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From the Archives: Special Olympics Celebration!

Skill, Courage, Sharing, Joy – Tenants of the Spirit of Special Olympics

In celebration of Villanova’s Special Olympics Fall Festival, held November 1-3, 2019, University Archives has a small exhibit about Special Olympics at Villanova University on display. Special Olympics events on campus has a long history starting in 1979 to now being known as the largest annual student-run Special Olympics event today.

Case display

The exhibit contains facsimiles of photographs and programs from the early days of the event. All materials are from collections located in the University Archives. The case was curated by Beaudry Allen, Preservation and Digital Archivist.

photographs being prepped for the exhibit.            A print being cut with paper cutter.

Images of putting the exhibit together.

You can check out the case on the 3rd floor of Falvey Library for the rest of the semester.

Photograph of exhibit case

For more information about the Special Olympics and how to get involved, check out the Special Olympic website!


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New Exhibit — “Scraps for Keeps”: Scrapbooks and Photo Albums from Distinctive Collections

Exhibit sign featuring a decorative scrapbook cover with the title.

Our latest exhibit, “Scraps for Keeps”: Scrapbooks and Photo Albums from Distinctive Collections, is now on display on the 1st floor of Falvey Library. Scrapbooks have been a popular way of saving and organizing information and memories since the 19th century. This exhibit presents a selection of some of the many types of scrapbooks and photo albums from Falvey’s Distinctive Collections. There are seven sections organized around different themes: Making of a Scrapbook, Mark Twain’s Patented Scrap Book System, Cultural Memory, Family & Friends, Travel & Tourism, On the Job, and School Days.

Photo of an upright exhibit case with two shelves filled with materials.

This exhibit was curated by me, Laura Bang (Distinctive Collections Librarian). Scrapbooks and photo albums are some of my favorite types of materials in our collections because they tell the personal stories of ordinary people. I love to page through what people took the time to save in albums and see what traces of their lives remain in what they left behind.

To hear more about my love for scrapbooks, join me for a curator’s chat on Wednesday, October 2 at 11:00am in Speakers’ Corner.

The exhibit will be on view through February 2020, and a digital version is forthcoming as well.


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Happily Forever After: The Timeless Relevance of Fairy Tales

Distinctive Collections’ new exhibit on the “moral of the story”

From a treacherous trip to grandma’s house, rags to riches, escaping a witch’s oven, a trickster cat that brings good fortune—these are the tales and imagery that shape our happily ever afters and childhood. These tales seem to not fade away but inspire many generations of retellings and adaptions. While we have Charles Perrault, Madam d’Aulnoy, Hans Christian Andersen, and Grimm Brothers to thank for the dissemination of these beloved works, these tales have enduring presence in our society because the morals and lessons continue to have relevance in our culture today. Beyond the imagination of benevolent godmothers and a goose that lays golden eggs, the core conflicts, struggles, and messages of the stories remain reflective of our world. It is why fairy tale imagery is so popular beyond entertainment, but conspicuous in our everyday lives.  

Distinctive Collections invites you to explore the world of fairy tales and examine the importance of morals in the tales with the new exhibit, Happily Forever After: The Timeless Relevance of Fairy Tales. Curated by Rebecca Oviedo, Distinctive Collections Coordinator, and Beaudry Allen, Preservation and Digital Archivist, the exhibit showcases a selection of fairy tales and fairy tale inspired works from Falvey Memorial Library and Special Collections. The exhibit is located on the first floor of Falvey Memorial Library and open to the public throughout the summer. 


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A “Friendly” Evening in Photos

On Tuesday, March 26, we celebrated the 248-year history of the Philadelphia Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland with music, talks, and an exhibit. Founded in Philadelphia in 1771, the Society is the second-oldest, continuously meeting Irish organization in the United States. The Society has made a number of contributions to Villanova University and recently partnered with the Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement department to digitize their historical materials, which can be viewed in the Digital Library.

The evening began with a social hour at 5pm, featuring refreshments and live Irish music from the band Irish Mist, featuring featuring Tom McLaughlin on banjo and spoons; Mary Tracy on fiddle, and Paul Harris on bass and guitar.

Photo of two men, one on banjo and one on guitar, and one woman on fiddle.

