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Commemorating 150 years of the study of genetics: “Gregor Mendel, OSA, and the Origin of Genetics”


“Gregor Mendel, OSA, and the Origin of Genetics,” an exhibit on Falvey’s first floor, introduces Mendel; commemorates the 150th anniversary of Mendel’s paper, “Experiments in Plant Hybridization” (Versuche űber Pflanzenhybriden); looks at Mendel on campus; and offers a small display related to the Mendel Medal.

The name Mendel is familiar to the Villanova community as the name of a campus building, the Mendel Science Center, usually called Mendel Hall. But how many are aware of the man for whom the building is named? Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) is the acknowledged father of genetics based upon a paper he presented in 1865 and published the following year.

RS9958_DSC_0290-scrHe was born in the German-speaking Austrian Empire (now the Czech Republic) to a farming family. At age twenty one he joined the Augustinian Abbey of St. Thomas in Brűnn to further his education. The abbot, who was interested in heredity of plants and animals, encouraged Mendel to experiment with plant genetics in the abbey’s five-acre garden. As noted he presented his research, but it was virtually ignored until 1900.

Falvey’s exhibit begins in the vertical case with an introduction to the exhibit and Mendel’s experimentation with plant hybridization using peas. A large eye-catching banner (from University Archives) with a life-like portrait of Gregor Mendel, OSA, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Mendel Medal. Also in this case are a few books about Mendel and a small framed portrait.

Five more themed cases continue the exhibit, beginning with “Early Life” and ending with “The Mendel Medal.” Illustrating Mendel’s “Early Life” are a children’s book from Special Collections, Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardol; Life of Mendel by Hugo Iltis (Augustinian Historical Institute); views of Brno (location of the Abbey of St. Thomas where Mendel lived and worked); views of the Mendel Museum and the foundations of his greenhouse at the Abbey; and select pages from a manuscript photograph album, The Mendel Tradition in Brno, Czechoslovakia by Herbert Christian Hanson.

The next case, “Versuche űber Pflanzenhybriden (Experiments on Plant Hybridization),” shows a facsimile reprint of Mendel’s paper as it appeared in print in 1866, a program from the presentation of a copy of “Verhandlungen des natur forschenden bereines in Brűnn” by the Augustinians of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova to the University and other related publications. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mendel’s paper, “Experiments in Plant Hybridization,” the University will hold a symposium on Monday, Dec. 7.

“After the Pea Paper” case displays assorted publications from the Augustinian Historical Institute and Special Collections, including Mendel’s Dwarf (1998), fiction by Simon Mawer. A placard tells the viewer that Mendel’s paper was almost unknown until the early 1900s.

“Mendel at Villanova” displays copies of the Villanovan with articles about the dedication of the first Mendel Hall in 1929 and the current Mendel Science Center in 1961. This dispaly features photographs of the 1910 statue of Mendel in Brno and of the one on campus by the Mendel Science Center.


“The Mendel Medal: Honoring Pioneers in the Sciences” case presents photographs of some of the recipients, programs from the award ceremonies, a 1929 Villanovan article about the presentation of the first Mendel Medal to John A. Kolmer, MD, and an obverse image of the medal as designed and sculpted by John R. Sinnock.

The Mendel Medal, named in honor of Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), OSA, “the father of modern genetics,” is now awarded annually to an outstanding scientist. The award was established in 1928 and given each year until 1943. From 1946 until 1968, the Mendel Medal was awarded only eight times and from 1968 until 1992 there were no awards. In 1992 the Mendel Medal award was reestablished and has been given each year to an outstanding scientist.

This year’s Mendel Medal recipient is the Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, Brian Kobilka, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Kobilka will give the 2015 Mendel Medal Lecture at 2:00 p.m., October 2, in the Villanova Room, Connelly Center.

This very educational exhibit about Gregor Mendel, OSA, his important scientific discovery and his relationship with Villanova is well worth visiting several times; there is far more here than can be readily absorbed in just one visit. This exhibit is a collaborative effort, drawing from materials owned by University Archives, Falvey’s Special Collections and the Augustinian Historical Institute. It was planned and materials were curated by Special Collections and Digital Library Coordinator, Michael Foight and Digital & Special Collections Curatorial Assistant Laura Bang. Graphics were designed by Joanne Quinn, Falvey’s graphic designer. The exhibit will be open throughout this semester.


Alice Bampton is a visual specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Publications Team.


