The Month of May’s Book Display Celebrates Saint Joan of Arc and All of Her Achievements

Saint Joan of Arc, by-named the Maid of Orléans, was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431 for heresy; however, 25 years later the church nullified their verdict, and on May 16, 1920, nearly 500 years later, Joan was canonized to become a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.


Statue of Joan in the Bayonne Cathedral; Photo from Wikimedia Commons, the free image repository.

Joan was born in 1412 by two peasants in the small village of Lorraine, southeast of Paris. She did not travel far, and spent most of her time tending animals on the farm or working beside her mother in completing other domestic duties, such as sewing.

Around the age of 12 or 13 she began hearing voices, that she swore were of divine origin, who ordered her to lead France to victory against the English in the Hundred Years War between France and England.

Over time, her visions persisted and grew in strength, eventually showing themselves as St. Catherine or St. Michael. Despite Joan’s lack of military experience, as well as her social standing and gender, her visions asserted that she was piously chosen to be the savior of France.

Jeanne au siège d'Orléans

Jeanne d’Arc at the Siege of Orléans by Jules Eugène Lenepveu, painted 1886–1890; Photo from Wikimedia Commons, the free image repository.

In May 1428, Joan’s visions instructed her to travel to Vaucouleurs and contact Robert de Baudricourt, who was a military commander and a supporter of Charles. Initially, Baudricourt refused Joan’s request to see Charles, but after noticing that she had gained the approval of villagers, he relented, and in 1429 Baudricourt gave Joan a horse and an escort of several soldiers to accompany her on the journey to Charles’s court.

Joan cropped her hair and dressed in men’s clothes for her 11-day journey, which was a bold move in relation to the laws of the church. Charles’s initial impression of Joan was uncertain, but he eventually agreed to her requests to lead an army after many attempts to persuade him, including correctly identifying him, dressed incognito, in a crowd of members of his court.


Joan of Arc depicted on horseback in an illustration from a 1505 manuscript; Image from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Finally, Charles gave Joan of Arc armor and a horse, and allowed her to accompany the army to Orléans, the site of an English siege. In a series of battles between May 4 and May 7, 1429, the French troops took control of the English fortifications under Joan’s authoritative command.

Although it appeared that Charles had accepted Joan’s mission, he did not display full trust in her judgement or advice. After the victory at Orléans, she kept encouraging him to hurry to Reims to be crowned king, but he and his advisors were more cautious.

Nevertheless, Charles and his procession finally entered Reims, and he was crowned Charles VII on July 18, 1429. Joan was at his side, occupying a visible place at the ceremonies.


Statue of Joan of Arc, Place du Parvis, Reims; Photo from Wikimedia Commons, free image repository.

In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the English and King Charles VII, still not quite convinced of her divine inspiration, made no attempt pay a ransom to have her returned or to forcibly have her released to France.

Joan was eventually turned over to church officials, who insisted that she be tried as a heretic, and she was charged with 70 counts of heresy, including witchcraft and dressing like a man.


Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII, Painting by Dominique Ingres; Photo from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Initially, the trial was held in public, but it went private after Joan had continuously won the support of villagers. Frustrated, the tribunal eventually charged her for being dressed like a man in military clothes.

On May 29th, 1431 the tribunal announced that Joan was guilty of heresy, and on May 30th the next day, she was burned at the stake in the marketplace of Rouen before a crowd that is estimated to have been about 1,000 people.

She was canonized to be a saint by the Roman Catholic Church on May 16th, 1920 at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.



The front cover of Dr. Ellen Dolgin’s book, published in 2008.

Dr. Ellen Dolgin is a professor and head of the English Department at Dominican College. Come to the library to check out her book and learn more about Saint Joan of Arc, as well as other writers and authors who have written about Joan or used her as an inspiration in one of their works.

You can also ask your adviser if you are eligible to be in the “Voices of Authority: Joan of Arc” course that is held by Dr. Dolgin in the Spring semester.





