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Distinctive Collections Feature: Don Chisciotte Della Mancia

Welcome to the April installment of The Shelf List, a monthly blog series to highlight recently cataloged materials in Falvey’s Distinctive Collections.

An Italian edition of Don Quixote, illustrated by Gustave Doré and Héliodore Joseph Pisan, was added to the catalog this week.

Don Chisciotte della Mancia, di Michele Cervantes di Saavedra. Ilustrato con 120 quadri grandi e 250 disegni di Gustavo Doré.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s epic novel, Don Quixote, was first published in two parts ten years apart-in 1605 and 1615. The illustrated Italian edition of Don Quixote was published c. 1880-1881, however, our copy is missing a title page and thus lacks publication information.

Lacking a title page, the book opens immediately to the prologue, featuring the first of the 120 full page engravings and 250 smaller sketches that illustrate this text.

The engravings illuminate the adventures of the protagonist, Don Quixote, a low-ranked member of the nobility on a quest to achieve knighthood. The satirical and playful narrative, which pokes fun at popular tropes of the chivalric romance genre, is represented in the elongated, dramatic, and at times cartoonish illustrations throughout.

Full-page plates showcase the iconic dynamism of Doré through the strong diagonal lines and deep contrast that has come to be associated with the artist, a style which he hones in his later illustrated works of Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dante’s Inferno, and The Bible.


Many of Doré’s bible illustrations are featured in the recent digital exhibit, Divine Inspiration: Revealing the Sacred in Biblical Texts and Imagery. Additionally, Mike Sgier has published on Doré’s Paradise Lost and Inferno in his blog series, The Printed Image.

This Italian illustrated edition of Don Quixote is an exciting addition to the Distinctive Collections and complements our growing collection of Doré illustrated books at Falvey.


Featured Digital Exhibit: Divine Inspiration at Falvey

Divine Inspiration at Falvey Library

Digital exhibit Divine Inspiration: Revealing the Sacred in Biblical Texts and Imagery is now live on the Digital Library.

Jacob’s Dream, Gustave Doré



The digital version of the Divine Inspiration exhibit, featured in the Spring 24 issue of Mosaic, expands upon the themes highlighted in the physical exhibit installed on the first floor of Falvey Library (on display Fall 23-Spring 24).

This complementary digital exhibit showcases the historically significant Bibles featured in the physical exhibit cases with additional supplemental biblical material from Falvey Library’s Distinctive Collections.

Viewers can navigate the exhibit to investigate digitized materials pertaining to biblical translations, hand-press printing practices, the history of bible production and education, as well as biblical imagery, engraving practices, and the extremely prolific 19th century biblical illustrator, Gustave Doré. For those who are curious to learn more about bible production, history, and illustration, see the Bibliographical Resources section, which includes the Susan Dunleavy Collection Of Biblical Literature. 


Curators Meg Piorko (Distinctive Collections Librarian) and Mike Sgier (Distinctive Collections Coordinator) are excited to present the digital version of this exhibit to showcase more materials and details of materials from the physical exhibit to a much larger audience.



Greek Independence Day 2024: Selections from the Villanova Digital Library’s Newspaper Collection

Illustration featuring characters in nineteenth-century Greek outfits. Drawing by Albert Berghaus (1869–1880). Illustration for Nathan D. Urner's Dick and his double; or, "Not me, but the other fellow", published in Frank Leslie's Boys' and Girls' Weekly : An Illustrated Journal of Amusement, Adventure, and Instruction, v. XXII, no. 553, May 26, 1877.

Illustration featuring characters in nineteenth-century Greek outfits. Drawing by Albert Berghaus (active 1869–1880) for chapter IX in Nathan D. Urner’s “Dick and his double; or, Not me, but the other fellow,” published in Frank Leslie’s Boys’ and Girls’ Weekly : An Illustrated Journal of Amusement, Adventure, and Instruction, v. XXII, no. 553, May 26, 1877, p. [225].