Project Website Launched: Mill Creek Valley


Craig Bailey, PhD, associate professor of history, reads his edifying and entertaining introduction to the Mill Creek Valley project website.

The Aurelius Digital Scholarship Initiative at Falvey Memorial Library supports digital humanities projects and digital scholarship here at Villanova. Our digital humanities superheroes are Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, and David Uspal, senior web specialist for Library Services and Scholarly Applications, and together they work with classes to produce fascinating and forward-thinking digital scholarship. Past classroom projects include the Ardmore Project, a digital edition of El Perú en sus tradiciones, an su historia, en su arte, Travels Through Greco – Roman Antiquity, and a series of DH workshops for graduate students covering topics such as coding basics, audio editing, and mapmaking. This past Monday, Bang and Uspal joined Craig Bailey, PhD, associate professor of history as he and his undergraduate class launched an interactive website tracing the transformation of the Mill Creek Valley.


Dave Uspal explains the website building process and introduces the audience to the wonders of responsive resizing.

The launch took place at 3:00 p.m. in room 204 of Falvey Memorial Library, and Dr. Bailey presented a talk entitled “Changing Landscapes: People and Place in the Mill Creek Valley, Lower Merion c.1870-c.1920.” In spring 2015, ten junior-year students participating in a research seminar with the Department of History undertook a group project to examine how the farms and mills of the Mill Creek Valley transformed into the familiar residential properties of today. Each student chose a property from an atlas published in 1877, traced that property’s development over time, and reconstructed the lives of the inhabitants. Working alongside Digital Humanities staff in Falvey Memorial Library, students constructed an interactive website to communicate their research.


The satisfying reveal of a finished product.


Changing Landscapes: People and Places in the Mill Creek Valley, Lower Merion c.1870-c.1920

Check it out!



Now on Display: Sinking of the Lusitania Special Collections Exhibit

The RMS Lusitania, designed to be the fastest ocean liner in service, was launched in Sept. 1907. Owned by the Cunard Line, Ltd., her maiden voyage was from Liverpool, England, to New York. Her 68,000 horse-power engines allowed the Lusitania to travel at an average speed of over 25 knots per hour (28.8 miles per hour). That same year the top speed for a Model T Ford was about 45 miles per hour; a Stutz Bearcat had a top speed of 85 miles per hour. For comparison, by 1969 the Queen Elizabeth, another large Cunard luxury liner, had a maximum sustained speed of 28.5 knots (32.8 miles per hour).

In 1913, with war clouds looming, the Lusitania was sent to dry dock to be fitted for government service: ammunition magazines and hidden gun mounts were installed on her decks.
On May 1, 1915, the Lusitania, captained by William Turner, left New York bound for Liverpool on what became her last voyage. Although the German embassy had placed advertisements in New York newspapers warning that any ship sailing into the “European War Zone” might be attacked by German submarines, the Lusitania nevertheless sailed, carrying 1,264 passengers, including 124 children and infants, and 693 crew members.

At 2:10 p.m. on May 7 a German submarine, U-20 captained by Walter Schwieger, torpedoed the Lusitania as she cruised eight miles off the coast of Ireland. After the torpedo hit, a second, larger explosion quickly followed, and within eighteen minutes the Lusitania sank. Schweiger said in his log, “… great confusion on board … they must have lost their heads.” (“The Lusitania.” HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2014. Web) One thousand one hundred ninety five of the 1,959 people aboard the Luisitania died, 123 Americans among them. Captain Turner survived although he had been washed overboard and spent over three hours in the sea.

Installing the Lusitania exhibit are  (l-r): Laura Bang, Alison Dolbier and Marjory Haines.

Installing the Lusitania exhibit are (l-r): Laura Bang, Alison Dolbier and Marjory Haines.

This event sets the stage for the current Special Collections exhibit, “‘Too Fast for Any Submarine’: The Last Voyage of the Lusitania,” curated by Allison Dolbier, a Digital Library intern. Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant; Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator; and Marjory Haines, intern, helped Dobier install the exhibit, which fills seven display cases. Joanne Quinn, graphic designer and Communication and Service Promotion team leader, created the graphics. The exhibit is multi-faceted, incorporating a wide variety of materials: newspapers, children’s books, two medals, photographs and more.

