St. John’s Eve and Midsummer in Celtic Lore

In Ireland, the holiday of Midsummer marks the middle of summer and comes just a few days after the Summer Solstice. Much of the celebration takes place the evening before on Midsummer’s Eve, also known as St. John’s Eve. As with many Celtic celebrations, great bonfires are lit, and fairs and festivals are held to celebrate. Just like May Day, St. John’s Eve has its own stories, customs, and superstitions.

“In ancient times the sacred fire was lighted with great ceremony on Midsummer Eve; and on that night all the people of the adjacent country kept fixed watch on the western promontory of Howth, and the moment the first flash was seen from that spot the fact of ignition was announced with wild cries and cheers repeated from village to village, when all the local fires began to blaze, and Ireland was circled by a cordon of flame rising up from every hill” (Wilde, 113).

It was also a time to worship the Goddess Áine.

“…Áine, who gave her name to Knockainy hill and village in the county Limerick. She ruled, and still rules, that district as fairy queen and banshee. In the second century of our era, she cut off the ear of Ailill Oluim, King of Munster. It was on this account he was called Oluim, from “o”, and ear, and “lom”, bare; bare of one ear” (Mahon, 137).

“Aynia, deemed the most powerful fairy in Ulster, and Áine, queen of South Munster, are perhaps the same person, the mysterious and awful goddess once adored as Anu, or Danu. Of the two, it is Áine who especially seems to carry on the traditions of the older Anu, worshipped, according to the “Choice of Names”, in Munster as a goddess of prosperity and abundance. Within living memory, she was propitiated by a magical ritual upon every Saint John’s Eve, to ensure fertility during the coming year. The villagers round her sidh of Cnoc Aine (Knockainy) carried burning bunches of hay or straw upon poles to the top of the hill, and thence dispersed among the fields, waving these torches over the crops and cattle. The fairy, or goddess was held to be friendly, and, indeed, more than friendly, to men” (Squire, 245).

Another tale tells the story of a St. John’s Night were a number of girls stayed late on the Hill to watch the clairs (torches) and join in the games when suddenly “Áine appeared among them, thanked them for the honour they had done her, but said she now wished them to go home, as they wanted the hill to themselves” (Rolleston, 128).

Since “fire is the holiest of all things” many customs and superstitions surround the bonfire and included carrying off a coal, jumping and leaping through the flames forward and backwards a certain number of times, and walking “three times round a fire on St. John’s Eve, and you will be safe from disease for all that year” (Wilde, 211). These customs and superstitions were not just limited to people but could include animals. Cattle were “driven through the half-extinguished bonfire, as a preventive against witchcraft” (W. R. Wilde, 40).

As Christianity spread and Midsummer became “christianized”, dedicated by the Church to honor St. John the Baptist, certain customs and superstitions survived (O’Súilleabháin, 322). “…Baal fires were kindled as part of the ritual of sun-worship, though now they are lit in honour of St. John. The great bonfire of the year is still made on St. John’s Eve, when all the people dance round it, and every young man takes a lighted brand from the pile to bring home with him for good luck to the house” (Wilde, 113). Whether Celtic or Christian, fire was still seen as a central part of the celebration, bringing good luck just like the fires of May Day did.

 

Reference

O’Súilleabháin Seán. (1942). A handbook of irish folklore.

No online version available.

Wilde, & Wilde, W. R. (1919). Ancient legends, mystic charms & superstitions of ireland : with sketches of the irish past. Chatto & Windus.

For the online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.

Putzi, S. (Ed.). (2008). To z world superstitions & folklore : 175 countries – spirit worship, curses, mystical characters, folk tales, burial and the dead, animals, food, marriage, good luck, and more. ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Wilde, W. R. (1852). Irish popular superstitions. J. McGlashan.

No online version available.

Mahon, M. P. (1919). Ireland’s fairy lore. T.J. Flynn.

For an online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.

Squire, C. (191AD). Celtic myth & legend, poetry & romance. Gresham Pub.

For the online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.

Rolleston, T. W. (1911). Myths & legends of the celtic race. G.G. Harrap.

For an online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.

May Day in Celtic Lore

May Day Eve and May Day

Lá Bealtaine in Irish, or “Belltaine or May Day took its name, i.e., bel-tene, lucky fire” is a celebration of summer (Joyce, 290). May Day Eve and May Day are traditionally celebrated with great bonfires along with fairs and festivals. This day also marks the occurrence of a shriek due to the Red Dragon of Britain being attacked by the White Dragon of the Saxons.

