Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Archiving Abroad: Archives in Jos, Nigeria


Emily Siegel, Archives assistant, had the opportunity to travel to Nigeria to help the train the Sisters there in archival work. We are so excited for her to share her knowledge with us. There is an exhibit of her experience in the Archives exhibit space on the main floor of Kistler Library.

In October 2017, I was welcomed by the Sisters of the African Province of the Society of the Holy Child to visit their communities in Nigeria and to train a few Sisters in how to complete archival work in connection with my archival work here for Rosemont College and the American Province Archives of the Society of the Holy Child.

(Chapel on the Society of the Holy Child compound in Jos)

In Jos, I stayed on a compound that houses the novitiate, the Archives office, and the Center for Renewal, a retreat center.  (A novitiate is a place where an individual who desires to enter religious life lives before taking vows so they may discern whether or not they feel called to this way of life.)

I spent all of my waking hours with the community of Sisters and novices. It was a pleasure to live with the novices because it gave me the opportunity to get to know the young women who desire to become Holy Child Sisters. At the time there were 13 novices living there who came from various locations in West Africa. Some of them were from local tribes near Jos, others were from other parts of Nigeria (both east and west of Jos) and there were a few from Ghana, another location in West Africa where the SHCJ are present. I was warmly welcomed by everyone I met and they were just as eager to tell me about their own homes and culture as they were to learn about my own. They were such a welcoming group that I never even had the opportunity to be homesick.
(The Novices! L to R standing: Celine Ezeoke, Patience Muoto, Bernadine Ekeh, Louisa Ayirah, Mercy Duru, Philomena Sam, Victoria Ikwen, Euphemia Igwe, Marcy Oveghawo, Mary Aker  
Kneeling L to R: Chinyere Ugwoke, Augustina Ayinga, Veronica Akumsiyiga)

During the day I spent my time working in the Archives helping and educating four SHCJ sisters (The African Province Archivist, Sr. Juliana Onyeoke, Sr Calistar Igbo, Sr Elizabeth Njoku and Sr Chinyere Nwafor ) in how to properly archive materials. We were collectively tasked with organizing the disheveled collections of papers, photos, and other documents. I showed the Sisters the best techniques for working in Archives and then we all worked together to implement them. The Society’s presence in West Africa dates back to 1930 so this was an amazing opportunity to work with materials that dated back to that time period. It was also exciting for the Sisters to work there because in many ways this history was something they only previously had been taught by word of mouth.


While I was in Jos, the Society celebrated their foundation day, the day that the Society of the Holy Child Jesus was founded in Derby, England on October 15, 1846. It was wonderful to enjoy the Africans' take on such a celebration and it gave me the opportunity to meet SHCJ Associates local to Nigeria.



It was such an honor to have the opportunity to get to know the Society in West Africa and to be able to help the Sisters learn the best techniques for saving their own history. Everyone I met made me feel so welcome and at home in a place so different than the east coast of the United States.  


Here are some more pictures of the compound and photos of Jos.







Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Changes at the Library Part 2

So here is so more exciting news from GKML:

Wireless printing has come to the Kistler Library! Now you will be able to print from your personal devices to the library printer. The process is easy for everyone, no apps to download or passwords to remember, just use your Rosemont email to email your document to our printer. This new service just started yesterday and we have had positive feedback from all who have tried it. Just imagine how much easier this will make printing for you this semester. Visit the library to try out this new service today. If you need help ask a librarian.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Changes at the library Part 1


As Break winds down, things are getting busy here at the library. We have many new and exciting changes that have occurred over break and hope that you will be as excited about them as we are. Over the next few days, we will be sharing the changes with you here and on our other social media accounts.
LexisNexis is now Nexis Uni and has many updated features that improve the database for students and faculty use. Paging all students: before the semester kicks off, be sure to check out Nexis Uni—an exciting new research solution designed with and for digital natives like you. Nexis Uni enables quick discovery across all content types, personalized discipline pages for those who set up individual profiles and a collaborative work space for group assignments. Start the semester at an advantage—contact a librarian today for a quick demo.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Play Like a Girl: A History of Athletics at Rosemont College, 1960-1990

