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Edwin Vose Sullivan Papers

Identifier: MSS-0017

Scope and Contents

Within these first three series is discussion of race that includes language and concepts that, while socially acceptable for the time, is widely considered offensive today.

The first series, Scholarship, focuses on the work that Msgr. Sullivan created both in his early academic life, in his career as a professor of Sociology, and in his administrative work at Seton Hall University. This includes articles and reviews, notes and bibliographic content, correspondence, and the like. The Teaching series contains material that was created in the course of instruction, in curricular readings and planning, as well as Committee work. This includes articles and reviews, programs, Committee notes, forms, correspondence, and the like.

Msgr. Sullivan's Advocacy focused on supporting African Americans in the times before and following the Civil Rights Movement. This included working with Federal and State Civil Rights Commissions—like the New Jersey Council on Racial Justice—as well as working with the Newark Police Department on racial sensitivity training. The fourth series, Personal materials, includes correspondence to family and friends, photographs, scrapbooks, material from his childhood, and related.

The final series in this collection, Clergy Materials, is primarily comprised of sermons. It also includes programs from Archdiocesan events, research, and program details.


  • 1914 - 2000

Biographical / Historical

Monsignor Edwin Vose Sullivan was a Seton Hall alumnus, Archdiocese of Newark priest, and Head of the Sociology department at Seton Hall University. Msgr. Sullivan was born on October 19, 1920 in Eastport Maine to parents John E. and Winnifred Vose Sullivan, growing up with one brother and six sisters. His family moved to Kearny, NJ in 1935 and he graduated from Kearny High School in 1937.

Msgr. Sullivan earned his bachelors and divinity degrees from Seton Hall and Darlington Seminary, and was ordained as a priest in 1946. He later earned a Masters from Columbia University and a Doctorate from University of Ottawa, in conjunction with further graduate work at New York University.

His career was divided between teaching and the ministry. He celebrated his first mass at his home parish of St. Stephen’s, Kearny, where he served as a weekend assistant at times in addition to Our Lady of the Lake in Verona, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Roseland, and Christ the King in Hillside. Following his ordination, he served as the chaplain for Marylawn of the Oranges, an all-girls high school run by the Archdiocese of Newark, from 1946-1969. He additionally served 25 years as chaplain for the South Orange Council of the Knights of Columbus and the chaplain for the New Jersey State Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. On the Seton Hall campus, he was chaplain to the baseball team.

Msgr. Sullivan taught both at Seton Hall Prepatory and at Seton Hall University in the Department of Sociology. He taught primarily on the intersection of sociology and politics, incorporating issues of race, as well as introductory classes on the Principles of Sociology. He was involved in multiple groups that supported faculty interests, including the Calendar Committee, 125th Anniversary planning, Core Curriculum planning, and others. This also included Chairing the Athletics Department for one year in 1979.

As a supplement to his academic focus, Msgr. Sullivan was active in advocating for civil rights causes. He held training sessions for the Newark police on racial prejudice and served on federal Civil Rights groups. Most prominently, he worked with Millicent Fenwick—a Republican Congresswoman serving New Jersey’s Fifth District—in the National Commission on Civil Rights. Materials from this work in his life, including his teaching and scholarship work, contain language and concepts that are now widely considered offensive.

He retired from teaching in 1995 and continued to live on the Seton Hall Campus until 2002. He lived at St. Catherine’s Health Center in Caldwell, NJ until his death on February 4, 2009.


7 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Edwin Vose Sullivan Papers
Sheridan Sayles
2021 September 16
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The Monsignor Field Archives & Special Collection Center Repository

Archives, Walsh Library
400 South Orange Ave
South Orange NJ 07079 US