May Day marked “the great feast of Bel, or the Sun”, a time when the “Druids lit the Baal-Tinne, the holy, goodly fire of Baal, the Sun-god, and they drove the cattle on a path made between two fires, and singed them with the flame of a lighted torch, and sometimes they cut them to spill blood, and then burnt the blood as a sacred offering to the Sun-god” (Wilde, 102).

While the Druids saw Bel as a god, Reverend Michael P. Mahon describes Bel as being promiscuously written “Bial and Beal, and supposed to be the “Beel” in the Hebrew word Beelzebub, is a semitic word that would give the idea of a supreme god or a supreme demon” (Mahon, 195).

According to ancient Druid practices all domestic fires were extinguished and relit by the sacred fire taken from the temples and it was “sacrilege to have any fire kindled except from the holy alter flame” (Wilde, 102). It was said that while the sacred fire was burning “no other should be kindled in the country all round, on pain of death” (Joyce, 290).

However, St. Patrick was “determined to break down the power of the Druids; and, therefore, in defiance of their laws, he had a great fire lit on May Eve, when he celebrated the paschal mysteries; and henceforth Easter, or the Feast of the Resurrection, took place of the Baal festival” (Wilde, 102). Thus Christianity started to take root but still boasted similar traditions, customs, and superstitions, just without sacrifice and death. One such superstition talks about fires going out on May Day, stating that:

“If the fires go out on May morning it is considered very unlucky, and it cannot be re-kindled except by a lighted sod brought from the priest’s house. And the ashes of this blessed turf are afterwards sprinkled on the floor and the threshold of the house” (Wilde, 106).

Which is similar to the Druids practice of extinguishing domestic fires and only relighting them from the sacred fire, the holy alter flame, taken from the temples.

And where “Baal fires were originally used for human sacrifices and burnt-offerings of the first-fruits of the cattle”, they were being used “for purification from sin, and as a safeguard against power of the devil” (Wilde, 102). Even with Christianity established people have learned that May Day celebrations are “a survival of the ancient pagan rite” along with certain customs and superstitions (Mahon, 197).

Such as believing that fairies have great power during May Day and children, cattle, milk, and butter must be guarded from their influence. Other customs and superstitions say:

“It is not safe to go on the water the first Monday in May” (Wilde, 106)

“Finishing a cup of nettle soup on May 1 (May Day) prevents rheumatism for a year” (Putzi, 195).

“…the men, women, and children, for the same reason, pass through, or leap over, the sacred fires, and the cattle are driven through the flames of the burning straw on the 1st of May” (W. R. Wilde, 39)

“The fire was of the greatest importance in house in Ireland. People were unwilling to allow it to die out or to lend a fire-coal. They were especially careful of the fire on May Day” (O’Súilleabháin, 334)

“…spent coal must be put under the churn, and another under the cradle; the primroses must be scattered before the door, for the fairies cannot pass the flowers” (Wilde, 102)

“All herbs pulled on May Day Eve have a sacred healing power, if pulled in the name of the Holy Trinity; but if in the name of Satan, they work evil” (Wilde, 184)

While Christianity became more popular and practiced, old time Druid traditions can still be seen. May Day Eve and May Day, as with many other holidays that are celebrated, is a mix of traditions and customs, creating something that is unique and enjoyed by all.

 

Reference

Joyce, P. W. (1903). A social history of ancient ireland : treating of the government, military system, and law ; religion, learning, and art ; trades, industries, and commerce ; manners, customs, and domestic life, of the ancient irish people. Longmans, Green.

For the online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.

Wilde, & Wilde, W. R. (1919). Ancient legends, mystic charms & superstitions of ireland : with sketches of the irish past. Chatto & Windus.

For the online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.

Mahon, M. P. (1919). Ireland’s fairy lore. T.J. Flynn.

For an online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.

Putzi, S. (Ed.). (2008). To z world superstitions & folklore : 175 countries – spirit worship, curses, mystical characters, folk tales, burial and the dead, animals, food, marriage, good luck, and more. ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Wilde, W. R. (1852). Irish popular superstitions. J. McGlashan.

No online version available.

Squire, C. (191AD). Celtic myth & legend, poetry & romance. Gresham Pub.

For the online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.

O’Súilleabháin Seán. (1942). A handbook of irish folklore.

No online version available.

Object of the Week: “Far Away and Long Ago” by William Henry Hudson

William Henry Hudson
“Far Away and Long Ago”
Printed for members of the Limited Editions Club by Guillermo Kraft ltda., Buenos Aires:  1943.


