Thomas Merton papers

Abstract

The Thomas Merton papers (dated 1940-1974, undated; 5.5 cubic feet; 14 boxes) include correpsondence, literary manuscripts, and photographs, which document Merton's career as a monk and spiritual writer.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Thomas Merton papers
Date
1940-1974, undated (inclusive)
Creator
Merton, Thomas
Extent
5.5 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Authors, American -- Kentucky.
Trappists
Monks.
Drafts.
Manuscripts -- Kentucky.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged by format.
Finding Aid Author
Ida Lucille Sell
Preferred Citation
75m28: [Identification of item], Thomas Merton papers, 1940-1974, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Thomas Merton, the son of two artists, attended Columbia University in New York, obtaining B.A. and M.A. degrees. He converted to Catholicism in 1938 and joined the ranks of the Trappist monks in December, 1941. 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. He left the monastery in 1968 to attend a conference in Bangkok, Thailand, where he died December 10 of accidental electrocution. Merton had won acclaim for his books, poems and articles, beginning with the publication of the autobiographical Seven Storey Mountain in 1948. In the 1960s he was known for his concern about peace, civil rights and other social issues. He also promoted ecumenism between Catholics, other Christians and non-Christians.
Merton was a prolific writer, producing 139 books and pamphlets, 104 contributions to books, and 486 pieces for magazines and newspapers in a relatively brief career.
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.
Scope and Content
The Thomas Merton papers (dated 1940-1974, undated; 5.5 cubic feet; 14 boxes) include correpsondence, literary manuscripts, and photographs, which document Merton's career as a monk and spiritual writer. The correspondence includes letters from and to Erich Fromm, Boris Pasternak, Daisetz Suzuki, Robert Lax, Carolyn Reading Hammer, and Victor Hammer. Literary manuscripts form the bulk of the collection. There are holographs and typescripts, carbon copies and mimeographs. The collection includes, in draft form, "The Ascent to Truth", "My Argument with the Gestapo", "No Man is an Island" and "The Secular Journal of Thomas Merton". Poems written or translated by Thomas Merton are included in the collection. Many drafts of Merton manuscripts, articles and poems are included. Copies of articles written by Thomas Merton and were published in religious and national periodicals are also included. The photographs document Thomas Merton and his friends.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections.
All literary rights to the Merton papers are vested in the Merton Legacy Trust. Requests to copy, to film, to quote from extensively or in part, to publish or to reprint any published or unpublished manuscripts in the collection must be directed in writing to the Administrator of Rights and Contracts, Merton Legacy Trust, 670 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10025. Letters to Thomas Merton may not be used without the permission of that correspondent.
The Dr. Lawrence S. Thompson correspondence with Thomas Merton may be consulted for serious research at any time. The content of Thompson letters to Merton may be paraphrased, but not quoted, during Dr. Lawrence S. Thompson's lifetime.
The Carolyn and Victor Hammer correspondence with Thomas Merton may be consulted for serious research at any time. The content of Hammer letters to Merton may be paraphrased, but not quoted, during Carolyn Hammer's lifetime.

Contents of the Collection

Articles with reference to Merton, 1950-1969

Scope and Contents

The Articles with reference to Merton series is a collection of writings about the monk. After the Second World War his teachings were very popular in the United States. National secular and religious publications discussed Merton's monastic theology as well as his anti nuclear war opinions. Articles included in the series were found in Time, Life, as well as the Catholic Worker.

"A Visit with Thomas Merton" by James W. Angell, 1960 November 15

  • Box 1, folder 1
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"Thomas Merton: Ascension Luminosa a la Montana Interior" by Julio Araluce, 1960 July 4

  • Box 1, folder 2
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"Nuclear Pacifism States Its Case" by John C. Bennett, 1963 July 4

  • Box 1, folder 3
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"Two Letters on 'The Modern Problem'" by Eric Bruno and Sister M. Therese, 1950 March

  • Box 1, folder 4
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"Don Walsh: A Teacher Remembered" by Sister Francis Camilla, 1963 Summer

  • Box 1, folder 5
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"Life with Thomas Merton" by Gerald Groves, 1963 April-May

  • Box 1, folder 6
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"Possessed by the Holy Spirit: The Poetry of Thomas Merton and Vassar Miller" by Albert Fowler, 1964 Spring

  • Box 1, folder 7
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"Four Pasternak Letters at U. of K. recall the century's most tragic Literary Debacle" by Jim Hampton, 1964 September 6

  • Box 1, folder 8
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"In Search of Thomas Merton" by Sarah Lansdell, 1969 December 7

  • Box 1, folder 9
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"Renewal Crisis Hits Trappists" by Colman McCarthy, 1967 December 11

  • Box 1, folder 10
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"The Games Critics Play" by Thomas P. McDonnell, 1967 March

  • Box 1, folder 11
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"To: Thomas Merton, Re: Your Prophecy" by Martin E. Marty, 1967 August 30

  • Box 1, folder 12
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"Monk, Man and Myth" by Jim Morrissey, 1966 January 23