Live Irish music was provided by the band Irish Mist, featuring (from left to right) Tom McLaughlin, Paul Harris, and Mary Tracy.

A man on a banjo with a crowd of people in the background.

Tom McLaughlin of Irish Mist, looking toward the camera at left, and some of the attendees.

Talks began shortly after 6pm. As the exhibit curator and event organizer, I opened with a brief overview of some of the Irish connections in Falvey’s Distinctive Collections.

A woman speaking at a podium in front of a seated crowd.

Laura Bang giving an overview of Irish collections.

Dr. Joseph Lennon, Associate Dean of International and Interdisciplinary Initiatives and Emily C. Riley Director of Irish Studies, then spoke about the value to scholars of digitizing collections and making them freely available online.

A man speaking at a podium in front of a seated crowd.

Dr. Joseph Lennon speaking about the value of digitized collections.

Finally, our main speaker was Joseph P. Heenan, Past President of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and current Chair of the Scholarship Committee and Chair of the Society’s Historical Records. Heenan gave an overview of the Society’s history and accomplishments.

A man speaking at a podium.

Joseph P. Heenan describing the Society’s history.

Left to right: Michael Foight, Laura Bang, Joseph P. Heenan, Joseph Lennon.

After the talks, people had the opportunity to mingle some more and examine the materials in the exhibit cases. Everyone enjoyed a fun evening in honor of the Friendly Sons!

A group of people talking.

A group of attendees.

A woman stands beside a sign advertising the exhibit and event.

Among the attendees, we were excited to meet Mary Clare Hogan, the daughter of Father Falvey’s (after whom Falvey Memorial Library is named) first cousin. A Falvey celebrity!

A man looking at an exhibit case.

One of the exhibit cases and the exhibit poster. (Photo by Laura Bang.)

The exhibit will be on display through the end of May. If you can’t make it to the library to see the exhibit, Society materials that have been digitized so far are viewable online in the Digital Library with more to come.

All photos courtesy of Regina Duffy, unless otherwise noted.


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Exhibit: “Wildcats Past & Present: Moments from the History of Sports at Villanova.”

Special Collections and University Archives, at Falvey Memorial Library, join in the celebration of Villanova University’s 175 anniversary, (1842-2017), with a collaboration of materials to present the exhibit, “Wildcats Past & Present: Moments from the History of Sports at Villanova,” featuring assorted and unique items representative of the varied sports played at Villanova College, and later Villanova University. The exhibit, located on the 1st floor of the Library, launched at the beginning of September, 2017, and will run through to the end of the fall semester.

The items that form the “Wildcats Past & Present” exhibit, such as sport programs, basketballs, baseball, photographs, newspaper clippings as well as championship memorabilia are from University Archives’ collection along with books and scrapbooks from Special Collections.

Curated by Susan Ottignon (Collections Librarian) with assistance from Laura Bang and Michael Foight. Graphics by Joanne Quinn.  Based on a legacy exhibit curated by Teri Ann Pirone.

The digital exhibit is now live and can be viewed here.


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Online exhibit: “To Strike for Freedom! 1916 Easter Rising”

Posted for: Leigh Clark, 2016 Digital Library Intern.

As Easter approaches, so too does the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s Easter Rising, which began on April 24th, 1916. Falvey’s Special Collections commemorates the 1916 Easter Rising with a physical exhibit located on the library’s 1st floor, as well as an online exhibit: To Strike for Freedom! 1916 Easter Rising. The exhibits include items from the Joseph McGarrity Collection. Joseph McGarrity was an Irish-American from Philadelphia, who immigrated to the United States in 1892 when he was 18. McGarrity was an active supporter of Irish independence and a leading member of the Clan-na-Gael, an Irish republican organization. McGarrity’s belief in Irish nationalism is strongly reflected in the items of the collection, which he donated to Villanova University. Falvey’s 1916 Easter Rising exhibit not only looks at the causes, details, and consequences of the Rising, but also reveals the important role Irish-American organizations played in supporting the Rising and Ireland’s fight for independence.