FEBRUARY IS LIBRARY LOVER’S MONTH!

Library Lover’s Month is dedicated to the people who love whole buildings devoted to the reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying, preserving and otherwise loving books.[1]  Libraries are sanctuaries, offering safe spaces for study, reflection and enjoyment.  Libraries indulge our desire to acquire knowledge – they are essentially ‘places of information.’[2]  When we think about libraries, we often think about a building brimming with shelves of books on all topics.   However, there is more to libraries than just books.  They are community hubs supported by librarians who fulfill multiple roles as information experts, subject matter specialists, program organizers, educators, community builders and partners in research. Seton Hall University contains a number of libraries across its three campuses including the Walsh Library, Interprofessional Health Sciences Library, Valente Italian Library, Turro Seminary Library and Law Library.  The Walsh Library also houses the Department of Archives and Special Collections and the Walsh Gallery which care for rare books, manuscripts, art and artifacts and hosts spaces for exhibitions, programs and displays.[3]

The book featured in this post, “Far Away and Long Ago” by William Henry Hudson, recollects the author’s early life, between the ages of four and twelve, which were spent in Argentina.  It is part of the Rare Book

Image of William Henry Hudson
Portrait of William Henry Hudson by Raúl Rosarivo from “Far Away and Long Ago”

Collection, housed in the Department of Archives and Special Collections. This limited-edition book had a run of just fifteen hundred copies and was designed by Alberto Kraft.  The volume in the Seton Hall Archives is signed by Kraft and illustrator Raúl Rosarivo.  This edition is bound in cowhide with undressed leather on the lower portion and features laced edges. [4]  The materials used in the binding reflect William Henry Hudson’s childhood, much of which was spent in the rugged pampas of Argentina, where his parents raised sheep, though the region is known for its free-ranging cattle.  These formative experiences in nature would profoundly impact his future.  As an adult, Hudson would achieve recognition as an author, naturalist, and ornithologist.  He was lauded for his exotic romances, especially “Green Mansions” which was published in 1904.  “Far Away and Long Ago” lovingly recounts his childhood — roaming the pampas at liberty, studying the plant and animal life, and observing both natural and human phenomena on the harsh frontier.  At age 15, he suffered an illness which would impact his health adversely for the remainder of his life.  Around this period of infirmity, he read Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species” which reaffirmed his interest in the natural world.[5]

Illustration of a man by Raúl Rosarivo from “Far Away and Long Ago”
Illustration by Raúl Rosarivo from “Far Away and Long Ago”

Though William Henry Hudson may not be a household name today, he had many admirers in his time.  In 1934, renowned author Ernest Hemingway wrote a list of book recommendations to a young, aspiring writer. It included William Henry Hudson’s “Far Away and Long Ago” in addition to books by celebrated authors such as Stephen Crane, e.e. cummings, Leo Tolstoy, Emily Bronte, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and James Joyce.[6]  Hudson’s book was also among the objects auctioned from The Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan at Christie’s auction house in 2016.[7]  Praise for Hudson’s writing consistently mentions his palpable imagery, as was noted in this thoughtful review on amazon.com:

“This book was like knocking on an old friend’s door, being welcomed in and settling in front of a fire with a glass of something in one’s hand. The author then talks, gently and beautifully, weaving this picture of his early life. He brings his characters to life and describes the birds and other creatures so well, I felt as if I was there with him, every time I picked up the book to read. A gentle lovely story of a young boy’s steps from childhood.” – L.M. Gainsford[8]

 


The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476. 

 

[1] http://www.librarysupport.net/librarylovers/, accessed 2/16/2021.

[2] http://www.ilovelibraries.org/what-libraries-do, accessed 2/16/2021.

[3] https://library.shu.edu/home accessed 2/16/2021, accessed 2/16/2021.

[4] http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?vid=4&sid=b64ff686-5122-4343-b1c9-852f6588dd78%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZzaXRlPWVkcy1saXZl#AN=sth.ocn542094967&db=cat00991a, accessed 2/16/2021.

[5] https://www.britannica.com/biography/W-H-Hudson, accessed 2/16/2021.

[6] https://www.openculture.com/2013/05/ernest_hemingways_reading_list_for_a_young_writer_1934.html, accessed 2/16/2021.

[7] https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-limited-editions-club-hudson-wh-far-6018661/?lid=1&from=relatedlot&intobjectid=6018661, accessed 2/16/2021.

[8] https://www.amazon.com/Far-Away-Long-Ago-Childhood/dp/0907871747, accessed 2/16/2021.