2015-05-05 17.11.22A large poster, “Dastardly Deed!” captures the eye and leads one to the beginning of the exhibit in the upright case; the dastardly deed is, of course, the German U-boat’s attack. On the top shelf is the curator’s introduction, “A Fateful Voyage.” And on the same shelf is a color postcard of the Lusitania, mailed in 1909. On the next shelf are a 1913 two-page advertisement for the Cunard Steamship Co. in The Fra: A Journal of Affirmation, “Are You a Citizen of the World? An Advertisement by Elbert Hubbard.” There is a newspaper from Panama City, May 9, 1915, with a prominent headline, “Death’s Toll of the Lusitania, 1346.” There are also a menu and tickets in a frame as well as a copy of an advertisement for the Lusitania with a “Notice” below warning travelers. The “Notice” is signed by the Imperial German Embassy.

On the bottom of this case is a bright red flag with a golden yellow lion, a Cunard Steamship Company flag on loan from Eugene L. DiOrio, a small bottle containing rust from the Lusitania and its certificate of authenticity, and Exploring the “Lusitania”: Probing the Mysteries of the Sinking That Changed History, 1995, by Robert D. Ballard and Spencer Dunmore. This book is open to show the Lusitania as it appears underwater today.

IMG_2146Flanking this cabinet is a large framed print, “The Cunard Line Steamships: Lusitania and Mauretania.”
There are six more cases, each labeled “Too fast for any submarine,” the claim made for the Lusitania. These cases contain a variety of materials such as books, a newspaper scrapbook open to a clipping with the headline. “U. S. Ship Torpedoed; American Lives Lost,” pamphlets from 1915 and ’17, two medals, and much more.

One case is dedicated to “The Irish advocate for Germany … and Independence,” and another case focuses on “German-Americans and the case for American neutrality.” These two cases remind viewers that the United States is and was a nation of immigrants and there were often conflicting opinions about the Great War, World War I.


Highly informative and often visually appealing, this is an exhibit worth multiple visits to fully absorb its offerings. The exhibit will continue until mid-September.

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Digital Library houses unique Lincoln assassination manhunt materials

Falvey Memorial Library’s Digital Library and Special Collections hold a special and fascinating repository of materials pertaining to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, which commemorates its 150th anniversary today. The materials show a rare glimpse of the fervor and technology utilized in the manhunt to locate Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, in the days and weeks following the fatal shooting.

The following four features include links to digitized content about the assassination and hunt for the assassins, provided by Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator. Click on the blue hyperlinks to go directly to the materials’ digital holdings and data.

Visit the Digital Library anytime to view our comprehensive and diverse collection of rare books, manuscripts, realia and other digital content.

MEDIUM file for this DataModel

Special Order No. 61, April 16, 1865

Special Order No. 61, April 16, 1865

Special Order, No. 66, April 21, 1865

Special Order, No. 66, April 21, 1865


Special Order, No. 66, April 21, 1865

New York Tablet : A Family Journal, v. VIII, no. 47, April 22, 1865 (see pages 8+)

New York Tablet : A Family Journal, v. VIII, no. 47, April 22, 1865 (see pages 8+)


New York Tablet : A Family Journal, v. VIII, no. 47, April 22, 1865 (see pages 8+)


Letter, To: "My gentle unknown friend" From: Henry O. Nightingale, April 30, 1865

Letter, To: “My gentle unknown friend” From: Henry O. Nightingale, April 30, 1865

Letter, To: “My gentle unknown friend” From: Henry O. Nightingale, April 30, 1865

Resources and links provided by Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator.


The Curious ‘Cat: What strategy would you recommend to prepare for finals?

Curious Cat

This week, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanova students, “With about three weeks of classes left, what strategy would you recommend to prepare for finals?

Caitlin GammaCaitlin Gemma—“I would recommend going to the Library and setting aside time to study … I personally always go to the third-floor cubicles; that’s my space. I have one cubicle I really like. And I always study out and … really focus. That’s my strategy.”





ViscardiAnthony Viscardi—“Take advantage of all the resources available that the University has: the Writing Center, the math tutoring center, the VSB tutoring [on the Library’s second floor]. Those are all really helpful, and visiting your professors’ office hours for any additional help. … Drink a lot of coffee to stay up. … Those are really the difference makers.”



SpandanaSpandana Vanukuri—“Just go through the writing [class] notes, which I have written … when the professor says something, the important points. … And then go through the [PowerPoint] slides. That’s it. … That more than will do it for me.”





