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Joseph E. Hernandez, Class of 1885

Decorative ink-work in red around the word "Friendship."


We recently digitized an interesting autograph album that was compiled by Joseph Everal Hernandez, a student at Villanova College in the 1880s. Hernandez wrote a poem at the beginning of the album “to my friends” in which he begins:

When years elapse,

It may, perhaps,

Delight us to review these scraps,

And live again ‘mid scenes so gay…

The following pages in the album hold prose, poetry, and art by Hernandez’s friends and family, as well as possibly a few teachers, primarily from his time at Villanova. Some of the names appear more than once.

Pen and ink drawing of a lion, signed by William P. Regan. A note at the top of the image reads "Please do not touch this page."

“Please do not touch this page.” (We touched it to digitize it!)

The artwork includes several pen-and-ink drawings, as well as a few paintings. Two particularly lovely paintings by Hernandez’s classmate James Harkins of Atlantic City, New Jersey, depict a red-and-white striped lighthouse and a house beside a river.

Many entries are dated, with years ranging from 1882 to 1887, and most note what seems to be the author’s hometown. Hernandez was from St. Augustine, Florida, and there are some names from that locale, in addition to his friends from Villanova.

Painting of a red-and-white striped lighthouse with a ship on the sea to the right, signed by Jas. A Harkins.

Painting of a lighthouse, signed by Jas. A Harkins.

Looking through the Villanova College catalogues that we have digitized from the 1880s, I was able to trace Hernandez’s academic career. In 1883, he received a “commercial diploma” and a Gold Medal for Gentlemanly Conduct. In 1885, he received a Bachelor of Science degree, the only degree conferred that year. Throughout his time at the College, he received a number of academic “premiums” in various subjects, including Arithmetic, History, Book-Keeping, Piano, Christian Doctrine, and Navigation. He was a member of the Sodality of the Immaculate Conception of B.V.M. (a Roman Catholic Marian society); the Villanova Debating Society; and the Library and Reading Room Society.

This album provides a glimpse back at a young man’s friendships in the late 19th century. I highly recommend that you take some time to peruse the album yourself in the Digital Library!

A lithograph depicting Villanova College in the 1880s, showing a 4-story building topped by a cupola and two crosses, with a few human figures walking in the foreground.

A lithograph depicting Villanova College, published in the 1884-85 College Catalogue.


#ColorOurCollections 2017 Gallery

Here is a round-up of colored images from last week’s #ColorOurCollections extravaganza!

The Bosun and the Comet, colored by Laura B.

The Bosun and the Comet, colored by Laura B.

The Camelopard, colored by Laura B.

The Camelopard, colored by Laura B.

Cover of Comfort, August 1907, colored by Liz A.

Cover of Comfort, August 1907, colored by Liz A.

Cover of Comfort, February 1904, colored by Sue O.

Cover of Comfort, February 1904, colored by Sue O.

Dragons, colored by Sue O.

Dragons, colored by Sue O.

Even though #ColorOurCollections 2017 is over, you can keep coloring all year! Find all of our coloring pages here in the Digital Library.

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Music History project launched

Last Friday, February 3, we celebrated the launch of our latest completed digital scholarship project, “Music in Twentieth Century American History.” This project was created by students in Dr. Paul Rosier’s junior history research seminary in Fall 2016. You can view the project website here.*

(*Note: for copyright reasons, not all content on this website is available off-campus.)

The presentations for the launch party were recorded and are available for viewing on YouTube (embedded below). We are pleased that several of the students from Dr. Rosier’s class were able to join us for this event and give brief presentations about their contributions to the project.


#ColorOurCollections 2017!

Photo of coloring pages and colored pencils.

Sharpen your pencils & crayons! It’s time for #ColorOurCollections!

This week marks the return of #ColorOurCollections, a social media campaign that presents coloring pages adapted from the collections of cultural heritage institutions. For today, you can find remastered copies of last year’s coloring books in the Digital Library. These coloring books feature the work of Jack B. Yeats, a selection of fantastic beasts, and a selection of covers from the magazine Comfort.

Coloring page from The Bosun & the Bob-tailed Comet.Coloring page with images of dragons.Coloring page of the cover of Comfort magazine, February 1904.

If you color any of our images, be sure to share your masterpieces on social media using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and tag us so we don’t miss it! You can find our social media profiles in the “About the Collections” section at the bottom left of the Digital Library home page.

Follow the hashtag across social media or check out the website hub at to find more coloring pages from cultural heritage institutions around the world! Thank you to the New York Academy of Medicine for organizing another year of #ColorOurCollections!

