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Thanksgiving Hop

Thanksgiving Hop

In continuation of exploring traditions of the past, the University Archives highlights Villanova’s penchant for a good party with the Thanksgiving Hop.

1927 Yearbook description of Thanksgiving Hop

1927 Belle Air Yearbook

Thanksgiving break has always gotten students excited for a study break and return home to see family and friends. In the 1920s, before students made their trek home for Thanksgiving, the Senior class would host a Thanksgiving Hop, later known as the Thanksgiving Dance, for all the students. The night would be filled with dancing, live music, and good food to send off students. The Hop appeared as a co-ed dance and lasted with different incarnations into the 1950s.


Distinctive Collections’ Eerie Exhibit: Halloween Selfie Stations

Photo of a selfie station featuring an image from a Villanova Theatre production (1960).

Image courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.

Happy Halloween, Wildcats! This week, stop by Falvey Memorial Library’s Speakers’ Corner to check out an eerie exhibit! Visit the selfie station backdrops to snap a spooky photo. The selfie station features large backdrop images from the Villanova University Digital Library. Patrons can take a selfie with a scary shot from a Villanova Theatre Production in 1960 as well as a fun Halloween image from the Joseph McGarrity Collection. Special thanks to the Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement team for making these images available.

Along with your selfie, please take a Halloween treat to enjoy on your way out of the Library! As a friendly reminder, eating is only permitted in Holy Grounds.


Kelly McMahon ’22 CLAS is a student employee in the Communication and Marketing department at Falvey Memorial Library.




Welcome to Falvey: Emily Poteat Joins Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement

“I’m very happy to be working with Distinctive Collections and Irish Studies. With this graduate assistantship, I feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds.”

Emily Poteat recently joined the Falvey Memorial Library staff as graduate assistant for Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement and Villanova’s Irish Studies Program. Working primarily with the Irish American Collection in Distinctive Collections, Poteat has discovered many voices of Irish-Americans living in the early 20th century and has begun transcribing their stories. She is currently examining a travel diary by Joseph McGarrity.

“He [McGarrity] brings so much nuance to his diary. I’ve read works by him for an audience and this diary is clearly just for him because he’s not taking care with his handwriting, its very scrawly. In some instances, he may have been writing while traveling the Irish countryside because there’d be a mark across the entire page where the pen just dragged. Delving into the history of Ireland, its really interesting to hear that perspective from an Irish-American who was so involved in Irish Republican activities.”

Another project Poteat has been working on is Mary Linehan’s Irish-American Poetry Commonplace Book. “We couldn’t tell which poems were written by Mary and which poems were commonplace. The only two we were able to identify as not penned by Mary was a poem about Mary Queen of Scots and a newspaper clipping that Mary had cut out and pasted onto a page of her book. It has been very interesting hearing the voices of different people and getting a small glimpse into their lives.”

Graduating from Elon University with a BA in history and minors in political science and German studies, Poteat has conducted a variety of archival research throughout her undergraduate career. Working as a intern with The MacArthur Memorial, she researched the Korean War and worked alongside their archival and curatorial department doing exhibition research where she had the opportunity to transcribe General Douglas MacArthur’s communique’. “The end result of that project was a research paper focusing on journalism during the Interwar period and how MacArthur’s communique’ was discussed throughout WWI and WWII.”

Her senior thesis focused on British identity at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Indian Rebellion of 1857: She examined cartoons of both events published in Punch Magazine, analyzing aspects of British identity that were put on display for the public. For another project, she traced the history of the Red Army Faction (the Baader–Meinhof Group) and documented its transition from student-led operation to German militant organization.

A graduate student in the Department of History at Villanova University, Poteat plans to continue her study in modern German. Fluent in the language, she will focus her research on Nazi propaganda. “I want to focus on Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community) and examine the ways propaganda emerged and how it was distributed and communicated to the German public. I’m hoping to continue exploring geo-politics between Russia and the United States with the atomic bomb during the Cold War.”