Play Like a Girl: A History of Athletics at Rosemont College, 1960 - 1990

IMG_7327.JPGThis is the second of what I hope will be 3 exhibits on athletics at Rosemont. Archives Assistant, Emily Siegel, ‘14, curated the first part of this exhibit, which portrayed Rosemont athletics from 1923 - 1960. It showed that women’s colleges were places where women could be athletic, in a safe, accepting environment, during a time when this may have been frowned upon in other places.This was eye-opening to me.


IMG_7328.JPG
I had a similar realization over the summer, when I saw the movie Wonder Woman. I was moved by its portrayal of strong, athletic women, which was not salacious. I hadn’t realized the novelty of this image until I saw it there. Diana and her sisters enjoyed their athleticism and physical strength. They were confident in it. I wanted to select photos of Rosemont students who were enjoying themselves, strong and proud and excelling in sports; who displayed the same attributes as those fictional women.

The 60’s saw many advances in women’s rights. Title IX was enacted in 1972. Yes, we’ve come a long way, but women still strive to be taken seriously in the sports arena (and in others). I hope that this series of exhibits will encourage further thought and discussion on that subject within the Rosemont community.

Elena Sisti

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dr. Gold's Connelly Lecture

Pierce Connelly lecture 001.JPGOn Wednesday, November 1, we had the distinct pleasure of hosting Dr. Susanna Gold at the Gertrude Kistler Memorial Library at Rosemont College. She gave an informative lecture on the works of Pierce Francis “Frank” Connelly, son of Cornelia Connelly who was the foundress of the Society of the Holy Child of Jesus.

Dr. Gold laid out Frank’s journey through the arts in Italy as well as his entrance into the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, PA in 1876. She discussed his works of art that were on display prominently at the Exhibition. The piece that drew the most interest was very different from the rest of Frank Connelly’s work. Most of his sculptures were neoclassical style, women sculptures, while the piece that was the focus of the talk was much different.  "Honor Arresting the Triumph of Death," is a group composition that features six different figures:  Death, Death’s horse, Strength, Courage, Perseverance and Hope. Dr. Gold discusses how this piece, unlike others at the exhibit that portrayed aspects of the Civil War in the United States of America, touched everyone and allowed for the focus on the sacrifice of human life rather than the sides of the war. Most of Connelly’s work was sold at this exhibition Dr. Gold noted, except for this one piece.  

An article in The Rambler relays the story of how the sculpture came to Rosemont college. In the summer of 1939, Rev. Mother Provincial and Rev Mother Ignatius traveled to Rome where the meet Frank's daughter, Mariana who later became Princess Borghese. She felt that the sculpture should be in the hands of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and gifted it to Rosemont College. The sculpture has been in various places on the campus and is currently close to the science building.

If you would like to learn more about Frank Connelly or his work, schedule an appointment with our archives department or you can check out Dr. Gold's book The unfinished exhibition: Visualizing myth, memory and the Civil War in centennial America from the Gertrude Kistler Memorial Library.

Unknown. (1939, October 13). Princess Borghese presents statue: Group was executed by F.P.

Connelly. The Rambler.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

In the Spotlight: Archives Presents at CIC Conference in Washington, D.C.

IMG_2115.JPGIn September, Archives Assistant,  Emily Siegel, '14 presented a poster at The National Workshop of the Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research in Washington, D.C. During the last three years, the Rosemont College Archives has worked with the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) through a grant provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to digitize the archival records pertaining to the college's Immaculate Conception Chapel. The Immaculate Conception Chapel is significant to Rosemont College’s history because it is one of a very few across the United States that features specifically female saints. We want to get that information out to the world!