Each year on March 25, Greeks in Greece and the diaspora celebrate Independence Day. The holiday, celebrated on the same day as the Orthodox feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), marks the anniversary of the start of the Greek War for Independence from the Ottoman Empire. This war took place from 1821 to 1829 and was the first of several major armed conflicts throughout the nineteenth century that liberated parts of what is now the nation state of Greece. The Villanova Digital Library, in particular its newspaper collection, preserves numerous articles and other works that highlight this period in history.

The Truth Teller, a Catholic newspaper published in New York, seemed especially interested in covering the War for Independence as it was occurring. The topics covered in this newspaper ranged from updates on decisive battles to reports of foreign involvement. The uncredited writers of these segments seemingly adopted a largely Philhellenic approach to their news coverage.

At the same time, The Truth Teller advertised newly published books covering the Greek Revolution. The following segment promotes A Picture of Greece in 1825 (1826) by James Emerson Tennent (1804-1869), Giuseppe Pecchio (1785-1835), and William Henry Humphreys. The advertisement provides an excerpt focusing on Kostas Botsaris (1792-1853), a Greek general and senator who was active during the revolution. It also makes reference to Kostas’ brother Markos Botsaris (1790-1823), who died during the revolution, as well as to the two brothers’ hometown of Suli, or Souli, in Epirus, Greece.

The following advertisement, published on September 13, 1928, in Philadelphia’s Saturday Evening Post, promotes Samuel Gridley Howe’s (1801-1876) An Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution (1828). Howe was an American doctor, abolitionist, and education advocate who volunteered as a surgeon and commander during the Greek War for Independence. In this regard, he was similar to many Phihellenes of his time who became deeply invested in the Greek Revolution, such as English poet Lord Byron (1788-1824), who died in Missolonghi, Greece, during the war. (Among other poems by Byron, “The Isles of Greece” celebrates the cause of Greek independence, but remains disillusioned about the assistance offered by Western Europe: “Trust not for freedom to the Franks—/ They have a king who buys and sells; / In native swords and native ranks / The only hope of courage dwells”).

The National Gazette and Library Register was another newspaper that provided updates on the war in Greece. The following segment reprints a letter addressing the political dimension of the Greek uprising.

This segment, also from The National Gazette and Library Register, describes the situation at the fortified city of Missolonghi in 1853. Though the article seems hopeful about the city’s ability to defend itself, Missolonghi would fall to Turkish-Egyptian forces in 1826, following a lengthy siege that drove the city’s inhabitants, most of whom were ultimately slain, to exit their defensive position en masse. Missolonghi’s last stand has since held a prominent place in the Hellenic cultural memory and has been memorialized in works such as Theodoros Vryzakis‘ (1814-1878) painting The sortie of Messologhi (1853).

Throughout the rest of the nineteenth century, revolutions and political turmoil continued throughout Greece, with various parts of the mainland and islands gradually joining the newfound Hellenic Republic. Newspapers in the Villanova Digital Library report on many of these occurrences, ranging from political troubles surrounding King Otto of Greece (1832-1862) to an uprising on the island of Crete, and even a report that Greek Revolution veteran married famous French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923).

Even twentieth-century newspapers in the Villanova Digital Library address military conflicts in Greece. Issues of Philadelphia’s Public Ledger from 1928 were recently uploaded to the Digital Library, along with other titles that entered the public domain at the start of 2024. The January 15, 1928, issue includes an article by Adamantios Th. Polyzoides (1885-1969) on the European armament in the lead-up to World War II and how this phenomenon affected Greece. From 1907 to 1933, Polyzoides served as the editor of Atlantis, a Greek-language newspaper published in New York from 1894 to 1973. The Public Ledger article also relates to another major Greek holiday: Ohi Day (i.e., “No” Day), which commemorates Greece’s refusal to allow Italian forces to occupy strategic locations across Greece in 1940, a decision that brought Greece into the second World War.

These newspaper segments comprise a larger set of materials in the Villanova Digital Library that are relevant to Greek history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (Examples include a 1914 English-Greek, Greek-English dictionary used by the Greek diaspora in the U.S. and an 1840 pamphlet on the British Empire’s presence on the island of Corfu, both of which have been previously featured on Falvey Library’s blog.) Additional coverage of Greek history is waiting to be discovered through keyword searches in the Digital Library’s Newspaper collection.


