If you missed coming in the Library a couple days last week, you were in for a treat by Friday’s end! Library staff and Grounds Crew were busy sorting, attaching, and decorating the various Christmas trees throughout the building. Do the lights match? Are the ornaments in the right places?
Several iterations of manger scenes appeared on Friday as well. There is one hanging at the Main Service Desk. Another is sprawled out across the top of the Atlas Case. This one has a starry backdrop and some twinkly lights.
There is a very special Christmas creche in front of the live evergreens in the Post Learning Commons Atrium. From the University Collection, it was created in the 20th century, but fashioned after the 18th century Neapolitan style. The particular figures of Mary and Joseph, the materials used to create them, as well as the coloring of their garments, is unique to this style.
Next time you are walking through the Atrium, take a few minutes to contemplate this exhibit, not only for its spiritual significance, but also for the fine craftsmanship that was employed. You will also find there a pamphlet with more information, put together by Carmen Croce, SJU Scholarly Press.
– Marian Courtney
At 14,000 feet above sea level the light is different. It is brighter, clearer, warmer, more intense yet also more welcoming then the light those of us who live closer to sea level are used to experiencing. The less atmosphere between you and the sun the more direct your connection to the light source, and with thinner air there ends up being less between you and your subject. El Alto is a wonderful place for taking photographs.
But it is not just the lack of atmosphere that shapes these photographs, rather it is the energy supplied by the students, teachers, and parents. From the kids hanging out on a bench between classes, to the instructors interacting with their students, it was abundantly clear that the school was the center of the community.
Community was central to all of the Fe y Alegria schools we visited. Rather then treat education as a way to memorize information or take tests, in the schools we saw Fe y Alegria was carrying out education for the whole student. Whether that student was a five year old learning basic math or a returning adult student learning skills to pursue a better job, the schools were structured in a way to ask, “how can we do what is best for the whole student, how can we best serve the community?” Fe y Alegria schools often take as their mission to serve the poorest parts of society, seeing education as a means to improving life chances, but also recognizing that poverty itself is a serious barrier to education that requires extra steps to overcome. Education as pursuit of social justice.
These photographs capture various moments of education at Fe y Alegria schools. From the formally structured moments like music practice, and instructors working one on one with adult learners, to the informal moments between classes, what I saw, and hope to capture in these photographs was not just the importance of education to these communities but also a way of treating education that isn’t instrumentalist, focused on just getting you to the next step in life, but one that thinks carefully about what it means to help people develop and communities to thrive.
Note: These photographs were taken as part of a University sponsored partnership through the office of Faith and Mission to visit Fe y Alegria schools throughout Bolivia. In the spring of 2019 these schools will be sending a delegation here to Philadelphia and Saint Joseph’s University.
Associate Professor, Communications
Photos pictured are but a sampling of the full display, which can be viewed on the 2nd floor of the Post Learning Commons.
Take a few moments out of your busy day and come share in David’s experience.
In Spring 2017, Saint Joseph’s University offered “Directed Projects” for the first time. It was a “trial of sorts,” according to Professor Susan Fenton, and the plan was to have students complete three independent projects. However, after the art curator of the Cynwyd Trail Café asked Professor Fenton if she would be interested in showcasing her students’ work at the café in May of 2107, the Cynwyd Trail project was added to the list.
The Cynwyd trail is a paved path where people can bike, walk, rollerblade and hike. The trail runs from Bala Cynwyd to Manayunk and was once an active train track. At the end of the path sits the Cynwyd Trail Café, which was formerly the old station house. Fenton was excited about the opportunity to exhibit her students’ work in the café, but thought why not make the theme of the exhibit about the Cynwyd Trail? Professor Fenton had her students go out to the trail the first time without their cameras to explore and just take in the scenery. The second time, they returned with project ideas and their cameras.
The students were able to choose from two types of photographic techniques. Gelatin Silver Printing, introduced in the 1870s, is the standard of all printing processes in which paper is coated with gelatin that contains light sensitive silver salts. This typically involves a photograph captured on film that is then processed and printed onto a light-sensitive emulsion paper in a darkroom. This is the more “traditional” method of fine art photography. Archival Pigment Printing, introduced in the late 20th century, is a standard of printing that involves digital technology. Typically, the image is captured with a sensor (digital camera) and then printed with an inkjet process that involves inks jettisoned onto the surface of a non-light sensitive, porous paper. This is a more recent method of fine art photography.