This project came about after a group of students participating in a Digital Humanities class in the Spring of 2014 began researching the construction of the Chapel. This class focused on building a website based on the construction of the College’s Chapel by collaborating with the Archive staff and using the archival materials that were a part of the Chapel Collection. During this process, the Archive staff realized that there was a need to have these items digitally preserved to aid in preservation and make them accessible online so that students didn’t necessarily have to be in the Archives in order to complete their research. Digitization is a big part of preservation in any archive. It ensures that duplicates of photos, documents, and other items are being saved so that if anything ever happened to the original copy we have a backup file to support the collection. Digitization projects also help us to see what in the collection might need extra attention in terms of preservation. Also, with the students building a website there was the desire to display some of the photos and documents online.

The goal of this project was to allow greater access to the documents without researchers having to handle some of the more delicate items. The documents have been scanned into a program called Shared Shelf and are now accessible to anyone who has interest in viewing them without having to make an appointment with an archivist at Rosemont. The Archives plans to continue uploading into Shared Shelf and is currently working on adding the oral histories that students took from SHCJ Sisters for the Sisters Story Project. If you would like to take a look at the Immaculate Conception Chapel documents, please go to: http://www.sscommons.org/openlibrary/#3|collections|7731675||Rosemont20College20Archives3A20Chapel20of20Immaculate20Conception|||

Check out the poster on the main floor of the Kistler Library by the Archives Exhibit near the front reading room. Our Archive staff is also ready to answer any questions that you have about the Archives collection at: archives@rosemont.edu  or for questions about the Archives at SHCJ: archives-am@shcj.org.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Review: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

In honor of Banned Books Week, Elena Sisti (Reference Librarian) has written a review of the book Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. This is just one of the many books that has been challenged during the last few years and Elena shares her thoughts on the book and how it compares to the movie.

Twilight, Stephanie Meyer, FIC MEY
reviewed by Elena Sisti


The cover of Twilight is stunning and evocative. Against a black backdrop, a pair of pale, graceful hands cradles a ruby red apple. The title is subtly emblazoned between strong forearms in silver script. This is a depiction from an actual scene in the book and movie. Adroit Edward catches an apple fumbled by bumbling Bella.  The image is also heavily metaphoric. An apple is easily bruised and battered, just like Bella. Not so while cradled in Edward’s marble arms. And let us not forget that an apple is the age-old symbol of the forbidden fruit, of temptation. Here, it stands not only for the temptation of first love and lust, but also for the temptations that the central characters are to each other. Edward must constantly resist his desire to make Bella at the very least, his most satisfying meal, or ultimately, to turn her so that she’ll join him in eternity. Bella avoids joining the Cullens, her strongest temptation, not through any effort on her part, but through the willpower of Edward and the rest of his preternaturally beautiful clan.


Never judge a book by its cover.


With classic themes similar to those in Romeo and Juliet, Beauty and the Beast, and Peter Pan,  and an ethereal, human-friendly family of vampires  as main characters (a trend in YA lit that won’t die, haha), this book had the potential for greatness. Unfortunately, it falls short of this potential. The writing is simultaneously awkward and overwrought. I found myself rolling my eyes and muttering “oh, please…” at Bella’s descriptions of Edward’s beauty, or at the happy couple’s proclamations of love. Bella’s emotional and physical ups and downs didn’t move me much. I found Edward and his family a bit more interesting, perhaps because they’re drop-dead gorgeous (haha) vampires.


I also found the book somewhat predictable, but this could have been because I saw the movie before reading it. This is one instance where the movie is slightly better than the book, probably because I enjoyed looking at the beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery. There is one stand-out scene in the movie: the baseball scene. I admit to exclaiming, “That is awesome!” when I first saw it. I love the music behind it and the whimsy of vampires playing baseball but only able to do so in a thunderstorm. I was eager to see how it was handled in the book. It was disappointing.

I don’t plan on reading the other books in this series, but there are two spinoffs I’d love to see: a book on Carlisle’s human history and early life as a vampire, authored by Anne Rice. I’d read a similar book on Alice, especially if it were written by Joe Hill.