Irish Superstitions and Rituals

From Friday the 13th and black cats to tossing salt over one’s left shoulder to ward off evil spirits, superstitions and rituals are rooted in a mixture of religion, mythology, and folklore. They have the power to ward off evil, bring good luck, cure sickness, even stop people from performing certain activities on certain days.

However, every culture is different and what is unlucky in one may be lucky in another. Instead of Friday the 13th, it is Tuesday the 13th that is thought to be unlucky in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Greece, Mexico, and Serbia. For Italy, it is Friday the 17th.

Where a black cat can be thought to mean bad luck, in Ireland it may lead to fortune as “several of the great lake serpents and water-cows of our Irish Fairy Mythology are supposed to guard treasurers; in some instances black cats are similarly employed” (Wilde, 98).

Some of Ireland’s other superstitions and rituals revolve around fairies and goblins, stating,

“…if you cast the dust that is under your foot against the whirlwind at the instant that it passes you, “them that’s in it” (that is, if they have any human being along with them) are obliged to be released” (Wilde, 130).

Then there are those that involve fire, most notably on days of celebration such as May Day and St. John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve:

“If a man was to perform a long journey, he leaped backwards and forwards three times through the fire to render himself invulnerable” (Wilde, 49).

“When the fire has nearly expired, and the dancing, singing, and carousing are over, each individual present provides himself with a braune, or ember of the fire, to carry home with him, which, if it becomes extinguished before he reaches his house, it is an omen of impending misfortune” (Wilde, 49).

“Walking around a burning flame during St. John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve spares one from being sick the whole year” (Putzi, 196).

Other curious Irish rituals include keeping spiders in a bag to be worn as a pendant or necklace to cure fever. However, if the bag is opened it will cause back luck. To remove a sty on one’s eyelid, the person should point to the direction of a gooseberry thorn nine times while chanting “Away, away, away!”.

But if things still go awry, you find your milk has curdled, you can always blame the fairies!

 

Other superstitions and rituals can be found in:

Putzi, S. (Ed.). (2008). To z world superstitions & folklore : 175 countries – spirit worship, curses, mystical characters, folk tales, burial and the dead, animals, food, marriage, good luck, and more. ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Wilde, W. R. (1852). Irish popular superstitions. J. McGlashan.

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.

Irish Studies, Scrúdaigh & Special Collections…

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!

150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation: Civil War materials in the Archives and Special Collections Center

150 years ago, the country was deeply embroiled in war. The American Civil War began when seven Southern states (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas) seceded from the Union. After fighting began in April of 1861, four more Southern states (Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) joined the Confederate States of America in fighting the United States of America, leading to the bloodiest conflict in American history. The issue of slavery was at the heart of Southern secession, driving questions of states’ rights verses federal rights and the vast economic differences between North and South. Ultimately, the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States on a platform that emphasized abolitionist politics literally divided the nation.

On 22 September 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing enslaved people in the Confederate States. This did not officially end slavery by law (the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution did that, in 1865), but it was an important first step that emphasized ending slavery as a goal of the war and freed enslaved people in the Confederacy as the Union Army advanced. After four horrific years of fighting, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April, 1865. The war ended and the Confederacy dissolved; slavery had ended. But there yet remained a long struggle for economic recovery in the South, and although slavery was now officially over, African Americans were denied equal rights and the protection of the law in most of the country. Issues of civil rights and race relations, as well as how this nation governs itself, continue to be debated, and the events and politics of the Civil War still shape our world today.

In the Monsignor William Noe Field Archives and Special Collections Center, we have several collections that deal directly or indirectly with the history of the Civil War. Highlighted below are Rare Book materials, the Seton Jevons family papers, the Salt family letters, and the Confederate States of America Treasury bond.

Four book collections, totaling almost 2,500 volumes, focus on secondary sources analyzing and interpreting the conflict, its causes, its characters, and its impact. The Reverent Pierce Byrne Civil War collection, the Gerald Murphy Civil War collection, and the Schoch Family Civil War collection include numerous books on a wide variety of Civil War topics, while the Julius C. Landeheim Lincoln collection includes books and print materials on the 16th President.

Several note-worthy books from the period immediately following the war are in these collections, including John Abbott’s The history of the Civil War in America and Joel Headley’s The great rebellion; a history of the civil war in the United States, both published in 1866. The Byrne collection includes multiple issues of Harper’s Weekly, which gave detailed accounts of the battles and events of the war, often accompanied by woodcut illustrations. The Gerald Murphy collection includes a medal bearing the likeness of Ulysses S. Grant and a facsimile of the original document commonly known as the Treaty of Appomattox, written by Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865 and detailing the terms of the surrender of Robert E. Lee. The Landeheim collection includes early Lincoln biographies by Ward Lamon, Life of Abraham Lincoln from 1872, and William Henry Herndon and Jesse William Weik, Herndon’s Lincoln from 1889.