As I organized the online exhibit, I gained a deeper understanding of the important impact the Rising had on Ireland’s fight for independence. Also, I was surprised to discover the active part Irish women played in the Rising. Women’s important roles as nurses, soldiers, and couriers are explored in the online exhibits section: “Undying glory of Womanhood”. Of particular interest is In Times of Peril: Leaves from the Diary of Nurse Linda Kearns from Easter week, 1916, to Mountjoy, 1921 by Linda Kearns, which has been recently digitized and can be found in Villanova’s Digital Library along with many other resources detailing the events surrounding the 1916 Easter Rising.

I would like to thank Anna Fitzpatrick for providing research and text for the online exhibit. I would also like thank Craig Bailey, Ph.D., Laura Bang, and Michael Foight for additional curation and editing, as well as Joanne Quinn for designing the graphics.


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New Exhibit: Paper for the People

DNOL-TITLE

Today marks the opening of a new exhibit, both in the library’s display cases on the first floor and online.

Exhibit Mounting in Progress

Exhibit Mounting in Progress

Paper for the People: Dime Novels and Early Mass Market Publishing describes the popular printed entertainment that was enjoyed by millions from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century.  In a time before movies and television, dime novels and story papers were the best way to enjoy action-packed entertainment, and these adventures remain engaging and amusing (though often politically incorrect) today.

The physical exhibit includes many rare materials from Special Collections, including a copy of the very first Beadle’s Dime Novel, Malaeska.  The online exhibit covers history and evolution, popular characters and genres, readers and writers, and controversy about the form while also providing a bibliography of secondary literature and links to online digital versions of many vintage texts.

For even more on dime novels, take a look at the Edward T. LeBlanc Memorial Dime Novel Bibliography at dimenovels.org, a project which aims to create an online database of every dime novel title ever published.  While the project is still in its infancy, the database already lists more than 900 distinct series of books divided into several key categories.


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Through Hell to the stars

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita. (I.1-3)
Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray
from the straight road and woke to find myself
alone in a dark wood.

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate (Abandon every hope, who enter here)
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. (III.9)
Abandon all Hope ye who enter here.

On February 12, the Digital Library Team led a journey through Hell in the form of a marathon reading of Dante’s Inferno. The event was supported by the Library’s Scholarly Outreach Team, and co-sponsored by the Italian Club, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Villanova Center for Liberal Education. Reading began at 10am and continued through all 34 cantos to about 4pm, with cantos being read in English and Italian.

Mini exhibit of Dante-related books and movies.
Dante-related materials from a mini-exhibit.

This event was originally dreamed up by Dr. Diane Biunno, an assistant professor in the Italian Department and a Digital Library Intern for Summer 2012 (Diane is currently working on a Masters of Library Science at Drexel University), and Michael Foight, Digital Library & Special Collections Coordinator. As her internship project, Diane curated the online exhibit “Dante’s Illustrated Adventure” (you can read Diane’s post about her exhibit here). The marathon reading was originally scheduled for October 30, 2012, but was canceled due to the inclement weather produced by Hurricane Sandy. There was a lot of excitement for the event, however, so we rescheduled it for the February date.

Diane Biunno, dressed as "Beatrice," started the reading with Canto I.
Diane Biunno, dressed as “Beatrice,” started the reading with Canto I.

Diane provided a brief welcome and began the reading in Italian shortly after 10am. Volunteers were then asked to read each subsequent canto, with a choice of reading in either Italian or English. If a canto was read in Italian, the next reader would read the same canto in English, so that everyone could follow along. The English translation that we used for the day was John Ciardi’s (which is also used for the English translations within this post). There was a good turnout throughout the day and among the readers were students from Italian classes of various levels, faculty from the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, and several others. All participants had a fun time, partaking of thematic snacks along the way, and we emerged on the other side of Hell at the end of Canto XXXIV just after 4pm.

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle. (XXXIV.139) And we walked out once more beneath the Stars.

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New Exhibit: Dante’s Illustrated Adventure

Posted for: Diane Biunno, Ph.D., Digital Library Intern:

Dante’s Illustrated Adventure highlights several illustrated editions of the Divine Comedy owned by the Special Collections Department of Falvey Library. The online exhibit includes hundreds of illustrations, a video recording of Father Peter Donohue, O.S.A reading the opening canto of the Inferno, audio recordings in Italian of famous verses from the Commedia and the Vita Nuova, as well as recordings of Latin hymns from the Purgatorio and the Paradiso.