  • Box 1, folder 13
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"In the Belly of a Paradox" by Ben Ray Redman, 1953 February 21

  • Box 1, folder 14
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"Benedictine v. Trappist" in Time Magazine, 1953 February 2

  • Box 1, folder 15
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Newspaper clippings, 1953-1974

  • Box 1, folder 16
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"Book review of Nuevas Semillas de Contemplacion" in Novedades, 1963 April-May

  • Box 1, folder 17
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"Once in Kentucky (To Thomas Merton)" by Mark Van Doran, 1960

  • Box 1, folder 18
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Abbey of Gethsemani and Merton Literature, 1953-1967, undated

Scope and Contents

Abbey of Gethsemani and Merton series includes materials about projects at the monastery and of Thomas Merton. The Abbey of Gethsemani has more than 2,000 acres of farmland, and considered to be the "mother house" of all Trappist and Trappistine monasteries in the United States of America. From 1948 until his death in 1968 the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani was the home of Thomas Merton. The monks bring money to the abbey by producing cheese, fruit cake and wine. The calendars and pamphlets exhibit pictures and description of the works on the abbey's farm. Also included in the series are book sleeves and anti nuclear proliferation pamphlets created by Thomas Merton while living at the Abbey.

Book sleeves of Merton Books, undated

  • Box 1, folder 19
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Gethsamani Farms pamphlets, circa 1953

  • Box 1, folder 20
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Monks of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky calendars, 1957-1967

  • Box 1, folder 21
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Anti nuclear proliferation leaflets, undated

  • Box 1, folder 22
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Correspondence, 1947-1968

Scope and Contents

The Correspondence series includes the letters between Thomas Merton and friends, publishers and fellow writers/philosophers. Most of the correspondence details his time spent working on various writings. The letters between Boris Pasternak discuss a similar belief in God and man despite the building Cold War in the early 1950s. also included in the series are letters between D.T. Suzuki and Thomas Merton about similarities between monastic life and Buddhist Zen philosophy.

Erich Fromm, 1954-1961

  • Box 1, folder 23
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James Gribble, 1958 September-October

  • Box 1, folder 24
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Foreign Publishers, 1947-1951

  • Box 1, folder 25
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Foreign Publishers, 1952-1955

  • Box 1, folder 26
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Carolyn and Victor Hammer, 1955-1960

  • Box 2, folder 1
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Carolyn and Victor Hammer, 1961-1962

  • Box 2, folder 2
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Carolyn and Victor Hammer, 1963-1964

  • Box 2, folder 3
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Carolyn and Victor Hammer, 1965-1966

  • Box 2, folder 4
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Carolyn and Victor Hammer, 1967-1968

  • Box 2, folder 5
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John Harris, 1958 November 18

  • Box 12, folder 29
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Gertrude Hindemith, 1953

  • Box 2, folder 6
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Robert Lax, 1947-1952

  • Box 2, folder 7
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Robert Lax, 1959-1960

  • Box 12, folder 27
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New Directions publishers, 1948-1955

  • Box 2, folder 8
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"Friends", 1967 February-June

  • Box 2, folder 9
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Julian and Father Francisco, 1967

  • Box 2, folder 10
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Mrs. Pellegrind, 1955 September 22

  • Box 2, folder 11
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Boris Paternak, 1958

  • Box 2, folder 12
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Boris Pasternak, 1958-1960

  • Box 12, folder 28
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Lydia Pasternak Slater, 1959-1961

  • Box 2, folder 13
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Robert E. Rambusch, 1959

  • Box 2, folder 14
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Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, 1959

  • Box 2, folder 15
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Lawrence S. Thompson, 1951-1964

  • Box 2, folder 16
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Helen and Kurt Wolff, 1958-1960

  • Box 2, folder 17
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Vittorio Emanuele Zino, 1966

  • Box 2, folder 18
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Six Letters, 1957-1974

Scope and Contents

The Six Letters series includes correpsondence between Carolyn Reading Hammer and individuals involved in the production of a short book called called Six Letters. The book compiled by Boris Pasternak's wife, Lydia with the help of Carolyn Reading Hammer, discusses the correspondence between Boris Pasternak and Thomas Merton and the profound impact the letters had on each man's life. Much of the correspondence reflects the Hammer's effort to organize Merton's thoughts and rights for publication.