The Printed Image: The Red Rose Girls

This March installment of The Printed Image highlights works in the Digital Library and circulating collection by a trio of illustrators from the ‘Golden Age of Illustration’ who also have a personal connection to Villanova, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth Shippen Green, Violet Oakley, and Jessie Willcox Smith each enjoyed enormous success and popularity in art and illustration, and resided at the Red Rose Inn from 1901 to 1906, a private residence off of Spring Mill Road that still stands to this day.

Left to right: Elizabeth Shippen Green, Violet Oakley, Jessie Wilcox Smith, and Henrietta Cozens (standing)
Photo from The Red Rose Girls, Harry N. Abrams, 2000.

Nicknamed ‘The Red Rose Girls’ by their mentor and teacher Howard Pyle, the trio met in Pyle’s illustration class at the Drexel Institute in 1897 and soon shared a studio space at 1523 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. After spending time in Bryn Mawr and finding city life an increasing distraction from their work, they soon leased the Red Rose Inn, joined by Henrietta Cozens, who would tend to the house and gardens of the estate. At a time when professional opportunities for women were narrowly defined, and which were expected to be abandoned once they were married, the Red Rose Girls’ arrangement was practically revolutionary, creating a space where they could thrive in their artistic and professional careers, outside of the bounds of the normative gender expectations of the day.

With the Red Rose Inn set to be sold in 1906, their lease expired and the group was forced to move to an estate in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, nicknamed ‘Cogslea’. Once marriage entered into the picture for Elizabeth Shippen Green in 1911, the living arrangements of the group would fluctuate, and while they would continue to remain close, the creative and personal alliance found at the Red Rose Inn would not remain the same. [1]

Elizabeth Shippen Green-Elliott – Cover for The Wissahickon

Included in both Special Collections and the Digital Library, this small volume about the Wissahickon Park in northwest Philadelphia includes a black-and-white cover by Green. The cover displays the lush, bucolic style found within many of Green’s paintings and illustrations, influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and Romantics.

As the publication year and signature on the cover may imply, this illustration was made after Green’s marriage to Huger Elliott, an architect and instructor who would work at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Arts. Contradicting the conventional wisdom of the day, Green was able to continue her illustration career after marrying Elliott, maintaining her contract with Harper’s and illustrating 19 books, all while attending to her domestic and social responsibilities as Mrs. Huger Elliott. [1, pg. 194]

Cover illustration by Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott, 1922

Violet OakleyThe Public Ledger, February 5, 1928

Newly added to the Digital Library, this issue of the Public Ledger includes a photographic reproduction of a medal designed by Oakley for the Philadelphia Award, which was created and sponsored by author and editor Edward W. Bok.

This was not Oakley’s only public commission within Pennsylvania. Earlier in 1906, Oakley would debut one of her most high profile commissions, a set of murals recounting the history of William Penn for the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, which are still on display to the public. The murals were critical to her career as a muralist and enjoyed enormous popularity, though they were not without their critics. These murals would  be followed by commissions for the State Senate and Supreme Court Chambers, completed in 1919 and 1927 respectively.  

Portrait of Edward W. Bok (left), design by Violet Oakley for the Philadelphia Award (right).
Public Ledger, v. 184, no. 134, page 31

Jessie Willcox SmithA Child’s Garden of Verses and The Children of Dickens

The eldest of the Red Rose Girls, Smith is represented in the library’s circulating collections in two books: A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (1905) and The Children of Dickens by Samuel McChord Crothers (1925). Her illustrations for both works display her trademark styles; children as subjects, realistic environments, and detailed costuming. But there is also a sense of idealism within them, a style referred to as ‘romantic realism’ by professor Mark W. Sullivan [2], where the imaginative world of a child is given precedence and legitimacy.

Illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith.
from A Child’s Garden of Verses

Illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith.
from A Child’s Garden of Verses

Illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith.
from The Children of Dickens

Illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith.
from A Child’s Garden of Verses

Smith found enormous success in publishing, with clients such as Harper’s, Collier’s, Scribner’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and illustrations for over 60 books. In 1991, she was the third woman inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, followed by Green in 1994 and Oakley in 1996. Of the original Red Rose Girls, only Smith and Cozens would remain together as companions and partners, until Smith’s death in 1935. [3]

You can learn more about the works of Green, Oakley, and Smith in the book The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love by Alice A. Carter, as well as Carter’s interview with the Illustration Department podcast, and in an essay by Villanova professor Mark W. Sullivan for The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.

Mike Sgier is a Distinctive Collections Coordinator at Falvey Library.


[1] Carter, Alice A. The Red Rose Girls : An Uncommon Story of Art and Love. New York, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000.

[2] Sullivan, Mark W. “Red Rose Girls.” The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, 2015,

[3] “Jessie Willcox Smith.” Wikipedia, 31 Oct. 2020,


Lesser Known Works By Well Known Authors in the Villanova Digital Library

The Villanova Digital Library provides access to numerous serialized and standalone short stories through its Dime Novels And Popular Literature collection. Most authors whose works appear in these publications are now considered obscure, while many of them remain unidentified. However, the digitized collections also include stories by nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers whose works are still widely read today. Here are some lesser known stories by well-known authors that are preserved in the Villanova Digital Library:


“What It Cost” by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) is primarily remembered as a novelist. Her most widely read novel, Little Women (1868-1869), was adapted into an award-winning film as recently as 2019. A lesser known work by Alcott is “What It Cost,” which appeared as a cover story in the sixth issue of the children’s periodical, The Young Crusader. Like many stories published in The Young Crusader, “What It Cost” promotes the anti-alcohol stance of the temperance movement.

The young crusader, v. I, no. 6, February 11, 1887, p. 21.

The young crusader, v. I, no. 6, February 11, 1887, p. 21.


“Heart” by James Fenimore Cooper

Like Alcott, James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) is mainly remembered for his novels, in particular The Last of the Mohicans (1826). His story, “Heart,” appears as a cover story in two segments in the March 13 and March 20, 1841, issues of The Boston Notion. A full transcript of the story is also available through Project Gutenberg.

Boston notion, v. II, no. 24, Saturday morning, March 13, 1841, p. [1].

Boston notion, v. II, no. 24, Saturday morning, March 13, 1841, p. [1].


“The Jolly Roger” and other stories by Robert W. Chambers

Robert W. Chamber (1965-1895) wrote the short-story collection The King in Yellow (1895), which is one of the most influential works in the history of weird fiction. The first four stories in the collection directly impacted the “Cthulhu mythos,” a literary universe shared by H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) (whose astronomical journal is housed at Falvey Library) and other writers of the early twentieth century. The King in Yellow continues to excite the popular imagination, having been the basis for much of the acclaimed first season of the television series True Detective. However, most of Chambers’ writing was not in the horror genre. The Villanova Digital Library offers access to parts of three stories by Chambers: “One in a Million,” “The Shining Band,” and “The Jolly Roger” (the last of which is available, in its entirety, as digitized microfilm through the Internet Archive).



“Houdini, the Enigma” and other stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1870) is the creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, who appears in several stories, starting with “A Study in Scarlett” (1887). The Villanova Digital Library offers access to three works by Doyle that do not feature his famous detective: “Houdini, the Enigma,” which focuses on Harry Houdini (1874-1926), a famous magician and friend of Doyle’s; “An Alpine Pass on Ski”; and “De Profundis.”

Bonus: The Digital Library also includes one story, “The Affair of the Glenranald Bank,” by Doyle’s brother-in-law, E. W. Hornung (1866-1921). Hornung was influenced by Doyle’s work on Sherlock Holmes and created the character A. J. Raffles, a gentleman thief who is, in essence, the reverse Sherlock Holmes. The character first appeared in the short story “The Ides of March” in 1898 and the first collection of A. J. Raffles stories was subsequently published in 1899.