In her free time, Poteat enjoys watercolor painting, copperplate calligraphy, and modern script calligraphy. She is looking forward to transcribing meeting minutes of the Irish Republican committees and societies in the United States. “I have a passion for special collections and archives. [This job] is a joy…This is always what I dreamed of doing.”

Follow Poteat’s work on the Falvey Library blog:

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.




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From the Archives: AIDS Awareness Week

AIDS Ribbon Illustration, 1995

In continuation of presenting traditions of the past, the University Archives draws attention to Villanova’s AIDS Awareness Week held in the early 1990s. June as Pride Month is a celebration of the progress of LGBTQIA+ community and the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies a time of reflection of forty years ago when the world started to live through another epidemic that suffered from rampant misinformation and government inaction. Just like with COVID-19, health inequities and social injustices, stigma, fear and bigotry around HIV/AIDS fueled the spread and destruction of so many lives. AIDS remains decades on an unspoken epidemic, but is so clearly entrenched in our history and its affects reverberate through the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond.

Through articles from the Villanovan, the University Archives highlights how Villanova community responded to the AIDS crisis. Villanova established an AIDS task force in the 1980s as the virus was gaining media traction. Into the late eighties, lectures and panel discussions would be sponsored by student organizations or departments on campus about the virus and transmission. Though, through perceived lack of interest and advocacy, the task force faded away by the end of the eighties. The necessity to address the crisis really emerged in the early 1990s and the task force was reorganized in 1992 (Compitiello, 1992). By the early 1990s, AIDS cases had peaked and college campus across the nation were faced with the reality of positive cases on campus (CDC, 2001).

In 1991, the University started AIDS Awareness day, which expanded into AIDS Awareness Week in 1993. Awareness Week included invited speakers, panel discussions, student performances, masses, and vigils. The main goals were,

Raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS; to offer HIV/AIDS educational programs during the week; to create an opportunity for spiritual reflection on the impact of HIV/AIDS upon the University community at the beginning of the Lenten season; to provide members of the University community with opportunities for reconciliation and for consideration of their own personal outreach in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to raise money for local HIV/AIDS care advocates and provider (Lee, 1994).

Panel discussions and lectures would cover questions related to AIDS in relation to discrimination, health care, and how perception is affected by the Church and what is the Church’s response to HIV/AIDS.

One of the most longstanding traditions has been selected panels of the Names Projects AIDS Memorial Quilt on display at the Connelly Center (which continued in to the 2000s).

In 1994, Villanova started to contribute to the quilting project. Here are images from the “Have a Heart” Quilting Bee campaign in 1995. Students could help with quilting and banner making at St.Mary’s Library.

For more information on the AIDS Awareness events on campus, visit the Villanovan in the Digital Library:




Welcome Back, Brood X Cicadas—Looking Back to Past Emergences

Image of a Brood X cicada in Washington DC in May 2004. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA.

A Brood X cicada in Washington DC in May 2004. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA.

The television show Friends and Bennifer (the moniker used to refer to Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s relationship) aren’t the only things returning after 17 years.

The Brood X-cicadas, also known as the Great Eastern Brood, are reemerging on the east coast after spending almost two decades underground. Look for these crimson-eyed insects in a geographical range stretching from Tennessee to New York. Once above ground, “the male cicadas will emit a mating song by flexing a drumlike organ called a tymbal.” While the chorus of singing cicadas (imagine a very loud buzz, buzz, buzzzzz!) can be somewhat distracting, the concert won’t last long as the insects die four to six weeks after emerging.

Although the bugs are 1-2 inches in length, they are harmless to humans and animals. Brood X is also typically harmless to gardens, too.

There’s very little evidence that cicadas do any damage at all. Bugs will quickly move to the trees where they mate and lay eggs,” said Paula Shrewsbury, Associate Professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Entomology. “Cicadas can benefit gardens. When the insects emerge from the soil, they create holes that increase aeration and water penetration. Over the cicada life cycle, exoskeletons and dying adults will fall to the ground, breaking down into organic matter and nutrients that feed the soil.” Refrain from using insecticides and leave Brood X exoskeletons and bodies where they are. For additional information on the cicadas, visit the library website.