RS8780_DSC_3063-scrMichael Anderson—“I usually hold up in a room and don’t come out. … I usually get a room in Tolentine and spend long hours there until I’m ready. It’s not fun. … with whoever has the exams with me, we just  get a room and start a study group, basically, ten hours a day during finals week.”





Edward Chang—“With only three weeks left, students should be going over the textbooks—whatever texts they had before—having all that set before actually starting to study so they don’t have to cram. Basically, don’t procrastinate.”






Jordan Pieper—“Try to get everything done the week before finals or done early. I’m an engineer so I write a lot of note sheets; that way I have all of my equations and all the information I need right on hand with me. That way I don’t need to worry about trying to search through it. Other than that there’s really not a lot I can do to prepare for engineering problems and so on. I also try to do a lot of practice problems.”


“I Am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25): An Easter Celebration from Special Collections

Laura Bang

Laura Bang

“I Am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25): An Easter Celebration from Special Collections” is a broadly based exhibit that appeals to viewers on several levels, intellectual and visual. Designed by Laura Bang, Special and Digital Collections curatorial assistant, and mounted by Bang; Michael Foight, Special and Digital Collections coordinator; and Allison Dolbier, intern, the exhibit will remain on display until the end of April. Joanne Quinn, Falvey’s graphic designer, created posters and other graphics for this exhibit.

In her introduction to the exhibit Bang says, “Easter is considered by many to be the most important observance of the Christian year. … This exhibit highlights some of the materials in Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections that pertain to Easter and spring celebrations.” In the same tall vertical case as Bang’s introduction are two books, Easter Garland by Priscilla Sawyer Lord and The Easter Book of Legends and Stories edited by Alice Isabel Hazeltine, Elva Sophronia Smith and Pamela Bianco.

Easter Garland is open to display two poems. The other book shows a photograph of a young boy dying Easter eggs, and on the opposite page is an article, “Foods of the Easter Season.” At the bottom of this case, a large book, Festivals & Rituals of Spain by Cristina Garcia Rodero and José Manuel Caballero Bonald, is open to a double-page spread, a colorful photograph of purple-robed men wearing tall pointed hats and playing very long horns, part of a Holy Week celebration.

In the adjacent case are four books: The Temple: Sacred Poems & Private Ejaculations, Little Pollys Pomes [sic], Christmas-eve and Easter-day and The Villanova Monthly (1893). The Temple … by George Herbert, a seventeenth century poet, is open to show “Easter Wings,” an example of concrete poetry in which the text forms a shape which is “as important an element as the verses themselves” (Bang). Little Pollys Pomes, written by T. A. Daly in a child’s voice, shows Polly’s poem, “Easter.” Christmas-eve and Easter-day by Robert Browning and The Villanova Monthly both display Easter poems; “He Is Risen” in The Villanova Monthly was written by R. A. G., a Villanova student.

RS8770_Girl's Own Paper

The Girl’s Own Paper

Popular culture is presented in the next case with issues of Golden Days (1880), The Girl’s Own Paper (March 26, 1898) and The Chicago Ledger (April 9, 1910) each displaying articles and/or poems relating to Easter.

Religious works are shown in the next three cases. In one case are a Biblia Sacra Polyglotta and a Missale Romanum. The large Biblia Sacra Polyglotta, published c.1800, is open to Luke 23-24, the verses telling of Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection. Bang explains, “A polyglot book displays side-by-side blocks of the same text in several languages. This edition contains text in Greek, English, Hebrew, Latin Vulgate, German, French, Italian and Old Spanish.”

Missale Romanum (Roman Missal)

Missale Romanum (Roman Missal)

An equally large Missale Romanum (Roman Missal), printed in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1773 is in the same case. A Roman Missal is a liturgical book containing the texts used in the celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass. This Missale Romanum is open to pages showing on the left an illustration of the Resurrection and on the right the text for Easter Sunday (Resurrection Day) Mass.

Displayed alone in the next case is a large volume, an open Biblia Latina. The original Biblia Latina, more commonly called the Gutenberg Bible, was printed by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, in the 1450s using movable type, the first important book printed this way. It began the age of printed books; only 48 copies or partial copies of the Gutenberg Bible survive.