“Hunter Quatermain’s Story” and other stories by H. Rider Haggard

H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was a writer of adventure fiction, mainly remembered for creating the character Allan Quatermain. The most widely known tale featuring the character is the novel King Solomon’s Mines (1885), a reprint of which is available in the Villanova Digital Library. However, the site also includes other stories by Haggard (some of which feature Allan Quatermain), such as “Hunter Quatermain’s Story.” Allan Quatermain has continued to appear in literature since Haggard’s death, having played a central role in the comic-book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999-2019) by Alan Moore (b. 1953) and Kevin O’Neill (1953-2022).


“The Blockhouse Mystery” and other stories by Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) was a writer, political activist, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He wrote The Jungle (1906), a novel about working conditions in the meat industry, which raised awareness of unsanitary practices and influenced the passing of the Federal Meat Inspection Act. The Villanova Digital Library preserves four stories written by Sinclair under the pseudonym Douglas Wells for The Starry Flag: “The Blockhouse Mystery, or, Hal Maynard’s Cuban Romance”; “Hal on the Outpost, or, With the Army Above Doomed Santiago”; “The Hero of Manila; or, Hal Maynard Under a New Commander”; “Hal Maynard at West Point, or, The New Member of the Seven Devils”.


All the abovementioned stories are available in the Villanova Digital Library’s Dime Novels And Popular Literature collection, while more are being added on a regular basis. The digitization project not only preserves the works of obscure writers, but also brings to light the lesser known works of well-known writers.


Note: The stories by Doyle, Haggard, and Sinclair were identified by Director of Library Technology Demian Katz.


eBook available: How to Hypnotize

Another item from our Digital Library has been converted to a free Project Gutenberg eBook by the Distributed Proofreaders project. How to Hypnotize: The Science of Controlling the Minds of Others is the twenty-eighth volume of the Multum in Parvo Library, a collection of tiny 16-page chapbooks covering a variety of topics.

While this book’s title might bring to mind either villainous manipulation or humorous showmanship, it is actually focused on therapeutic mesmerism, containing suggestions on using hypnosis to treat illness. Much (possibly all) of its content appears to have been lifted without attribution from James Coates’ longer work, How to Mesmerize.

Given the book’s small size, brief length, and frequent commercial interruptions, it doesn’t provide very much information on its stated topic, but it remains an interesting example of late 19th-century novelty publishing (and trans-Atlantic piracy of text).

The entire book can be read online or downloaded in commonly-used eBook formats through Project Gutenberg.


The Printed Image: “Phiz” and the Illustrated Works of Charles Dickens

This February installment of ‘The Printed Image’ serves as a belated commemoration of the birthday of Charles Dickens (February 7), by highlighting the work of one of his most frequent illustrators, Hablot Knight Browne (1815-1882). Also known by the pen name “Phiz” to complement Dickens’s own moniker “Boz”, Browne illustrated seven of Dickens’s fifteen novels, among them Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, and A Tale of Two Cities.

Browne’s illustrations for Dickens are represented in Falvey’s Special Collections in two works: a complete set of the original serialization of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby from 1838-1839, and in The Writings of Charles Dickens, a 32 volume set printed by the Riverside Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts, published by Houghton Mifflin & Company in 1894.

(Click on the illustrations in this blog post for a larger view.)

“I am married”
from David Copperfield

When I first encountered Browne’s illustrations in Dombey and Son, I was struck by how contemporary they appeared to be; their humor, their expression, their energy. It was a style I could see traces of in modern day comics, cartoons, and illustrations, yet I was surprised to discover they were made and published for the original serializations. The stories of Charles Dickens as “classics” can sometimes have an imposing reverence, so to see how they were published to a Victorian-era public helped to make them more accessible.