According to Angelynn Rodriguez, her silver gelatin print, “Westminster,” reflected her particularly “creepy” style of photography. “Westminster” highlights what she thinks to be a gate keeper’s quarters or possibly a chapel called Westminster. Angelynn found this abandoned, brick stone Victorian at the end of nature path branching off the Cynwyd trail. She found the building particularly inspiring because one wouldn’t know the building was there at first sight because “you have to actually follow the same foot path that I took in the photo.” Angelynn used a burning and dodging technique when printing to bring out the details of the trail she walked along.
Another student, Xiao Chen, contributed to the project with his archival pigment piece, “294.” “I spent time walking along the Cynwyd trail, photographing everything which could represent the Cynwyd trail. I learned to be patient, you have to look around carefully to get what you want. It was a good experience and I really enjoyed this project.” “294” was the number of the train he photographed. He explained, “I just wanted people to have their attention on the train” to focus on how the trail used to exist. Although Xiao loved the process, he struggled with achieving the correct color composition when printing. After several adjustments in Photoshop he was able to obtain a final print that mirrored the colors on the screen.
Professor Fenton believes the project, and Directed Projects in general, was a success. Although the class was intended to carry out independent projects, the “Cynwyd Trail” brought the class together, while still maintaining independent aspects.
– Samantha K. O’Connell ‘20
Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant
**These two photographs are just a sampling of what is being displayed. Please allow time from your busy schedule to “walk the trail” through the photographs.**
Filmmaker Ken Burn’s recent documentary series on PBS The Vietnam War: An Intimate History brought the viewer back in time over 50 years to examine one of the most controversial periods in the United States during the 20th Century. The Vietnam War played out on the world stage, but the program made clear local connections to people from communities across America and the hamlets of the former North and South Vietnam. Saint Joseph’s College had its own links to the conflict, too. In a new three-part exhibition, the Archives and Special explores some them through the camera lens of a young graduate, newspaper articles from the campus and the efforts of two alums and students to assist Vietnamese orphans.
Vietnam in Retrospect: Photographs 1969-1970 By Richard Zanoni ‘67
United States Army sergeant Richard Zanoni ’67 used his new hobby of photography to record daily life in Can Tho on the Mekong River Delta of South Vietnam during his tour of duty. Some of his 35 mm film images captured a different side of the war, than what many Americans saw back home on television, with children at play, a barber cutting hair, a woman selling her goods in the marketplace and Buddhist monks. However, others remind you that the war was ever present. One shows a smiling Vietnamese boy carrying his younger brother, who had lost his leg and another, a little girl eating rice from a discarded beer can. What happened to the people in his photographs is something that Sergeant Zanoni has often thought about since the war.
Fifty Years On: The Vietnam War on Campus
Saint Joseph’s was not unlike many other college campuses in the country during the Vietnam War. There was early support from the student body favoring continued participation in the war. Faculty members held “scholarly discussions” on the merits of the conflict. There were peace vigils and protests. Guest speakers also appeared before student audiences.
This part of the exhibition draws heavily on articles from The Hawk student newspaper that can be found in The Hawk Digital Archive 1930-2015 . It is a sampling of materials and not intended to be a comprehensive history of the events that took place on campus during the Vietnam War. Perhaps, the Archives will hear from some of the “Golden Hawks” about their personal experiences.
Humanity in a Time of War: “Project Vietnam” Lends a Helping Hand to the
Stella Maris Orphanage
Lieutenant James L. Tobin ‘64 and Captain Edward Essl ’55 of the United States Air Force met a group of Vietnamese nuns struggling to run the Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) Orphanage near Da Nang, South Vietnam in 1966. Lt. Tobin wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Daniel J. Boyle of the Saint Joseph’s College Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) program requesting assistance from the College to aid the children. By the spring of 1967 “Project Vietnam” had been organized by the students to help solicit funds in order to build a hospital wing for the orphanage. Through car washes, collection canisters and social mixers $1,540.00 was raised and presented to Sister Angela of the orphanage.