April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month


“Sexual Assault Victim Advocates,” from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the Sullivan Library is raising awareness by shedding some light on the topics of the traumatic experience of sexual assault, survival, as well as healing, and finding resources for help.


“Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2017 Campaign Poster,” from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Sexual Assault affects hundreds of Americans every single day, and it does not always mean that a victim experienced violent rape or child molestation in order to have been assaulted sexually.

In the State of New York, Sexual Assault can be generally defined as subjecting another person to sexual contact without the latter’s consent; meaning a wide-range of sexual conduct can be criminalized and constituted as Sexual Abuse, particularly if spoken-consent is not voiced between two fully-conscious adults.


“Sexual assault is not locker room talk: Women’s March, Seneca Falls, NY, 2018,” from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Sexual Abuse is a prevalent issue in the United States. According to RAINN, the Rape & Abuse & Incest National Network, there is a new victim of Sexual Abuse in the United States every 98 seconds.


“A Step in the Right Direction: Sexual Assault Awareness Month Walk,” from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

1/6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted), 1/33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (about 3% of men) (National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), and from 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse (United States Department of Health and Human Services).

A majority of victims are children aged 12-17, and of victims under the age of 18, 34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under the age of 12, and 66% of victims of sexual assault and rape are aged 12-17 (Department of Justice).


“With You: To Survivors of Sexual Assault,” from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.


Some books that are being featured in the Sullivan Library’s Display Case, starting this week for the month of April, can be found below.


We Believe You: Survivors of Camus Sexual Assault Speak Out By Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino

In this book, students from every kind of college and university—large and small, public and private, highly selective and then less so—share experiences of trauma, healing, and everyday activism. They represent the diversity of those who experience sexual assault, as well as the disheartening statistics that tell us that more than 20% of women and 5% of men are sexually assaulted while at college.


Sexual Assault in the Military: A Guide for Victims and Families By Cheryl Lawhorne Scott and Don Philpott

This book highlights a societal issue of significant concern that, according to Paddy Gough, if left uncorrected, will serve to erode the basic fabric of our society. Sexual assault and harassment in the military have been critical subjects for years; however, unfortunately, many victims are reluctant to press charges because of fear of retaliation, damage to their careers, and widespread uncertainty regarding the military justice system. This book focuses on many of the resources that are available in assisting victims and families to report, seek help, and recover from the effects of sexual abuse.


After Silence: Rape & My Journey Back By Nancy Venable Raine

This book is an inspiring account of a traumatic experience and the experience’s serious aftermath and effects on the victim. After Silence is a personal journey back to wellness after feeling violated. It is a complex vision of evil and redemption in Nany Venable Raine’s story.


For more information about sexual assault, prevention and services for victims, please visit the Campus Prevention Network and the Center For Safety & Change websites.



Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sex Offenses and Offenders (1997).

National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey (1998).

United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. Child Maltreatment Survey, 2012 (2013).

Sullivan Library’s Book Display for the Month of March Celebrates Women Empowerment and History

Sullivan Library’s monthly Book Display for the month of March supports gender parity in recognition of International Women’s Day, as well as National Women’s History Month!


2018 Women’s March in NYC, photographed by Sierra Sheridan

March 2-8 was designated as National Women’s History Week by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, and in his presidential message addressing Women’s History Week as a national celebration, he strongly urged “libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for gender equality in America (MacGregor, NWHP).”


A parade in honor of Women’s History Week prior to it becoming a nationalized celebration: Santa Rosa, CA in March 1979. Photograph from Healdsburg Tribune.

“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation,” stated President Jimmy Carter in his opening statement of the 1980 speech in which he designated March 2-8 as National Women’s History Week.


Photograph from the City of Boston Archives on Flickr, titled “President Jimmy Carter.”

In the seven years that followed President Carter’s speech, 14 states took the liberty of expanding their support for the cause by designating the entire month of March as a commemoration for the history of women in America.