“The Shadow in the Little Parlour”
from Dombey and Son

“Coming Home from Church”
from Dombey and Son

Browne belonged to a ‘caricaturist’ school of illustration that was popular at this time, a style that included other Dickens illustrators such as George Cruikshank and John Leech, but was opposed aesthetically by the more formal Royal Academician style. As Browne’s son Edgar wrote,

“To this faculty of reproducing at will unconscious impressions he owed most of his excellences, together with most of his faults. Careful adherence to fact, and conscientious reproduction of the model and still life, would have resulted in drawing that might have had a great artistic value, but would not have represented Dickens in the slightest degree.” [1]


“Theatrical emotion of Mr. Vincent Crummles”
from Nicholas Nickleby

“The last brawl between Sir Mulberry and his pupil”
from Nicholas Nickleby


While Browne was initially apprenticed as a line-engraver to William Finden, he left this apprenticeship to start his own studio with Robert Young, preferring etchings and watercolors for his artistic output. [2] While engraving uses fine tools to create a design on metal or wood, etching is a method where a drawing or design is incised onto a metal plate with acid, allowing for an illustrator’s drawing style to be more readily replicated for the printed page, as a stylus is used to define the areas that will be etched. We can see evidence of this in Browne’s mark-making in the illustrations and in his extensive use of hatching and cross-hatching.

One intriguing aspect that can be found in some of Browne’s illustrations is the use of a “dark plate” method, where a gray tone is used within the background, created using a ruling machine on the plate. [3] This was undertaken partly as a way to control how the illustrations were reprinted; due to the popularity of Browne’s illustrations, publishers would reproduce them through lithographic stones, a practice which displeased Browne. The dark plate method made it nearly impossible for this kind of transfer to occur, thus bringing Browne some measure of artistic control. [4]

“The Wanderer”
from David Copperfield


“Visitors at the Works”
from Little Dorrit
(‘dark plate’ illustration)

“The River”
from David Copperfield
(‘dark plate’ illustration)

Nicholas Nickelby and The Writings of Charles Dickens may be viewed in the Rare Book Room by appointment. Falvey’s Digital Library includes a Charles Dickens collection, which includes a volume of collected works, illustrated prints, and letters written by Dickens. To see more work by Hablot Knight Browne, you can visit the British Museum and the Royal Academy. To learn more about the etching process, visit this tutorial at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Finally, if you happen to be visiting Philadelphia, stop by the Free Library’s Rare Books department to visit Grip the Raven, who has a most curious connection to both Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe.

Mike Sgier is a Distinctive Collections Coordinator at Falvey Library.

[1] Simon, Howard. 500 Years of Art in Illustration. New York : Hacker Art Books, 1978. Page 114.

[2] “Hablot Knight (Phiz) Browne | Artist | Royal Academy of Arts.”,

‌[3] “Hablot Knight Browne (1815-1882).” Illustrating Dickens’ World – WPI Digital Exhibits, 27 June 2023,

[4] “Hablot Knight Browne.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Nov. 2019,


eBook available: How to Become an Inventor

Another of Frank Tousey‘s Ten Cent Hand Books has been released as a Project Gutenberg eBook thanks to scans from our Digital Library and the volunteer efforts of the Distributed Proofreaders project.

How to Become an Inventor, published in 1898, doesn’t really include much practical advice on inventing things, but it does include introductory (if sometimes cryptic, and never illustrated) instructions on carpentry, electricity, hydraulics, magnetism, photography, mechanics, pneumatics, optics and microscopy. All of this advice is likely drawn from other sources without attribution, as was the fashion of the cheap publishers of the time.

While not likely to be of much practical use to a modern reader, the book is nonetheless interesting in what it reveals of its time, including the details of some outdated scientific theories, and the alarming fact that it was once considered an everyday fact of life to have “eels” living in your vinegar.

If you want to check it out for yourself, you can find the whole book online (and available for download in popular formats) through Project Gutenberg.


New exhibit on Villanova’s V-12 Navy College Training Program now on view in Vasey Hall

A new exhibit is now on view at the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center in Vasey Hall. The exhibit, titled The V-12 Navy College Training Program: Villanova During World War II, showcases materials related to the V-12 training program hosted by Villanova College from 1943 to 1946.