The Seton Jevons family papers is an extensive collection of archival material including family letters discussing the Civil War and its impact. Two Seton brothers, William Seton, Jr. and Henry Seton, both grand-children of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, fought in the Civil War on the Union side. William Seton, Jr. was a captain in the 4th New York Volunteers and Henry was also a captain. The collection includes correspondence between William Seton, Jr. and his parents and sisters during the war, as well as letters between two members of the Jevons family, Thomas and William, who lived in England at the time. Thomas Jevons later married Isabel Seton, sister to William Jr. and Henry and another grandchild of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. In the correspondence of the Seton brothers, William Jr. and Henry, there are notes and letters from enlisted men and fellow officers requesting leave or discussing business, as well as from each other and family members. William Jr. was injured in combat in 1862, and several letters refer to the effects of this injury. The Jevons brothers, William Stanley and Thomas, were living in England but wrote frequently to each other and discussed the events in America as news of the day. They had differing opinions on the possible outcome of the war, and neither seemed to think very highly of the United States government in general: William S. wrote in a letter dated 5 August 1861, possibly reacting to news of the Battle of Bull Run, “I had no doubt and do not now doubt that the North have the physical power sufficient to win ultimately, but it might take ten years or so, something in the style of English wars, and you may judge what chance there is of Yankees remaining of one mind for 10 years.” Six months later, on 12 February 1862, Henry wrote, “… though I think that we have hardly realized what a blow the rebellion is to the Northerners, yet I cannot but believe it is a lesson that will do them immense good, and that instead of one immoral badly governed country, we may within the next fifty years have two tolerably respectable communities.” While they both turned out to be incorrect in the details of their predictions, their opinions offer unique insight into foreign perspectives on the war. Several of these letters are in the process of being digitized, while some images from the collection are already online, including this photograph that includes Thomas E. Jevons and Isabel Seton Jevons.

A newly processed collection of family letters, the Salt family letters, gives a different first-hand look at life during the Civil War. William Salt, Jr. was teaching school in an Army fort in Arkansas at the outbreak of the conflict, and he wrote his sister to describe the events surrounding the transfer of the fort from Union to Confederate control. We know that Salt, a New York native who later became Father William Salt, a teacher and administrator at Seton Hall College, was conscripted into the Confederate Army and served for some time before making his way home to family in New York on foot; the collection of letters does not directly document this period of his life, but the letters describing Arkansas at the start of the war are detailed. Other members of the family, living primarily in New York at the time, discuss life continuing on despite the conflict, and mention in passing history-altering events. A cousin of the Salts, Elinor Gustin, comments at the end of one letter full of family updates, including where several male relatives are stationed: “These are awful times, who of us ever expected to see such a state of affairs in our once glorious country.” She then mentions the “great excitement” caused by the Emancipation Proclamation before calmly reminding her cousin to write back. Several of these letters (but by no means all) have been digitized, and while the majority of the collection dates from the post-war years, these first-hand accounts of life during the war paint sharply different pictures of North and South.

Another unique item dating from the Civil War is the Confederate Treasury bond, discovered at Seton Hall in 2003. The bond was issued by the Confederate Treasury in February 1864, one of the last group of bonds to be issued by the increasingly desperate Confederate government as it attempted everything possible to continue funding a war that was going very badly. Issued for $1,000, the bond was for a period of thirty years and would have allowed the collection of thirty dollars ($30) in interest every six months. Interestingly, the first two interest coupons are missing, suggesting that whoever purchased the bond was living in the South at the time. The exact provenance of the bond is unknown, but was discovered in a safe in the Office of the President; given that it seems extremely unlikely that the President of Seton Hall College (Reverend Bernard J. McQuaid was President from 1859-1868) would or could have purchased the bond, it was most likely stored there for safe-keeping years later, before the Archives were formed, and then forgotten. This item has not yet been digitized.

Of course, even the items listed here have more information to share, and there is plenty of additional material to explore in the Archives. After 150 years, there is still a great deal to learn about and from the Civil War and how it has shaped our nation. To start your exploration, email us, call us, or make an appointment to view materials in person. And don’t forget to check out the ever-growing Digital Archives and Special Collections Center!