The Biblia Latina shown here is a facsimile, one of only 1,000 copies printed in the United States in 1961. This facsimile is open to the beginning of the book of Acts “which describes Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles after his Resurrection …” (Bang). Although the Bible is printed, its colorful decorations continue the tradition of hand-illuminated manuscripts and the colorful decorations on the right-hand page are truly spectacular.


Book of Kells, Christ in Majesty

Three books occupy the final case in this Easter exhibit. Most impressive both in size and illustrations is the Evangelorum Quattuor Codex Cenannensis, the Book of Kells, a facsimile printed in 1950. The original Book of Kells was probably written and decorated c.800 at a monastery at Kells, Ireland. Today it is housed in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. The Book of Kells, a Hiberno-Saxon manuscript richly illuminated on vellum (calf skin), contains the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was likely intended to be used at the altar of the monastic church. Special Collections’ facsimile is opened to show two of the many illustrations, a Christ in Majesty framed in elaborate Celtic interlace and a cross carpet page. Cross carpet pages are full-page cross designs without text; this one incorporates eight circles and is filled with Celtic interlace. These two pages are part of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

A much smaller book, The Christian Year: Thoughts in Verse for the Sundays and Holydays Throughout the Year by John Keble, published in 1874, is open to display a sepia-colored Crucifixion on the left and “Good Friday,” a poem on the right. Kehle was a poet and churchman. The third book, by Pacificus Baker, The Lenten Monitor. Of Moral Reflections and Devout Aspirations On the Gospels: For Each Day From Ash-Wednesday to Easter Sunday, is open to “At Blessing of the Palms” and “Reflection.” Baker was an eighteenth century English Minorite friar; this volume was published in 1834.

After a long, bitter cold winter, this exhibit welcomes the Easter season, the beginning of spring. On display are works both sacred and secular. It is an exhibit worth viewing and contemplating.

imagesArticle and photographs by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


Women’s History Month: Power & Magic in the Kitchen

Historically speaking, the kitchen is a woman’s domain. Women were chained to their stoves for hours on end. Cooking skills were right up there with other desirable traits, such as purity, appearance, and obedience to men. As Laura Schenone puts it in her book, A thousand years over a hot stove, “cooking reveals itself as a source of power and magic, and, at the same time, a source of oppression in women’s lives.”

To paraphrase Schenone, what women learned and what they knew wouldn’t be found in a book. It was passed down in the oral tradition, shared with daughters and friends. Women shared information and found support for more than just cooking. They relied on each other to learn healing remedies, to craft utensils and containers, to secure moral support, and to learn survival skills.

When times made life difficult and challenged even the most experienced cook, women found ways to feed their families with what little food was available. They would pool their resources or come to the aid of a hungry family. Women created new recipes to stretch the limited types and quantities of food.

Not unlike other American households, during World War II, Eleanor Roosevelt’s housekeeper, Ms. Henrietta Nesbitt found ways to deal with meat rationing and developed “meat-stretcher” recipes. There is one such recipe in The Husbandman, an agricultural newspaper. This newspaper was published during America’s Gilded Age, a period when the women’s suffrage movement was strengthening in the United States.

The original recipe for scrap pie is below. My adaptation follows the image.

Scrap Pie – 1886

The husbandman, v. XIII, no. 640, Wednesday, November 24, 1886

Scrap Pie Women's History









Scrap Pie – 2015

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. white or red potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

½ large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. chicken, beef, or vegetable broth

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp. butter

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare and assemble all ingredients.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain and set aside. Sauté onion and set aside. Use 1 tbsp. butter to coat the inside of a 9” pie plate. Cover the inside bottom of the pie plate with ground beef. Drizzle broth over beef. Layer the sautéed onion over the beef. Boil chopped potatoes in large pot of water until potatoes are tender. Turn off burner, drain and return potatoes to pot. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add the beaten egg, 1 tbsp. butter, salt, and pepper to the mashed potatoes. Whisk by hand or use an electric hand mixer until smooth. Cover the beef with the mashed potato mixture. Use a dinner fork to create a design on the potatoes. Use remaining 2 tbsp. of butter to dot the top of the potatoes.

beefbeef onionsbeef potato






Bake at 375° until top is browned, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Scrap Pie done










Makes 4-6 servings. Serve with salad or cooked vegetables.

Below are links to books, articles and blogs for your reading, watching and listening pleasure.

A thousand years over a hot stove can be requested through E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan.

What we lose in losing Ladies’ Home Journal (Thanks to Laura Bang, Special Collections, for the link.)

