fass’s “secret” notes (front)


One of Fass's secret notes (back)


The majority of the collection consists of his correspondence with family and friends. The letters cover a wide variety of topics including politics, philosophy, music, photography, and the war. While much of the correspondence is serious, there are also many letters from close friends with a lighthearted, affectionate tone. Fass received one letter from a friend in Washington that was hand-written in miniscule print, joking that the full letter of 3,210 words could be found on the head of a pin stuck through the middle of the page.

A joking letter from one of Fass's friends. The pin in the center of the page gives perspective to the tiny size of the text. (Click to expand.)
A joking letter from one of Fass’s friends. The pin in the center of the page gives perspective to the tiny size of the text. (Click to expand.)

This collection will be of interest to researchers investigating World War II, the history of chemistry, and American communism. The finding aid for this collection can be viewed here. The Jacob I. Fass papers may be viewed by appointment in the Archives and Special Collections Center Reading Room. To make an appointment, please contact 973-761-9476 or

The Women of Seton Hall – A Window Into The Past, Present, & Future

On display now through the Spring semester is a special exhibit designed to honor the Women of Setonia from student to administrator to faculty to alumnae and all who have derived benefit of the institution over the last several decades.  Through the design efforts of Katie Wolchko and in anticipation of the 80th anniversary of co-education at Seton Hall we present some images that show the first enrollment at the Urban Division and Summer Session of Seton Hall in 1937 along with the heralding of full equality on the South Orange campus over three decades later.  This ushered in a number of resources on campus including the Women and Gender Studies program and the Women’s Resource Center.  With such founding visionaries as Professors Tracy Gottlieb, Judith Stark, and Gisella Webb to present day leadership under Professors Karen Gevirtz and Vanessa May, the work of this office is vital in keeping the issues and contributions of Women in society alive and visible to all members of our community.  This brings us to the present-day and the Women’s Conference of 2016. Various publication covers by those speaking in accompanied by a listing of all participants along with affiliated faculty and administrators who work directly with the Women and Gender Studies program.  For more information about the Women’s Conference 2016 please consult the Women’s Conference webpage.  The Women and Gender Studies Program site is also accessible here. 

ws-39                    Seton Hall University                   A celebration of women 2006

This exhibit is housed in the Window Display Case that can viewed outside of Walsh Library opposite the Recreation Center.  For more information about the exhibit please contact Katie Wolchko at –

The SPIRIT – An 85 Year Celebration of Catholic Poetry

First published in 1931, the earliest editions of the SPIRIT were published bi-monthly and not included verse, but also articles on the art of expression and about the Catholic Poetry Society of America in some form along with literary book reviews of interest.  This periodical was also well-cross referenced to help readers find past submissions through the Catholic Periodical Index and Catholic Bookman from its founding days forward.  Additionally, the Catholic Poetry Society of America first headquartered in New York City had chapters in many major cities across the United States.  Over its first few decades the SPIRIT was published either in black and white or maroon colored text without illustrations.

spirit, a magazine of poetry                      more than the moment poem

A swell of popularity for the SPIRIT continued onward through the 1950s-60s as shown through anthology works and maintenance of its usual format of title, poem, and author citation.  Lengths varied, but the text in some way always reflected the mission of the society and publication focus.  The editions released in 1968 would turn out to be the last with New York City as its home base.  The SPIRIT would move its operations to the campus of Seton Hall University the following year.

Spirit cover, Summer 1969          Spirit cover, volume 60, 1995Spirit cover, Australian issue

During the course of 1969, the SPIRIT underwent various changes not only with new offices, but the publication also modified its look and aesthetic to reflect the times.  Under the Editorship of David Rogers and James R. Lindroth from the Seton Hall University Department of English, the SPIRIT would continue to publish further works and also artwork related to the Catholic experience.  This also inspired a campus-wide poetic anthology entitled – Puddle Wonderful which lasted for one issue.  Otherwise, latter day changes including more colorful cover art, theme-editions, and changing font types brought a more modern appearance to the SPIRIT through the 1970s and 80s.  Recent editions of the SPIRIT continued to promote artistic writing in verse form.  Full editions were less frequently produced and came out annually by the 1990s.  They content themes remained consistent, but the graphics would go back to more basic and classical representations found in early issues along with a change of logo from the early Eagle to a Spectre to capture the visual and symbolic look of the SPIRIT.

More about the early years and a historical overview along with examples of the poetry and art can be found in the text panels and full display visible from the Archives & Special Collections Center Reading Room and adjacent hallway from January-February, 2016.  For more information please feel free to e-mail us at:, or call: (973) 275-2378.


