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Victor Hammer papers, 1960, 1967

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Finding aid prepared by Megan Mummey


Victor Hammer papers


1960, 1967


University of Kentucky Special Collections


Collection is arranged by format.

Location note

Housed with multiple collections.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Preferred Citation Note

2011MS118: [identification of item], Victor Hammer papers, 1960, 1967, University of Kentucky Special Collections.


0.15 Cubic feet

1 box


Victor Karl Hammer (1882-1967) was an Austrian-born American painter, sculptor, printer, and typographer. After fleeing Nazi Austria in 1939, Victor Hammer eventually settled in Lexington, Kentucky where he was the artist in residence at Transylvania University. He married to Carolyn Reading in 1955. Carolyn Reading Hammer was the University of Kentucky's Curator of Rare Books and the founder of the King Library Press.

Thomas Merton, the son of two artists, was born in 1915. He attended Columbia University in New York, obtaining B.A. and M.A. degrees. In 1938 he converted to Catholicism and in December 1941 joined the Trappist monks. Merton served as Master of Scholastics and as Master of Novices at the order's monastery in Kentucky, Our Lady of Gethsemani, before being allowed to live as a hermit in 1965. A prolific writer, Merton won acclaim for his books, poems and articles, beginning with the publication of the autobiographical Seven Storey Mountain in 1948. Merton often circulated his writings among his acquaintances for criticism before publication. Among this group from 1951 to 1968 were Carolyn and Victor Hammer of Lexington, Ky., and the then director of the University of Kentucky libraries, Lawrence Thompson. In the 1960s he was known for his concerns about social issues such as peace and civil rights. He also promoted ecumenism between Catholics, other Christians, and non-Christians. He died on December 10, 1968, of accidental electrocution while a conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Private Press Tradition in Lexington, Kentucky, by Burton Milward From The Kentucky Review, Volume XI, Number 3, Autumn 1992, pp. 5-27. Copyright © 1992 by the University of Kentucky Libraries

Scope and Content

The Victor Hammer papers contain The Fragments typescript by Victor Hammer and The Solitary Life typescript and trial printing by Thomas Merton. Victor Hammer printed the trial of Merton's work.


  • Typescript.
  • Hammer, Carolyn Reading
  • Authors, American--Kentucky.
  • Printers.

User Restrictions

The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections.

Collection Inventory

The Fragments typescript, by Victor Hammer, 1967
[Box: 1, Folder: 5]
The Solitary Life typescript and trial printing, by Thomas Merton, circa 1960
[Box: 1, Folder: 6]