The last time Brood X emerged, the world looked a bit different from today. We take a look at U.S. highlights from the year 2004, then milestones from Villanova history each time the cicadas returned, all of the way back to 1885!

U.S. Events in 2004:

  • The 2004 Summer Olympics took place in Athens, Greece.
  • The Statue of Liberty reopened to the public.
  • Facebook launched as a social networking site only open to students from Harvard in February by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.
  • Ken Jennings won over 2.5 million dollars on Jeopardy.
  • Google introduced the free email service Gmail.
  • The Nintendo DS, the best selling handheld game console of all time, was released in North America.
  • Shrek 2 was the most popular film.
  • NASA’s MER-A (Spirit) and MER-B (Opportunity) spacecrafts landed on the surface of Mars.
  • “Social media” was added to new English words and terms.
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was the most popular fiction book.

    Image of "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown.

    “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown.

  • American Idol (Fox) was the top TV show.
  • The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, the Tampa Bay Lightning clinched the Stanley Cup, and the Detroit Pistons won the NBA Championship.
  • Popular Musicians included Blink-182, Green Day, Usher, Snow Patrol, Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, Ciara, 3 Doors Down, R.E.M., Avril Lavigne, and Beyonce.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won an Oscar for Best Picture. Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) won an Oscar for Best Director.
  • Top-grossing Broadway shows included Wicked, The Lion King, The Producers, Mamma Mia!, Hairspray, 42nd Street, Movin’ Out, Beauty and the Beast, The Boy from Oz, and Phantom of the Opera.
  • Fashion trends included hoop earrings, suede boots, leather wristbands, skinny scarves with polka dots, two-tone sunglasses, and fur ski boots.
  • Arrested Development (Fox) won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Sopranos (HBO) won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
  • At the 46th annual Grammy Awards, the American rock band Evanescence won a Grammy for Best New Artist. Record of the year “Clocks,” Coldplay; Album of the year: “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” OutKast; Song of the year: “Beautiful,” Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera); “Dance With My Father,” Richard Marx and Luther Vandross (Luther Vandross). *

Image of Brood-X cicadas on Villanova's campus.

Here’s a cicada-eyed view of Villanova history, capturing the many changes of the University every 17-year cycle back to the 19th century.

A view of the St. Thomas of Villanova Church from a 1929 Belle Air yearbook

A view of the St. Thomas of Villanova Church from a 1929 Belle Air yearbook.

  • 1885—The cicadas’ glimpse the construction of the Villanova Church, ultimately completed in 1887.
  • 1902—The insects marvel at the newly completed Main College Hall, now called Tolentine Hall.
  • 1919—Normal life, full-time students, and Brood X return to Villanova after World War I.
  • 1936—The cicadas’ cheer on the new Villanova Track and Field coach James “Jumbo” Elliot and groove to Jan Garber, violinist and jazz bandleader, when he plays on campus (one of many big-name bands of the era to do so).
  • 1953—Villanova welcomes the permanent arrival of women on a full-time basis on main campus with the opening of the College of Nursing as an autonomous unit.
  • 1970—Villanova celebrates Earth Day for the first time, helping to ensure a more sustainable world for cicadas, and other creatures. Mohammed Ali, heavyweight boxing champion, also visits campus.
  • 1987—Faculty and students debate academic freedom on campus after a papal schema by Pope John Paul II is issued.
  • 2004—The University welcomes the inaugural class of doctoral students beginning the new PhD in Nursing program at Villanova.**

* 2004 fun facts and trivia retrieved from Hobby Lark.

** Historical information retrieved from the Villanova University Archives, courtesy of Beaudry Rae Allen, Preservation and Digital Archivist. For more Villanova history, visit Distinctive Collections. Welcome back, Brood X! There’s been a lot of transformation to Villanova University—including two more NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championships!

Shawn ProctorArticle by Kallie Stahl ’17 MA, Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library and Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.



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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


From The Archives: Spring Zine

The University Archives Spring Zine is Here!