Dante’s (1265 – 1321) epic journey to the other side has captured the imagination of readers for the past seven hundred years, and has inspired countless artists and painters from the Middle Ages to the present. In 1481 Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici (1463 – 1503) commissioned Sandro Botticelli (1444-45 – 1510), whose famous works include the Primavera and the Birth of Venus, to sketch each of the one hundred cantos. Botticelli’s large illustrations were drawn on parchment made of sheepskin, and today only 92 of the original sketches have been found. Centuries later an English sculptor created over one hundred illustrations of the epic poem. John Flaxman’s (1775 – 1826) line drawings are known for their classic style and remained hidden from the public for decades in an English aristocrat’s private library. In 1861 the French artist Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883) sketched perhaps the most well known illustrations of Dante’s work. Unlike Botticelli and Flaxman, no one commissioned Gustave Doré to illustrate the Inferno. Instead, the project was entirely his own idea, and he spent his own money to fund most of it.

Dante’s Illustrated Adventure explores the Poet’s pilgrimage through the Otherworld as it is told through the drawings and illustrations of Sandro Botticelli, John Flaxman, and Gustave Doré. The exhibit provides visitors with a brief biographical account of the Poet and then guides them through the major themes of the Divine Comedy. On this site visitors can travel alongside Dante through hell, as he meets sinners, gruesome monsters, and Satan himself.


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New Exhibit – Joseph McGarrity: Man of Action; Man of Letters

Posted for: Brian J. McDonald, PhD (2012 Digital Library Intern)

Joseph McGarrity (1874-1940), at the age of 18, left his Irish hometown of Carrickmore, County Tyrone to immigrate to America. He arrived in Philadelphia with no luggage, very little money and a strong sense of Irish nationalism that would soon attract him to become an active member of the Clan-na-Gael, the leading Irish republican organization in the United States. He would, during his lifetime, rise to lead the Clan-na-Gael and become a significant figure in the struggle for Irish independence.

Despite the secretive nature of much of Joseph McGarrity’s political activity, his name surfaces in the historical record at key moments during the tumultuous years of the Irish Revolution and the foundation of the Irish Free State. Students of Irish history encounter McGarrity as a successful liquor and real estate entrepreneur who helped finance the Easter Rising in 1916; and as a colleague, confidant and correspondent of many of the leading Irish revolutionaries of the period, including Michael Collins, Padraig Pearse, Roger Casement, John Devoy and Harry Boland. He is also known as a close personal friend of Eamon de Valera, and as one of the key architects, along with Sean Russell, of what came to be known as the Sabotage or S-plan Campaign, the IRA’s 1939 bombing operation against targets on British soil.

While the political and administrative papers that tell the singular story of Joseph McGarrity’s lifelong commitment to the cause of Irish independence are scattered across many repositories, including the National Library of Ireland and New York Public Library, his personal papers held by Villanova University provide unique insight into Joseph McGarrity the man—the devoted father, friend, Catholic and poet. It is the latter, McGarrity the poet (who also maintained a lifelong interest in Irish history, culture and books), which provides the focus of Joseph McGarrity: Man of Action; Man of Letters, a new Villanova Digital Library online exhibition.

Though not a major poet, McGarrity was unquestionably committed to his verse. Despite being prodigiously busy with his many political and business responsibilities, McGarrity would often stay up late into the night working away at his poetry. In his introduction to Celtic Moods and Memories, McGarrity’s only major published collection, the poet and folklorist Padraic Colum speculates that as:

A man of moods and memories whose days were taken up with business, an Irish country boy living the strenuous life of an American city, a man of simple Catholic piety going vehemently through the world, Joseph McGarrity must have been aware of a conflict in himself.

In many ways this psychological portrait of McGarrity as a seemingly contradictory figure sets the framework for this exhibition; which, it is hoped, will suggest something of the complexity hinted at by Colum. Joseph McGarrity: Man of Action; Man of Letters presents a selection of digitized items representative of McGarrity as a literary man exhibited alongside descriptions of key details of his remarkable life, of his “going vehemently through the world.” All exhibition items are drawn from Special Collections, Villanova University Falvey Library (many of which are accessible online through Villanova University Digital Library).


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Last Modified: July 12, 2012