Former President Carter mentioned Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul, among others, as he recognized the profound impact that various remarkable women have had in helping to build the United States into the nation that it is today.


“Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well,” Former President Carter stated, reflecting on the lack of recognition that had been given to significant female figures in American history (during the introduction of his 1980 speech).

FullSizeR (1)

The Original Women’s March on Washington in 1913 (top), The Women’s March on Washington in 2017 (bottom), Photographed by Alex Ceravolo (Social Justice Activist and 2018 Graduate of Ramapo College in NJ).

Women’s History Week was a stepping stone toward the greater recognition that women receive today, which is a national recognition of Women’s History in the month of March, as well as International recognition during March 8th, which is International Women’s Day.

Photo by

This year’s 2018 theme for International Women’s Day was #PressforProgress and the library acknowledged this theme by displaying books that portray women who fought, and or continue to fight, for gender parity, whether it be socially, economically, culturally, politically, and or professionally.

Some books that the library is featuring on display can be found below.


Women of Influence, Women of Vision: A Cross-Generational Study of Leaders and Social Change By Helen S


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou


I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai






Boissoneault, Lorraine. “The Original Women’s March on Washington and the Suffragists Who Paved the Way.”, 21 Jan 2017, Accessed March 13, 2018.


“City of Boston Archives.”, Accessed March 13, 2018.


Hillin, E.I. “The Sonoma County Roots of Women’s History Month” (February 2018).

Santa Rosa, California: The Healdsburg Tribune.


MacGregor, Molly Murphy. “Why March is National Women’s History Month.” National Women’s History Project, Accessed March 13, 2018


Pexels, Accessed March 13, 2018.


Book Display: Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist British Literature (from Romanticism →Modernism)

Celebrating the English Language

1560541655_ac136fbf63_m NPG P221; Virginia Woolf (nÈe Stephen) by George Charles Beresford34570819565_3570a33de4

(Portrait of William Blake (first) by Javler Chandla on Flickr; Photograph of Virginia Woolf, 1902 (second) by Mark LaFlaur on Flickr; Illustration from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (third) by Gyulavalko on Flickr).

DC Sullivan Library’s most recent display case is a continuation of the former, featuring some of the most significant works and authors of British Literature from the 18th to the mid-20th century. 


(Photograph of a passage from Kubla Khan (written by Samuel T. Coleridge, 1816) by Circled Thrice on Flickr).

The literature that is featured on display covers three periods that span over approximately 200 years, from 1800 to the mid-1900’s. Beginning with The Romantic Era, the case exhibits significant poets and authors, such as William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, Samuel T. Coleridge and Mary Shelley; as well as significant writers from the Victorian and Modernist Eras of British Literature, such as Robert Browning, Bernard Shaw, Alfred Lord Tennyson, W.B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, and Joseph Conrad, as well as many others. The literature on display is a combination of scholarly critiques of these timeless works, as well as newer books that feature the original plays, novels, and poems of these writers. A few of the works that are featured can be found below.


Nostromo by Joseph Conrad, Introduction by Robert Penn Warren: A Modern Literary Book

Nostromo is a 1904 novel written by Joseph Conrad, a famous author of the late 19th and early 20th century. The book takes place in a fictitious and war-ravaged South American republic that experiences brief stability and peace under the rule of a dictator, Ribiera. The novel was ranked #47 out of 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library in 1998. In this edition of the book, a literary scholar, Robert Penn Warren, writes an introduction that gives his perception of the timeless story.


The Devil & the Lady: and Unpublished Early Poems By Alfred Lord Tennyson, Forward By Rowland L. Collins

This book was published in 1964, about 70 years after Alfred Lord Tennyson’s death. It is a collection of his most early works, and many poems that were unpublished during his lifetime. Tennyson was born in 1809 and died in 1892 at the age of 83. He was a Victorian poet and author, with some of his most famous works being “Ulysses,” “Nothing Will Die,” and “Lady Clara Vere de Vere.”


