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Peek at the Week: March 21

Word of the Week: Vernal Equinox (also known as: Spring Equinox, March Equinox) 

Yesterday marked the official first day of Spring! Each year spring is marked by the vernal equinox, which falls around March 20 or 21 and is when the Sun crosses the celestial equator going north. 

Equinoxes occur when the axis of rotation of the earth is exactly parallel to the direction of motion of the earth around the sun. Day and night are about the same length on this day, hence the name “equinox.” The name is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). 

Now that we’ve passed the vernal equinox, be prepared for earlier sunrises, later sunsets, softer winds, and sprouting plantsall signs that Spring is here.  

This Week at Falvey  

NOW–Wednesday, June 15

“That Fairyland of Ice”: Polar Exploration in Mind and Memory Exhibit | Falvey First Floor & Virtual | Free & Open to the Public 

Monday, March 21 

Mindfulness Mondays | 1–1:30 p.m. | Virtual | 

Monday, March 21 

The Interfaith Human Library: Where Books Talk and We All Learn About Life in a Multi-Faith World | 4:30–6 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Register Here 

Tuesday, March 22 

Scholarship@VillanovaBillie Murray, PhD, on Combating Hate: A Framework for Direct Action | 4–5:15 p.m. | Room 205 | Find more info here 

Wednesday, March 23

2022 Falvey Forum Workshop Series: Introduction to Digital Archives and Research | 12–1 p.m. | Virtual | Register Here 

Thursday, March 24  

Spring 2022 Digital Seeds Lecture: Matthew Bui, PhD, on “Toward Urban Data Justice: Auditing the Racial Politics of Data” | 4 p.m. | Virtual | Register Here 

Friday, March 25

Villanova Gaming Society Meeting | 2:30–4:30 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public 

This Week in History 

March 23, 1839 – “OK” enters national vernacular  

On March 23, 1839, the initials “O.K.” are first published in The Boston Morning Post, partially as a joke. It was meant as an abbreviation for “oll korrect,” a popular slang misspelling of “all correct.” However, “OK” then steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans. 

In the late 1830s, many younger people would misspell words intentionally, then abbreviate them and use them as slang. Some examples include “KY” for “no use” (“know yuse”) and “OW” for all right (“oll wright”).  

OK rose above the rest and made its way into common vernacular even to this day in part thanks to the Boston Morning Post. From there, its popularity continued when it was picked up by politicians at the time. 

Read more from 

Jenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


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Peek at the Week: January 31

By Jenna Renaud


Word of the Week: Hiemal  

(adj) of or related to winter; wintry  

With the heimel temperatures we have been experiencing, it does not surprise me that February is here. If your friends or family are tired of hearing you complain about how cold the weather is, up your cold-weather vocabulary and change it up on them. Here you can find a whole list of synonyms for “extremely cold.” 

This Week at Falvey  

NOW–Wednesday, Jan. 15 

“That Fairyland of Ice”: Polar Exploration in Mind and Memory Exhibit / Falvey First Floor & Online / Free & Open to the Public 

Monday, Jan. 31

Mindfulness Mondays / 1–1:30 p.m. / Virtual /  

Friday, Feb. 4

Villanova Gaming Society Meeting / 2:30–4:30 p.m. / Speakers’ Corner / Free & Open to the Public  

This Week in History 

Feb. 1, 1884– Oxford Dictionary debuts 

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is considered the most comprehensive and accurate dictionary of the English language, including not only present-day, common meanings, but also the histories of words included.  

In 1857 members of London’s Philological Society set out to produce an English dictionary covering all words starting during the Anglo-Saxon period (1150 A.D.). Although planned to be 6,400 pages in four volumes, the Dictionary was published under the imposing name A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles – contained over 400,000 words and phrases in ten volumes. 

In 1984, Oxford University Press began the five-year journey to electronically publish the OED. The project required the power of 170 people – 120 people to type up the pages from the print edition and another 50 people to proofread. The online dictionary has been active since 2000.  

To learn more about the development and history of the OED, read the full article here. Editors. (2009, November 24). Oxford dictionary debuts. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from 

jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


New Exhibit: “That Fairyland of Ice”: Polar Exploration in Mind and Memory

Falvey Memorial Library is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit, both in the Library’s first floor display cases and online.

