Friday, May 4, 2018

Finals Hours

Finals are upon us!

LIBRARY hours (the office and the rooms with the books!); the Learning Commons space upstairs will be open 24/7!

  • May 7 - 10                            8:00 a.m.  –  9:50 p.m.
  • May 11                                  8:00 a.m.  -  4:50 p.m.
  • May 12 - 13                          CLOSED

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Throwback Thursday: May Court

Today we're exploring another extinct Seton Hill tradition: the May Court and the May Day celebrations, generally. Once upon a time, May Day was the biggest "student event" of the Seton Hill year and was officially devoted to the celebration of the Virgin Mary.

May Day trumpeters

May pole

These two photos are from May Day 1925. We see the "May Court" with the heralds trumpeting their arrival. You can see that a couple of the girls behind the trumpeters are carrying elaborate baskets, while others have bouquets or armloads of blossoms. In the second photo, we get to see a May Pole; while May Day celebrations have died off in the United States over the decades, many of us probably got to participate in one of these as children. 

May Queen and King
King and Queen of May: Grace Boslett, '33, and Barbara Yahner, 32

This shot is dated 1932, and here we get to see a few curious trends emerging. First, the "King and Queen of May" are now wearing renaissance costumes instead of the (mostly) contemporary clothing of seven years earlier. Second, yes, the King is named Barbara. 

The May Court was chosen in a similar fashion to modern-day Homecoming courts-- by vote-- and the May King was a separate voting category from May Queen. So Barbara and any runners-up for May King were nominated for the May King role. 

dancer with flower wreath on front lawn
Mary Gertrude Jones, May Day 1934

You may recognize the location of this 1934 photo. Part of the May Day festivities were a parade to the front lawn (in front of what is now the Administration building). In the background behind the dancer, you can see girls sitting around on the grass, while the court is seated upon a raised dais. 

May Court

This 1936 May Court features a mixture of 30's and Renaissance clothing. Here, again, we have a female May King, and here, again, the King is taller than the Queen. The rest of the court, other than the heralds, are wearing dresses. 

May Queen
This unnamed student was May Queen in 1937.

Student crowning Mary statue

And here we have a student crowning Mary with flowers in the Grotto in 1947. 

May Day celebrations at Seton Hill, as in much of the rest of the country, began to fade out shortly after World War II. May 1st is also known as International Workers' Day, which was widely observed in communist countries, making it more problematic for many Americans during the Cold War. 

For more information about the history of May Day, you can find more on

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Reads: Target Africa

Friday, Friday! For this week's Friday Reads, Serials Librarian Judith Koveleskie tells us about a new book in the library collection-- Target Africa: Ideological Neocolonialism in the Twenty-First Century.

Judith Koveleskie with Target Africa

"Target Africa: Ideological Neocolonialism in the Twenty-First Century is a new book by Obianuju Edeocha, a Nigerian woman who is the founder of Culture of Life Africa, an initiative dedicated to the promotion and propagation of the Gospel of Life in Africa through the dissemination of good information, sensitization and education.  After following her on Twitter, @obianuju, I couldn’t wait to read her book.  

"Since the end of colonization, Africa has struggled with socio-economic and political problems.   This book reveals the Western influence over Africa that is rarely talked about.  It tells the story of foreign aid with strings attached; the story of Africa targeted and recolonized by wealthy donors.  Many wealthy individuals and NGO’s are promoting their own solutions to Africa’s problems, rather than listening to and valuing the opinions and culture of the people they seek to help.

"She says, 'Like many of the Africans in the 1950’s who longed for independence from their colonial masters, I long for independence from our twenty-first-century neocolonial masters so that Africans can rule themselves in a manner that befits their values and aspirations.'”

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Reads: The Tipping Point

It's Friday! You made it! This week, Library Director David Stanley tells us about a book he's currently reading, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

David Stanley is reading The Tipping Point. 

"The book to read if you want to think about why things happen. How do epidemics start? Why was Paul Revere’s ride so successful when William Dawes’s was not? How do some things become 'the in thing' for young people, or older people, to have to have? What causes rises and falls in crime rates? These and more are discussed. According to the author they all follow a similar developmental process which leads to a tipping point. It makes you look at just about all events with a new curiosity."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Reads: Dreamland

TGIF! Today our Cataloging & Acquisitions Librarian, Adam Pellman, shares about the book he's reading, Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones.

Adam is reading Dreamland

"Our country is facing a public health emergency, as tens of thousands of Americans die every year of overdoses from opioids such as prescription painkillers and heroin, and millions more are addicted to these same substances.  Dreamland explains how this epidemic came to be.

"The author, an investigative journalist and author of two previous non-fiction books about Mexico and Mexican immigration, presents a clear-eyed history of the problem.  The book's focus is two-fold.  Part of the story follows the development, marketing, and unfettered prescription of pain medications like OxyContin in the 1990s and early 2000s, which led to extensive drug abuse and related crime.  The book's other main focus is the expansion of a black tar heroin trafficking network based in a small county in western Mexico, where the heroin trade became a cottage industry of sorts.  These two developments coalesced into a perfect storm, as heroin dealers found a ready client base in towns already devastated by painkiller abuse.

"The book is illuminating and heartbreaking in equal measure, and it's written in a compulsively readable style that gives it the feel of a true crime narrative.  It's timely, essential reading for anyone interested in this topic, or anyone who has been touched by tragedy as a result of this epidemic.  Much of the book focuses on my native Ohio, where addiction to painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl has been widespread, so this is a story that hits close to home for me."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Lantern Chain

Today for Throwback Thursday, we're exploring another old SHC tradition. Once upon a time, the College had a "big sisters" and "little sisters" mentoring program, similar to many sororities today. Junior girls would be paired with first-year students to help them adjust to college life.

girls carrying lanterns

girls seated in the gym in circles, half of each circle wearing white and the other half wearing black

Though these photos in the old Sullivan Gym may look like a creepy cult's religious ritual, they are actually from what was called the Lantern Chain ceremony. The Senior "big sisters" would pass the lanterns to their Sophomore "little sisters." This symbolized that the little sisters were assuming the role of big sisterhood and would be becoming the mentors the following year.
girls form an X shape as part of ceremony

girls assume another formation

This set of photos originally appeared in the 1954 Chevron publication. Thanks, as always, to Bill Black in the SHU Archives for the pictures and the stories!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Friday Reads: The Immortalists

Finally Friday! What would you do if you knew-- exactly-- how much longer you had to live? Public Services Librarian Kelly Clever has been reading The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, which explores that question.

Kelly Clever with The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

"The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin was my book club's pick for April. Four siblings, ages seven to 13, go to see a fortune-teller in the summer of 1969. This woman has a specialty: She claims that she can tell you the exact date that you will die. The kids go in to see her one-by-one, and what they hear will impact the course-- and possibly the lengths-- of their lives.

"I was hooked by page seven. Are the prophecies true or was the woman a con artist? Why did she tell the children to keep what she told them to themselves? We know what the oldest girl's prediction is, but what about the younger three?

"If you've wrestled with the idea of fate versus free will, or wondered if you would live your life differently if you knew how much of it you had left, or been close with and paradoxically distant from your family, you'll enjoy the concepts explored in The Immortalists.

"As for me? I'm glad I don't know 'my date.' Who wants a countdown clock to THAT on their phone?"