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Read the diary in full through the University Archives.

Almost 50 years before the Setonian began, one student expressed his desire to start a Seton Hall paper

Before the Setonian was founded in 1924, a Seton Hall student wanted to start an on-campus newspaper in 1873.

John Erigena Robinson graduated from Seton Hall in 1874 and wrote in his diary about dreaming of starting a paper on campus. On Jan. 26, 1873, he began his diary entry by asking: “To start a paper. How, when, and where?”

“I went to bed and fell asleep with visions of shears scraps and papers flying here and there,” Robinson said. “If we can only get the permission of Malley who owns a press and of Dr. Corrigan who heads the College, we are all right.”

In the diary entry, Robinson said he wanted to name the paper the “Setonian” and already had “the outline and the matter for each page.”

However, Robinson's dreams were not fulfilled as the paper did not start up until the 1920s. The other mention of a newspaper in his diary was part of the Feb. 14 entry.

Robinson did not fully explain the reasoning behind his decision, but wrote that he had received a valentine that day with a “picture of an editor on it and some ridiculous rhyming lines beneath it.”

“It was sent to me, as it had got around that I was going to start a paper in the college,” Robinson said.

He ended the entry, “Alas, the poor ‘Setonian’ is but a dream of the past.”

While a school newspaper was not started by Robinson, the Setonian was eventually established on March 19, 1924.

According to the Seton Hall archives, Robinson’s father, William Erigena Robinson, was also a journalist. His father held the position of assistant editor of the “New York Tribune” in 1843, which might have been attributed to his son’s interest in journalism.

Robinson’s diary also included entries about his time at Seton Hall as a student as well as a baseball player.

The diary was donated to the Seton Hall Archives and Special Collections in 2019, and can be accessed online as well as in person.

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Dareen is the Setonian’s News editor and a writer for its News section. She can be reached at


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