“That Fairyland of Ice”: Polar Exploration in Mind and Memory highlights the generous donation of a collection of books and items about the Arctic and Antarctic recently given to the Library’s Distinctive Collections by Dr. James Wheeler. “In organizing this exhibit, we really wanted to share the depth and range of this new collection,” says Laura Bang, Distinctive Collections Librarian and co-curator of the exhibit. “It was also important that we make connections with our other collections materials as well as current issues affecting the polar regions today such as global warming and climate change. These connections really enhance the relevancy of this collection.”

“The title reflects these themes of ‘imagining’ and ‘remembering’ that are present throughout the exhibit,” says Rebecca Oviedo, Distinctive Collections Archivist and the other co-curator. “Many of the items on display are published narrative memoirs of expedition journeys written for general audiences.” From the exhibit introduction:

While these explorative voyages were scientific in nature, the books satisfied public fascination with the polar regions by visualizing previously unknown territories through word and image. But even as explorers filled in and corrected maps and myths, we continue to imagine and construct—from works of pure fiction to conjectures of lost expeditions. And as we read about “that fairyland of ice” we watch it slowly disappear as dire warnings about climate change threaten what we have come to know of the Arctic and Antarctic—once again to mind and memory.

The online exhibit contains additional materials beyond what is on display in the Library. “We are physically limited by what will actually fit in the cases,” says Oviedo, “and we can only show one page of a book at a time, for example, whereas online we can show several pages or even an entire book if we want.” Links to items that have been fully digitized in Villanova’s Digital Library are included when applicable. The online exhibit includes additional section headings as well as a Q & A with Dr. James Wheeler about collecting and acquiring the eclectic collection that now bears his name.

The exhibit was curated by Oviedo and Bang. Graphics created by Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication and Marketing. Photos courtesy of Kallie Stahl, Communication and Marketing Specialist.


From the Archives: New Exhibit, Old Tradition

By Beaudry Rae Allen

Junior Week Committee, 1934

Distinctive Collections is excited to announce our new Spring exhibit, Blazers & Class Rings: Junior Week at Villanova.

Corsage pinning, 1951

Corsage pinning, 1951

Take a peek into Villanova traditions from the past with this digital exhibit that explores Junior Week, one of the most popular week-long events on campus. The honored tradition of Juniors receiving their senior blazers and class ring, celebrating all things Junior, and, of course, a special visit from Mother. All the items in the exhibit are from the University Archives.

Junior Week Mascot, 1948

Junior Week Mascot, 1948


New Online Exhibit – “Rediscovering T. A. Daly: Immigrant Voices in Poetry”

Our latest online exhibit, “Rediscovering T. A. Daly: Immigrant Voices in Poetry,” is now available, just as April’s National Poetry Month draws to a close. The exhibit explores the life and works of Thomas Augustine Daly (1871-1948), a native and lifelong Philadelphian; an Irish-American and a Catholic; a journalist, poet, and prolific author; and an early Villanova University alumnus.

This exhibit brings together newly digitized materials from Falvey Memorial Library’s collections, including Daly’s notebooks from his Villanova days (1880-1887), a scrapbook documenting his early career, and the majority of his published books.

These items are also available in the Digital Library, while the exhibit provides context around the poetry—written mainly in Italian-American and Irish-American dialect—for which he was best known. His collective works give us glimpses into his own life deeply rooted in Philadelphia’s Irish and Catholic communities, with his poetry strongly themed around a broader American identity through the everyday characters he created.

Visit the online exhibit here:

Thomas A. Daly (with wife and children)

Photograph, Thomas A. Daly (with wife and children), c. 1910. Villanova Photograph Collection. Villanova University Archives, Villanova University. Thomas Daly and Ann “Nannie” Barrett had eight children: Leonard (b. 1897), John (b. 1899), Tom Jr. (b. 1901), Anne (Nancy) Elizabeth (b. 1903), Stephen (b. 1904), Brenda (1907-1914), Frederic (b. 1908), and Frances Joan (b. 1914).


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.





TBT: Exploring Ireland

To continue our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, this throwback Thursday we’re featuring a picture of Dublin from 1821. You can almost imagine the leprechauns hiding in the hills of Phoenix Park in Dublin. This photograph is housed in the Joseph McGarrity collection in Falvey’s digital library

This photo is also featured in Rambles, Sketches, Tours: Travellers & Tourism in Ireland. This exhibit highlights Irish travel narratives and related materials, primarily from the Joseph McGarrity Collection, in Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections.


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


TBT: Household Essentials

digital archive photo of household items for the living room

By Jenna Newman

I’m kicking off the new year in a new apartment, which means when I’m not working, most of my time involves unpacking boxes and trying to make this apartment feel like home. One of the top ways to make a space feel like your own is through the decor. Whereas now we turn to Pinterest for all our interior decorating needs and inspiration, back in 1913 people turned to articles written by authors, including Richard Digby-Junger.