Pygmalion By Bernard Shaw

Pygmalion is a play written by Bernard Shaw, and it was first introduced to the public, on stage, in 1913, making it a 20th century play. Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, critic, and political activist that had dual citizenship in both Britain and Ireland. He wrote more than sixty plays, with Pygmalion being one of his most major works. His use of contemporary satirical humor, contemporary social issues, politics, and historical allegory made him one of the most significant playwrights of his generation, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925 for his influence on Western theater and literature. His full name was George Bernard Shaw, but he went by the name of Bernard Shaw.



(Heart of Darkness was first published as a three-part serial story in Blackwood’s Magazine (first), Photo from Wikipedia; Copy A of William Blake’s original printing of The Tyger, c. 1795 (second), Photo from Wikipedia; Photographs from the 1918 production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Written by Bernard Shaw, Directed by and Starring Mary Shaw (photographed in bottom two frames) (third), Photo from Wikipedia.)


If you are interested in Literature, and want to do more than check out the books that are available on Display at DC Sullivan Library, then get involved in Campus Life by joining the English Club! If interested, contact the Head of the English Department, Ellen Dolgin, or the Club President, Christine Ditzel. 

Book Display: Early British Literature (from Beowulf to the Enlightenment era)

Celebrating the origins of English Language and Literature

Illustration of Beowulf (left) from Wikimedia Commons; Portrait of the playwright and poet Shakespeare (right) by Tonynetone on Flickr)

DC Sullivan Library’s latest display case is celebrating the origins of English language, featuring some of the most significant works and authors of British Literature through the 18th Century. The literature that is featured on display covers several periods that span over a thousand years, as well as numerous developments, and outright changes, of the English language. Beginning with one of the earliest pieces of British Literature, the case exhibits a translated version of the epic poem Beowulf, which was written by an unknown author sometime between the 8th and 11th century; as well as significant authors, such as Geoffery Chaucer and Shakespeare, all the way up until the 18th century.

Illustration (left) of Geoffrey Chaucer from Wikimedia Commons; Illustration (middle) of the Oldest English Poem The Dream of the Rood from Wikipedia; Illustration (right) of John Milton from Wikimedia Commons

This case is relevant for anybody and everybody who speaks English, because it represents the origins of our language, as it even exhibits works of the earliest English dialect, known as Old English, which was spoken by the Anglo-Saxons. Additionally, Dominican College’s very own British Literature I class (Fall 2017), and Professor Dr. Robert Stauffer, will be supplementing the case with a series of timeline posters that will fill in all of the blanks of the several time periods that the case pursues to cover.

Come check out the display during Finals Week, when the Library Hours are extended until 2 AM, and snacks are provided. To read more in depth about these subjects, visit the timeline posters that will be put up during Finals Week, or check out one of the many books available on the topic at Sullivan Library. Some books that are exhibited in the case, which can also be checked out at any time, will be provided below.

61zLlrkd8KL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)

Beowulf: a New Verse Translation, Translated by Seamus Heaney 

This is a translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, which is a heroic narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, who saves the Danes from the apparently indomitable monster Grendel, as well as from Grendel’s mother. After this feat, the hero returns to his own nations, where he is killed in an honorable battle with a dragon, that he is also able to kill and save his country before he ultimately dies. This poem was evidently written in segments, and was not meant to be read all at once when it was originally written; which explains the vast amount of Beowulf’s life that is covered throughout the entirety of the epic.


514hDghbCvL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)

Poems From the Old English, Translated by Burton Raffel

This book organized the most significant Old English poems, except for Beowulf, in a manner that is comprehensive for researching, studying, and teaching. This book organizes the poems into four categories, which are elegies, heroic poems, religious poems, and wisdom poetry;



Shakespeare’s Symmetries: The Mirrored Structure of Action in the Plays, by James E. Ryan

While Shakespeare’s narratives vary from play to play, the thematic action is structured in a patterned manner, which leads critics and readers to consider how these plays are thematically organized, and whether thorough attention was paid to their placements when they were crafted by Shakespeare in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Ryan describes these thematic patterns as an arch, and their relevance is that they allow us to recognize aspects of the poem that otherwise couldn’t be.