Zine cover

Spring Zine Volume 2, Issue 2 Cover

Oh what a school year it has been!  Under the weight of all the massive changes, chaos, and continued uncertainty, this issue is a brief summary of the Documenting COVID-19 project and other collecting initiatives around the pandemic. It is also a peek into all the new Spring digital exhibits  going live this month from Distinctive Collections.

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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.





In Praise of Scrapple

In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I would share this poem by Philadelphia poet and Villanova alumnus Thomas Augustine Daly (1871-1948). The poem appears in McAroni Ballads and Other Verses (1919), newly digitized in our Digital Library along with unique items from Distinctive Collections. A full digital exhibit exploring T. A. Daly will launch later this week. In the meantime, here follows a taste of that “frosty morning dish that Philadelphians sing, and outlanders jest about” (Daly, Herself and the Houseful, p. 107):

In Praise of Scrapple

Out upon your gibes ironic!
You who’ve never known the tonic
Toothsomeness of savory scrapple
Dare to judge it? Well, I never!
When no morsel of it ever
Greased your graceless Adam’s apple.

When the northwest wind is blowing,
Sharp enough for frost or snowing,
And the days of muggy weather
Have departed altogether,
All our husbandmen are getting
Butcher knives laid out for whetting,
And some morning with the dawn
Comes the porcine slaughter on.
Let’s not morbidly be dealing
With the scuffling and the squealing,
But, the gruesome parts deleting,
Get us to the joys of eating.
Well, then, when hog-killing’s through
This is what the housewives do:

Clean a pig’s head, nicely, neatly,
Boil till meat leaves bones completely.
When it’s cold remove all greases,
Chop meat into little pieces;
Put the liquor and the meat
Back again upon the heat
Slowly stirring cornmeal in
Till it is no longer thin.
Pepper, salt, and sage they bring
For its proper seasoning.
When the mess is thick and hot
It is lifted from the pot,
Poured then into pans to mold
And so left until it’s cold.
So ends Chapter I.
The sequel
Is a breakfast without equal!

Come! it is a nippy morning,
Frost lace, the panes adorning,
Takes the sun from many angles
And the windows glow with spangles.
From the kitchen range are rising
Odors richly appetizing;

Paradise is in the skillet,
For the scrapple slices fill it,
And each flour-encrusted piece
Smiling in its fragrant grease
Takes a coat of golden tan
From the ardor of the pan.
Crisp and brown the outer crust, oh!
Food to rouse the gourmand’s gusto
From your platter gives you greeting;
Truly this is royal eating!

Out upon your gibes ironic!
You who’ve never known the tonic
Toothsomeness of savory scrapple
Dare to judge it? Well, I never!
When no morsel of it ever
Greased your graceless Adam’s apple.

– T. A. Daly.


Image from Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper via The Encyclopedia of Philadelphia

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From The Archives: Owl Hop

When you step onto campus, you’ll discover Villanova’s many unique traditions. Some you may find are as old as the University itself and others are much more recent—but they all play an important role in the life of Villanova students. The University Archives is taking a look back at long forgotten traditions that have shaped the Villanova community. One of which is the Owl Hop, a popular Villanova dance between the 1920-50s.

In 1919, Owl Hop started as a dance hosted by the Phi Kappa Pi fraternity, which was the Engineering fraternity at the time. In the 1920s, it became a more annual event where the dance was held on the night of a Temple vs Villanova football game held in the late Fall. Although Temple “Owls” and the name of the dance were synonymous, the “Owl” originated from the engineering department having an “Owl” as a mascot and its believed the dance started before Villanova and Temple met on the football field.


As the years progressed the football connection faded away and the dance was held Spring semester as a reprieve from midterms. Throughout the 1930s Phi Kappa Pi tried to distance themselves from the owl connotations to Temple with sometimes calling the dance the Engineer Hop. Though the name change did not quite stick for long and quickly returned as the Owl Hop.

The dance was such a popular social event with attendance records reaching 700 couples. While the dance paused during WWII, the Owl Hop resumed until 1958, when the dance discontinued for inter-fraternity dances instead.

For more information about the Owl Hop and other Villanova traditions, you can visit the Distinctive Collections Digital Library and/or contact the University Archives (




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Last Modified: April 26, 2021