Happy coloring! 🙂

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“Hidden treasure” in the library

Back in October, the Library co-sponsored a week-long Harry Potter scavenger hunt and Special Collections was a featured stop (for a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson). Marianne Donley was one of the seekers who stopped by Special Collections on the scavenger hunt and her visit inspired her to come back to learn more about the collections. As part of an assignment for Jody Ross’s Journalism class, Marianne produced this video that highlights a few of the treasures you can find in Special Collections:

Marianne is a member of the class of 2018 and she is double-majoring in Chemistry and English. Thank you for this wonderful video, Marianne!

If you are intrigued by the treasures featured in the video, please feel free to stop by Special Collections. We love to share our collections with visitors. If you can’t make it in person, though, you can browse our Digital Library to see thousands of digitized books, photographs, manuscripts, and more.

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Advent Poetry Calendar – “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

  • Posted by: Laura Bang
  • Posted Date: November 30, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

ADVENT-DAY-4 resize

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

Submitted by Laura Bang

Laura Bang is Falvey Memorial Library’s Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, and she submitted “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” perhaps one of Frost’s most well known and beloved poems. It was included in Frost’s collection New Hampshire, published in 1923, for which he won the first of his four Pulitzer Prizes.

The speaker of “Stopping by Woods” is caught in a moment of choosing between the tranquility of nature and the responsibilities of life and society. One well-known interpretation suggests that the poem is a meditation on death and draws the distinction between eternal peace, rather than natural tranquility, and the hustle and bustle of daily life.

With the holiday season upon us it is easy to imagine oneself in the speaker’s shoes and the desire for moments of peacefulness at odds with all of the responsibilities that this time of year brings. If you find yourself feeling as though you have far too many miles to go before you sleep, try to find a few moments throughout the day to stop by your own metaphorical wood and take a few deep breaths to get you through all that lies ahead.


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.



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Intro to DH video

On September 30, I presented an “Introduction to Digital Humanities” lecture to the Villanova community. I have now recorded a modified version of this presentation, now available online here.

Digital Humanities is an active and dynamic area of scholarship that brings together digital technologies and the humanities disciplines. This video provides some definitions of the digital humanities (DH), a look at some example DH projects, and an introduction to the Library’s digital scholarship work (through the Aurelius Digital Scholarship Initiative).

This video is only a brief overview. If you have further questions or just want to chat about DH, please get in touch! Just send an email to


Save the date: Intro to DH session, 9/30 11am

Introduction to Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities is an active and dynamic area of scholarship that brings together digital technologies and the humanities disciplines. Librarian Laura Bang will lead a session to provide some definitions of the digital humanities (DH), a look at some example DH projects, and an introduction to the Library’s digital scholarship work. This session will meet on Friday, September 30 at 11:00am in Room 204 on the 2nd floor of Falvey Memorial Library. This event is open to anyone interested in the digital humanities.


Summer Research: Irish Nurses of 1916

Yesterday, we had a visit from an international researcher who was excited to go through our Joseph McGarrity Collection. He was looking for materials related to Irish nurses who participated in the Easter Rising of 1916.

One of the items in the collection is In Times of Peril, which contains excerpts from the diary of nurse Linda Kearns.

Cover of In Times of Peril, featuring a photo of Linda Kearns

Our copy is especially noteworthy as it belonged to Éamon de Valera (to whom the book was dedicated) and bears his signature on the title page. De Valera served as the first president of the Irish Republic (1921-1922) and the third president of the modern Republic of Ireland (1959-1973).

Signature of Eamon de Valera on title page of In Times of Peril.

An excerpt from Kearns’ diary is one of the readings featured in the fifth episode of our Mail Call podcast.

Our researcher had a very productive visit. It is always thrilling to see researchers examining primary sources and bringing new connections to light. You can view a list of published resources that have used materials from our collections in our Zotero library.

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The Dog Days of Summer

The sunny, sultry days of July and August are often referred to as the “dog days” of summer. Ancient civilizations noticed what they thought was a correlation between the hottest days of summer and the heliacal (or, at sunrise) rising of the star Sirius in the constellation known as Canis Major (the “Big Dog”). Although Sirius does not actually have an effect on the temperature, its heliacal rising does coincide with some of the hottest days of summer in many parts of the northern hemisphere. “Canicular days” (from the Latin word for dog) made their first appearance in print in English in 1398. The Old Farmer’s Almanac puts the timing of the Dog Days as July 3 through August 11.

As we sweat our way through the dog days of summer, here is a selection of dog images from our collections!

From the Photo Album of Laird C. Robinson of Philadelphia, 1904:

Photo: Man with hunting rifle and dog Photo: The Whole Family and the Dog


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Last Modified: July 27, 2016

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