Suffering in Paradise: The Bubonic Plague in English Literature from More to Milton, by Rebecca Totaro

This book focuses on the Bubonic Plague and its influences on English Literature from 1500 through the first half of the 18th century. Men and women of these harsh times had to search for an understanding of man’s relationship with nature, as well as to which degree they held their faith in their nation and their God.

October 31st marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Protestant Reformation



Photo by Sharonang


Reformation Day, October 31st, celebrates the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door. Martin Luther is well-known for his influence in religious reform. He was inspired to post these complaints on the door because he was fed up with Pope Leo X, and other religious officials, selling indulgences in the name of God to people who feared they would not receive salvation in Heaven (which was practically everyone during the 16th century).  Indulgences were sold as a form of impunity from sins by the Catholic Church, and many people purchased these because they were told, and believed, that they would be absolved from sin and get into Heaven.

The 95 Theses influenced Europe profoundly. Within just a few months, copies of the text had practically circulated throughout the entire continent. They had come a long way from the chapel doors he had initially posted them on in Wittenberg, Germany. Ultimately, Martin Luther changed the course of religion and remains to be one of the most influential figures in Western history.

His influence was admirable because he challenged some of the most powerful rulers in Europe at that time by not recanting his writings and accusations against the Church. Even after being summoned before an imperial diet assembly in 1518 in Southern Germany, and then again before the papal commission in Rome in 1520, Luther refused to recant his opinions both times. The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, signed an edict for all of Luther’s writings to be burned, and finally, Luther was officially excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Leo X in 1521.

Martin Luther’s bold writings laid the foundation for the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.  Largely, Luther’s texts are famous because they were an incursion of the church’s corruption, and the pope’s abuse of power and scripture, in a time where the Church possessed much of the political power in Europe. Not only did these texts revolutionize the course of religion, but they also began the reforms of European culture. His largest contribution to theological history was probably his insistence that the Bible should be translated from Latin to other languages, such as German and English, so that it would be available for common folk to read. Prior to this, it was rather beyond the pale for common people to read the bible, and many people were not able to, because it was written in Latin, rather than a language such as English, French, or German. Luther’s perseverance in emphasizing these reforms were truly revolutionary in his day and are still recognized for their profound impacts in theological and political history.

Please check out Sullivan Library’s display case to read more about Martin Luther, and the Protestant Reformation. Additional books pertaining to this topic or those related can be found in the stacks, and their call numbers can be accessed through the Library’s Search Catalog.



Photo by Falco


Works Cited Staff. “Martin Luther and the 95 Theses.”, A+E Networks, 2009,


Book Display in Honor of Founder’s Week


For this month’s display case and book selection, Sullivan Library is celebrating Founder’s Week by honoring Antonio de Montesinos for his efforts to support the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Antonio de Montesinos was a Dominican friar who was a missionary on Hispanola during Spain’s attempt to colonize the island in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. He is best known for a famous sermon he gave on December of 1511 where he condemned the colonists for enslaving the natives of Hispanola. Montesinos was eventually run out of Hispanola by the colonists for his unpopular opinion; however, he and his fellow Dominicans were ultimately successful in convincing the King of the inhumane nature of the colonists’ abuse and enslavement of the natives. This broke the ice for future laws to be created in order to protect native rights.

Indigenous people are people who inhabited a land prior to it being taken by colonizing societies. According to the United Nations, Indigenous people occupy 20% of the world’s land. However, when discussing Indigenous Peoples, it is crucial to understand that there are thousands of groups which are very diverse from one another. They live in nearly every country and every continent in the world. Continue reading