During the second World War, Villanova’s student population significantly decreased, as numerous young men joined the armed forces. At this time, the US Navy selected Villanova, along with other institutions of higher learning, to house the V-12 Navy College Training Program. This program aimed to quickly increase the number of commissioned officers through an accelerated course of study that combined academic coursework and military training. During the years when the program was offered at Villanova, most of the college’s students were enrolled in it.

Case 1 from the new exhibit on the V-12 program at Villanova. Photo by Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

Case 1 from the new exhibit on the V-12 program at Villanova. Photo by Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

The exhibit features reproductions of photographs, drawn from our digitized collections, that depict V-12 students training and studying. The exhibit also includes three letters written by Villanova V-12 graduate James D. Reap, Jr. to his parents during and after his participation in the training program. In his letters, Reap recounts his experience as a V-12 student and how it positively affected his career trajectory. In a letter dated February 5, 1944, Reap writes that other enlisted men “kind of respect us boys from the V-12 Unit.” The digitized letters and their full transcripts are also available through the Villanova Digital Library, along with other digitized materials from the James D. Reap, Jr. Collection. Paired with the letters is a US Navy hat worn by Reap while he participated in the Pacific Theater of World War II. (He served as a radar and communications technician aboard the USS Proteus, which was anchored near the USS Missouri when the Japanese surrender was formally signed in 1945.) Lastly, the exhibit features the 1944 and 1945 Belle Air Villanova yearbooks, which provide further information about the curriculum and leadership of the V-12 program.

Case 2 from the new exhibit on the V-12 program at Villanova. Photo by Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

Case 2 from the new exhibit on the V-12 program at Villanova. Photo by Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.

These materials come together to highlight the experiences of V-12 students and how their time at Villanova prepared them for leadership roles in the Navy, during one of the most critical moments in world history. You may view the exhibit, The V-12 Navy College Training Program: Villanova During World War II, during the spring and summer 2024 semesters at the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center in Vasey Hall!

If you are interested in additional projects that celebrate and preserve the legacies of Villanova veterans, make sure to also visit Honoring the Fallen: An Interactive Memorial Map, a Geographic Information System (GIS) map that shows where Villanova veterans died in service, as well as The Voices of Villanova’s Veterans oral history site, which includes interviews with Villanova veterans.


Richard T. Schulze Congressional Papers Open For Research

Distinctive Collections is pleased to announce the Richard T. Schulze congressional papers are available and open for research.


Richard Taylor “Dick” Schulze, a Republican politician, served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 5th congressional district, incorporating the counties of Delaware, Montgomery, and Chester, from 1975 to 1993. Spanning from 1974 to 1992, the collection consists of materials related to his congressional career including correspondence, public relations speeches and press releases, administrative files, legislative files, constituent files, campaign materials, and photographs.


Schulze was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Haverford High School in 1948. He attended the University of Houston, Villanova University, and Temple University. He served in the U.S. Army for two years during the Korean War. Before his time in the United States Congress, Schulze was a small businessman for twenty-five years, operating an electrical appliance business in Paoli, Pennsylvania. He was active in civic and community affairs, as well as in Republican politics in Pennsylvania, and served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1969 to 1974.


During his career in the U.S. House of Representatives, Schulze rose to serve as a top-ranking member of the House Committee on Ways and Means and as the senior Republican member on the Subcommittee on Oversight. He also served on the Trade, Social Security, and Select Revenue Subcommittees, the Armed Services Committee and Banking. The bulk of Schulze’s sponsored and cosponsored legislation was related to Taxation as well as Foreign Trade and International Finance. Much of the papers focus on topics such as trade, social security, health, oversight, and tax policy.


The papers were originally deposited with the Chester County Historical Society and transferred to Villanova University. Villanova also holds the recently acquired senatorial papers of Patrick J. Toomey. Additionally, Distinctive Collections maintains the personal papers of Lawrence M. O’Rourke, a newspaper columnist and reporter who covered the White House, Congress and national politics for forty years.


To make an appointment to view the collection please email The finding aid is available to review online here to guide your research request.


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Archivist at Falvey Library.



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Last Modified: January 30, 2024

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