The exhibition will be on display until the end of the Spring Semester in the Gerard Manley Hopkins Special Collections area on the 3rd floor of the John and Maryanne Hennings Post Learning Commons. A reception will be held there on Thursday, March 22nd at 3 P.M. Richard Zanoni will be there to speak about his photographs. Several other Vietnam War veterans who are part of the SJU community will also offer remarks on the topic of the war.
Thank you to the Saint Joseph’s University Office of Veterans Services for their assistance with Vietnam in Retrospect.
– Christopher Dixon, Archival Research Librarian
Recently, two very different but equally fascinating, samples of student artwork have been hung on the 2nd floor of the Post Learning Commons.
In the lounge area are samples of work from Adjunct Professor Kathleen Vaccaro’s course Drawing I, Fall 2017. It is titled, “Chagall Transcriptions and Student Artwork Selections”. Professor Vaccaro describes the works by saying, “The colorful pastel drawings are the students’ own interpretations of artworks by Chagall. The charcoal and graphite drawings closer to the windows are a mix of drawings that the students chose themselves.” More information, as well as a complete list of the student artists, can be found alongside the artwork.
The other photographic display are selections from the Alternative Photographic Processes Fall 2017 class instructed by Professor Dustin Ream. The students employed “two different historical photographic processes…Cyanotype and Van Dyke Brown”. These required multiple steps including creating and applying chemistry. A complete description of the steps can be found alongside the exhibit.
Visually stimulating in their own unique ways, we hope you set aside a little bit of time in your busy schedule, to visit.
– Marian Courtney
Walking through the Atrium of the PLC, you may have noticed a Christmas Creche has been set up surrounded by three lovely 6 ft. evergreen trees. This piece is from the University Collection, created in the 20th century and fashioned after the 18th century Neapolitan style. The particular figures of Mary and Joseph, the materials used to create them, as well as the coloring of their garments, is unique to this style.
WHERE: Post Learning Commons Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. Special Collections, 3rd Floor
WHAT: Take a trip back in time to October 26,1967 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed an audience in the Alumni Memorial Field House (now, the Hagan Arena) of Saint Joseph’s College (University). Listen to a few brief remarks about the exhibition “The Clear Voice of Justice” Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967/2017, view the history, talk with friends about it and enjoy some light refreshments. Learn something new.
Photo credit: Glenn A. McCurdy
Notice the two volumes of the visually
appealing St. John’s Bible on display there.
Each volume of this Heritage Edition is
displayed in its own beautiful wooden case, handcrafted by Eugene Sell, ’97. Check out the wall-mounted iPad loaded with additional images and descriptions of Bible pages.
See St. John’s Bible for more information on the background and creation of this beautiful work.
A new exhibit in Drexel Library entitled “In the Beginning: Saint Joseph’s College Catalogues and Awards of the 1850s,” displays copies from the University Archives and Special Collections of
selected early college catalogues (1852-1862) and academic award certificates along with some photographs of silver medals received by students for their academic success. This collection of items helps tell the story of the College’s inaugural years and sheds some light on what college life would have been like for some of the first
Here are a few things to think about while visiting the display:
- How much would it have cost a parent or guardian to send a
student to the college during the 1852-1853 academic year?
- What were some of the classes students had to take in the 1850s as part of their chosen course of study?
- Do you recognize any of the family names from the 1852-1853 catalogue listing of students or from the awards pages?
- Would you have been able to follow the regulations for student conduct?
The exhibit is located on the 2nd floor of Drexel Library near the Bridge to the PLC and will be available for viewing through the end of May. Stop by and take a look!
For information on this display, the University Archives or the Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. Special Collections, please contact:
Christopher Dixon, Archival Research Librarian
610.660.2164 or “firstname.lastname@example.org”
In solidarity with all those across the country owning the Bible and participating, each day starting
Monday, September 21st and ending on Sunday,
September 27th, a different page of the Bible will be
displayed. For each page of the day, Saint John’s School of Theology has written a reflection incorporating the
artwork and spiritual message conveyed.
For more information see Illuminating the Message on the Saint John’s Bible website.