The First Kitchen

Women’s History and Food History: New Ways of Seeing American Life

#FoodieFriday: 5 Kitchen Appliances and Food Creations that Transformed Women’s Lives in the 20th Century

Women’s History Month – Audio and Video

My thanks to Michael Foight, Special Collections, for sending me the link to our digitized copy of The Husbandman.

LuisaCywinski_headshot thumbnailMonthly food blog feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion, and team leader, Access Services.


‘Caturday Night News

Have you noticed that people don’t hold onto their old newspapers like they used to? We do. If you want to read more about Villanova Wildcats sports history, we’ve got digitized back issues of The Villanovan before they started publishing online editions.

NCAA 1985 Division I Mens Championship

NCAA 1985 Division 1 Men’s Championship Bracket, The Villanovan, March 22, 1985

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‘Cat in the Stacks: Traditional Irish Dance Music


 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

abstract-retro-shamrock-design_mkwW9GSt. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and right now you can’t turn on the morning news without hearing that chipper jig jingle introducing the Irish segment between the politics and the weather—not that I’m complaining! I, like many people, am a fan of that traditional Irish dance music. And speaking of morning news features, the subtle jealously I experience while watching a crew of kids step-dancing away is pretty amusing (I so could’ve done that! How hard can it be?). I really don’t claim to know much about Irish culture, my Callaghan-Gallagher bloodline and having completed James Joyce’s Ulysses en totale notwithstanding, but luckily Falvey has enough information to keep me in the know. When thinking about that traditional music, I decided I wanted to know more about the actual instruments involved in making that Irish sound—you know that sound. The sound.

With the help of resources archived in the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection, hosted by Villanova’s Digital Library, I listened a little more closely to the individual instruments that make up that St. Patrick’s Day sound. A little light Google research has led me to believe (and experts, correct me if I’m wrong) that the traditional Irish sound is typically made up of Uilleann pipes, fiddles, tin whistles, and flutes. Click on the names of the instruments to listen to recordings from past Philadelphia Ceili Group events!

Uilleann Pipes
Uilleann pipes are nifty because if, like me, you don’t have a honed ear for those bag instruments, you might have expected something identical to the Scottish bagpipe. They sound similar, but they are indeed different. Check out this Youtube vid to see them battling it out! The bagpipes incorporate blown air; Uilleann pipes are pressed under the arm.

What’s the difference between a fiddle and a violin? Not much. Fiddling is a folk style of playing a violin. Nothing makes me want to get up and dance more than an enthusiastically played fiddle.

Tin Whistle and Flute
I have a cheap tin whistle I found somewhere in my grandfather’s junk cabinet as a kid, and the only thing I can play is Concerning Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings (this isn’t me, and I’m not this good). I know I’m not maximizing its potential or anything, but hey, it sounds pretty.

If you’re interested in learning more about Irish music beyond the instrumentation of traditional dance music, we also have a few text-based resources.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


Art of Spring Break: Cabinets of Curiosities: Highlights from Special Collections


“Cabinets of Curiosity: Highlights from Special Collections,” a new exhibit on Falvey’s first floor, consists of six cabinets highlighting a variety of materials recently acquired by Falvey’s Special Collections. Photograph albums, a scrapbook, children’s books, adult novels, a tour book for California, a stereoscope and cards (double photographs that appear in three dimensions when viewed in a stereoscope), and a World War II Japanese portable volt-and-current meter are just some of the items in this exhibit.


Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, curated the exhibit. Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator, helped Bang install the exhibit. Joanne Quinn, Communication and Service Promotion team leader and graphic designer, created the graphics for “Cabinets of Curiosities.”

Bang introduces the exhibit saying, “This ‘highlights’ exhibit features a selection of recently acquired materials. Over the past two years, we have focused out collection efforts primarily in the areas of popular culture and materials and upcoming historic anniversaries, particularly the current centennial of the First World War.”


“I love these ‘hodge-podge’ exhibits,” she adds, “because they give us a chance to show some of the great stuff that doesn’t fit in our regular-themed exhibits, like the stereoscope viewer.”

Two recent donations—Irish-themed books given by Patrick Moss, and a World War II collection from the family of James D. Reap, Jr.—are featured in the “Cabinets of Curiosities.”

The “Cabinets of Curiosities” will remain on display until mid to late March, followed by an Easter exhibit.

imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 

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Last Modified: March 5, 2015