Christmas Pageants, Pirate Preview, & Jean Shepherd – “A Christmas Story” of Setonia

Seton Hall has long built a tradition of marking the Christmas season in varied ways including observance of Advent, Midnight Mass, a live Nativity Scene and in recent years the ceremonial tree lighting have brought the community together in celebration of the season.  Among the most memorable traditions found in the early days of school history included an annual musical Christmas program(me) which showcased the theatrical talents, voices, and instrumental prowess of the student body.  Included here are examples of the entertainment fare offered to the audiences who were there to share good cheer which did not always offer traditional carols, but rather an eclectic mix of different song titles and themes designed to entertain and inspire those in attendance.

Christmas entertainment by the students of Seton Hall College         Christmas program

Interestingly, it was in 1930 and the yule-time production of “The Late Cap’t Crow” where the first documented appearance of a Pirate on the shores of Setonia came about as shown in the pages of The Setonian around four months prior to the adoption of the legendary school nickname.  Santa Claus would share space on campus with the Pirates from this time forward.

Setonian News

Over subsequent Christmas celebrations more traditional holiday-themed events took place after World War II such as traditional holiday parties, concerts, and the like would become more commonplace.  The true spirit and meaning of Christmas is timeliness for many people.  This not only present in a religious sense, but also in popular culture circles.  For example, how many of us have ever watched the movie “A Christmas Story” and saw Ralphie’s quest for the Red Ryder B-B Gun while being roundly warned – “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out Kid!”  This endearing tale is not only popular among Setonians, but also the wider world through the pen of legendary writer and raconteur Jean Shepherd who not only narrated this movie, but wrote this treatment based on his early life under the original title – “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.”  Shepherd was an author, television, and radio personality who had a popular show on W-O-R radio in New York City for a number of years between the 1950s-70s and made regular appearances on the Seton Hall campus (including a mid-December gig in 1965 as heralded below) during these years in the limelight whose time on campus are still remembered fondly by those who saw him in concert.  Please click here to listen in on Jean Shepherd announce his date at Seton Hall on 12/16/1965.

Jean Shepherd-Dec. 16; WSOU presents talk                  Shepherd to speak                       Jean Shepherd photo

Beyond the stage and regardless of the era and how the season was celebrated, Seton Hall has its own traditions in the art of holiday cheer and commemoration from Cap’t Crow to those who are writing their own “Christmas Story” at Seton Hall.

Christmas Peace wreath

The First Seton Hall Medical School & Its Roots – A Retrospective Exhibit, 1915-2015

When the announcement of plans to form a new medical school at Seton Hall became public in January of 2015 thoughts of future possibilities joined with remembrances of earlier strides in curative education opportunities on campus.  The original Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry was in operation within the walls of the Jersey City Medical Center between 1956-1965.  As the first formal medical school established in New Jersey, and one of the few Catholic university-sponsored institutions of its kind, this institution has a notable place in the annals of academic and state history.

Setonian_New Jersey welcomes opening of Seton Hall Medical-Dental College

This display traces the evolving popularity of medical inquiry and training over the past century through early course work at Seton Hall during the World War I-era with various natural science class offerings which remained a constant and helped to inspire creation of the School (and later College) of Nursing that evolved between 1937-40 and ultimately led to early attempts at developing a medical school on campus between the 1940s-50s.  Official approval was secured in 1954 and an elevated focus on health care to the community became a top priority through the development of specialized training methods, student support, and practical application which helped to sustain the school through its years of affiliation with Seton Hall.  With the closure of the College of Medicine and Dentistry in 1965 and transfer to the State of New Jersey, Seton Hall has since made additional attempts to promote medical instruction on an advanced level with the creation of a Graduate School of Medical Education in 1987 and the overall School of Health and Medical Sciences which currently sponsors this, and all related programs in the field.  The story of our second medical school remains to be written, but further information about the past and early planning objectives can be found within the article from the Setonian.

           New Jersey's first college of medicine and dentistry Seton Hall college of medicine and dentistry

Featured within this exhibit are documents and artifacts borrowed from our College of Medicine and Dentistry Collection and other materials from our University Archives and affiliated holdings.  Letters of support, operational reports, event programs, promotional publications, study aids, and various other documentation that traces the development of the school are presented chronologically and thematically to show how the first medical school was formed and what its mission entailed.

New Jersey's first medical-dental college, the Seton Hall college of medicine and dentistry

For more information about this exhibit and the research services offered through the Archives & Special Collections Center please feel free to access our homepage, or e-mail us with any specific questions or comments at:  Thank you in advance for your interest and comments.