The image above is from The Fra: a Journal of Affirmation, v. 10, no. 4, January, 1913, p. Lviii and is included in Falvey’s digital exhibit You Can Learn A Lot From Advertising: Household. The items in the picture are considered essential for anyone’s living room table. It includes a combination match-holder and ashtray (top left), single flower vase (top right), copper paper knife (middle left), molded leather mat (bottom left), and the book of epigrams (bottom right). 

These might not be the exact things I plan on decorating my living room with, but it’s always fun to throw back and see how people used to decorate!



Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Adding decor to my Pinterest board.







TBT: Modes of Transportation

Pullman car on a passenger train, ca. 1910s

Pullman car on a passenger train, ca. 1910s.

This year traveling to see family for the Holidays may not look the same with plane rides and road trips, but travel has evolved over the years and continues to evolve to this day.

Travel is becoming more virtual, to which you may think “How? Virtual can’t be traveling!” But through interacting with family via Zoom, reading a travel novel, or taking part in a virtual cross-cultural experience (Airbnb does them a lot) people are finding new ways to explore their world.

Throwing it back to the 1830s, the newest way to travel was by train. Trains made it so that people could get from one place to another in a few hours or days rather than weeks. This made it so that families could see each other, even if just for a weekend, and vacations were not solely month-long affairs. To read more about the history of travel, visit Falvey’s digital exhibit “Are We There Yet?”

Through advancements in technology, traveling is continuing to evolve, this time in a more digital way. Where will you be traveling (either safely in person or virtually) this holiday season?

Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Not ready to virtually travel to work today.


#TBT: Automobiles Then and Now

advertisement from The Willy-Overland Company2020 Ford commercial shot

This week we’re looking at automobiles advertisements “then and now.” The photo on the left side displays an advertisement for Willys-Overland Company, a car company operating from 1908 through 1963, headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. This advertisement uses color and imagery to draw in the audience and then uses their companies production statistics to try to close a deal. Although The Willys-Overland Company hasn’t been making cars for a long time, one of their main competitors, Ford, is still active in 2020. 

In contrast to the text-heavy ad from 1913, the image on the right shows a 2020 Ford advertisement. Ford has established such a brand presence by 2020, that their tagline “Built Ford Proud” and an image of their newest cars outside in nature, is enough to tell the viewer of the quality that the company provides. To learn more about 20th century advertisements, check out Falvey’s digital exhibit “You can learn a lot from ADVERTISING”.

Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


From the University Archives: Celebrate History of Villanova Theatre

By Beaudry Rae Allen

Dramatic Hall, circa 1890s

Dramatic Hall, circa 1890s


“…but be not afraid of greatness: Some are born great, others achieve greatness. And others have greatness thrust upon them.”—Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 2 Scene 5


Distinctive Collections invites you with a backstage pass to celebrate 150 years of Villanova Theatre with the new digital exhibit “Be Not Afraid of Greatness: Celebrating the History of Villanova Theatre.”

Inspired by the prevalence of Shakespeare in the production history of the Theatre Department, the lines are meant to evoke the profound yet humble legacy of Villanova Theatre, from its earliest days to capturing the essence of what the department is all about: enriching the campus culture and striving for greatness one performance at a time.

Very few may know, but the first appearances of theatre on campus started in 1870, and with this exhibit the University Archives seeks to evoke a sense of celebration of Villanova’s rich history and achievements spanning 150 years.

Take a step inside and explore the many different eras of theatre groups on campus and moments that have helped shape what the graduate program is today.  The exhibit includes many programs and posters from early performances as well as photographs of students in rehearsals from the University Archives. In addition, the exhibit includes special photographs taken by Robert LeBlanc, First Year Experience Librarian, of theater students from fall 2019 and images of costumes on loan from the Villanova Theatre Department.

Rehearsals for Piper-Heidsieck '98, 1950

Rehearsals for Piper-Heidsieck ’98, 1950

Curated by Beaudry Rae Allen and Emma Poley ’21, Villanova Theatre Graduate Student, the digital exhibit is just a snapshot of the physical exhibit that opened March 12, 2020.


Poster of Turf and Tinsel Club production, circa 1940s

Poster of Turf and Tinsel Club production, circa 1940s


When the University reopens, the main physical exhibit will remain on display.


Beaudry Rae Allen is Preservation and Digital Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.





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Last Modified: May 20, 2020