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Special Collections at Seton Hall University

Catholic Politicians Archival Collections

Many of the collections housed within our research center feature prominent Catholics within the lay community as well as clergy and Church hierarchy and organizations. The Center holds the collections of several prominent politicians and civic leaders from within New Jersey history, but who also had a significant impact on the national political scene. An introductory abstract for each of these individuals is featured below.


  • Brendan Byrne papers, 1960-1982 (bulk 1973-1977), Mss 0007
    Brendan Byrne was the governor of New Jersey from 1974-1982. A native of West Orange, NJ, Brendan Byrne attended Seton Hall University, Princeton University, and Harvard University, and was an attorney and a judge before becoming governor as a Democrat. As governor, he created a legacy that includes the Meadowland Sports Complex, development of the casinos of Atlantic City, dedication to the environment exemplified in the Pinelands Preservation Act, and a commitment to improving public education. The Brendan Byrne papers consist primarily of materials related to Byrne's campaigns for governor of New Jersey in 1973 and 1977, as well as some materials documenting his time as governor and his activities with the Democratic party.
    Approximately 55 linear feet.
  • Father Raúl Comesañas Papers, 1940-2016, MSS 0130
    The Father Raúl Comesañas Papers contain a variety of papers covering the various political, religious, and personal activities of Father Raúl Comesañas of Union City, New Jersey. This collection covers materials related to Father Comesañas’s run for the 13th Congressional district of New Jersey, his work as a Catholic priest in New Jersey, and his work as president of the Union of Cuban Exiles (U.C.E.). There is also a variety of background information related to Fr. Comesañas’s political interests including his role on various boards, his post-secondary education and seminary work, and personal correspondence. There is a significant collection of newspapers, including La Nación Americana, El Clarín, La Tribuna, and Vanguardia Católica all of which Fr. Comesañas had a role in the publication or editing of.
  • Marcus Daly papers, 1901-1976, Mss 0004
    Marcus Daly taught political science and was nominated by President Eisenhower to be the Director of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), at which post he served from 1958-1961. He was also active in New Jersey politics. The Marcus Daly papers contain materials documenting Daly's professional life as Director of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), as a politician in New Jersey, and as an educator.
    15.0 linear feet.
  • Leonard Dreyfus papers, 1786-1972 (bulk 1931-1972), Mss 0001
    Leonard Dreyfuss was born in New York in 1886 and moved to Newark in 1914, working for the Newark Sign Company before and during its merger to form the United Advertising Corporation; he was highly active with the New Jersey Civil Defense Advisory Committee during and after the Second World War, and was also active in many civic organizations and activities. The Leonard Dreyfuss papers include materials from Dreyfuss's time involved with Civil Defense, materials related to his business, and a wide variety of personal effects including memorabilia and awards.
    Approximately 15 linear feet.
  • Richard J. Hughes papers, 1956-1979, Mss 0003
    The former Democratic governor of New Jersey and first Catholic elected to this particular office. After his term ended, he was appointed Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. This collection includes his accumulated private papers, select public documentation, photographs, scrapbooks and related materials.
    Approximately 60 linear feet.
  • Matthew J. Rinaldo papers, 1972-1992, Mss 0009
    A former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from the 12th Congressional District. He served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Select Committee on Aging and the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Consumer Protection and Finance. This collection includes his accumulated private, and select public papers.
    Approximately 45 linear feet.
  • Bernard Shanley papers, 1952-1957, Mss 0002
    A former political advisor and Republican National Committee official representing New Jersey. He served at various times as Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Counsel to President Dwight Eisenhower. This collection includes his accumulated private and family papers.
    Approximately 40 linear feet.