Congressman Seymour Halpern's gift of 40 autograph letters
written by popes and saints of the Catholic Church constitutes a
much valued collection at St. John's University.
There are 38 manuscript letters signed and two typescript pieces
of correspondence. Of the 36 papal letters the oldest is on vellum
from Pope Alexander IV, dated 1256; the most recent typewritten one
is from Pope Paul VI, signed G.B. Montini on April 6, 1938. The
four remaining letters are from St. Francis de Sales, St. Gregory
Barbarigo, St. John Leonardi, and St. Vincent Maria Strambi.
In spite of its limited size, this collection of original
documents bridging eight centuries can afford students a small
sample of primary resources not ordinarily available outside of