Carolyn Hammer correspondence with Bellarmine College, 1972

  • Box 2, folder 19
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Carolyn Hammer correspondence with James Laughlin, 1971-1974

  • Box 2, folder 20
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Carolyn Hammer correspondence with Mrs. Frank O'Callaghan, 1973

  • Box 2, folder 21
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Carolyn Hammer correspondence with Lydia Pasternak Slater, 1971-1974

  • Box 2, folder 22
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Carolyn Hammer correspondence with Naomi Burton Stone, 1972-1973

  • Box 3, folder 1
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Boris Pasternak correspondence with Thomas Merton: photocopies, 1958-1960

  • Box 3, folder 2
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Postscript to Disputed Questions, 1960

  • Box 3, folder 3
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Thomas Merton correspondence with Aleksei Surkov, 1958 October 29

  • Box 3, folder 4
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The Pasternak Affair, photocopy of essay by Thomas Merton, 1960

  • Box 3, folder 5
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"Tribute to Greatness", New York Times book review of Doctor Zhivago by Thomas Merton, 1957 February 1

  • Box 3, folder 6
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Book reviews of Doctor Zhivago, 1958

  • Box 3, folder 7
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Prose, 1940-1974, undated

Scope and Contents

The Prose series contains notes and drafts of articles and books by Thomas Merton. Significant manuscripts included are The Ascent to Truth, "The Secular Journal: Perry Street" and "The Sign of Jonas". Merton liked to circulate manuscripts with friends and many of the drafts included in the series are copies with editing notes.

The Ascent to Truth, circa 1951

  • Box 3, folder 8-9
  • Box 4, folder 1
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The Ascent to Truth, discarded materials, circa 1951

  • Box 3, folder 10
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The Ascent to Truth, notes, circa 1951

  • Box 3, folder 11
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The Ascent to Truth, rejected pages, circa 1951

  • Box 4, folder 2
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Prayer and Spiritual Perfection, undated

  • Box 4, folder 3
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Prayer as Worship and Experience, undated

  • Box 4, folder 4
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Basic Principles of Monastic Spirituality, undated

  • Box 4, folder 5
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"Letter to an Innocent Bystander", undated

  • Box 4, folder 6
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"The Monk in a Changing World", undated

  • Box 4, folder 7
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Bread in the Wilderness, undated

  • Box 4, folder 8
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Bread in the Wilderness, prologue, undated

  • Box 4, folder 9
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Bread in the Wilderness, epilogue, undated

  • Box 4, folder 10
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Bread in the Wilderness, notes, undated

  • Box 4, folder 11
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"The Psalms and Contemplation", undated

  • Box 4, folder 12
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"Christ unveils the meaning of the Old Testament": drawing, undated

  • Box 4, folder 13
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"Background and Attitude of Monastic Postulants in the relation to failure of vocation", undated

  • Box 4, folder 14
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"Identity Crisis and Monastic Vocation", 1964 October

  • Box 4, folder 15
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"The Monastic Renewal Problem and Prospects", for Ed Rice, 1966 December

  • Box 4, folder 16
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"Notes for the Philosophy of Solitude", undated

  • Box 4, folder 17
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Last of the Fathers, undated

  • Box 4, folder 18
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"Spiritual Perfection", undated

  • Box 4, folder 19
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Faith and Violence, additions, 1967 December

  • Box 4, folder 20
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Grace, Work, and Holiness, undated

  • Box 4, folder 21
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"Life at Gethsemani", undated

  • Box 4, folder 22
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The Living Bread, undated

  • Box 4, folder 23
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The Living Bread, introduction, undated

  • Box 4, folder 24
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Loretto and Gethsemani, undated

  • Box 4, folder 25
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Martha Mary and Lazarus, preface, 1955

  • Box 4, folder 26
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"The Morning of Alleluia", undated

  • Box 4, folder 27
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Monastic Peace, undated

  • Box 5, folder 1
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"Journal of My Escape from the Nazis", 1955 October 28

  • Box 5, folder 2
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"Introduction to the English Monastics", undated

  • Box 5, folder 3
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Mystics and Zen Masters, undated

  • Box 5, folder 4
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"A Kerygma for the Nativity", undated

  • Box 5, folder 5
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The New Man, undated

  • Box 5, folder 6
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"Time Life Bible", 1967 December

  • Box 5, folder 7
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"Original Child Bomb", undated

  • Box 5, folder 8
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Prometheus: A Meditation, 1958 June 21

  • Box 5, folder 9
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"Redeeming the Time: The Catholic Church after Vatican II", undated

  • Box 5, folder 10
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"Eight Freedom Songs", undated

  • Box 5, folder 11
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"Salve Regina", undated

  • Box 5, folder 12
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"A Homily on Mary", undated

  • Box 5, folder 13
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"A Homily on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception", undated

  • Box 5, folder 14
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A Secular Journal: Perry Street, 1939-1940

  • Box 5, folder 15
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A Secular Journal: Perry Street, preface, circa 1940

  • Box 5, folder 16
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A Secular Journal: Perry Street, test press, 1941

  • Box 5, folder 17
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Havana: from a journal written in Cuba, 1940

  • Box 5, folder 18
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Seeds of Contemplation, editing notes, undated

  • Box 5, folder 19
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"Letters to a Papal Volunteer", undated

  • Box 6, folder 1
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The Seven Storey Mountain, discarded pages and book sleeve, undated

  • Box 6, folder 2
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The Sign of Jonas, undated

  • Box 6, folder 3
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The Sign of Jonas, introduction to part one, undated,

  • Box 6, folder 4
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The Sign of Jonas, corrections, 1955

  • Box 6, folder 5
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The Sign of Jonas, test press, circa 1953

  • Box 6, folder 6
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The Sign of Jonas, book sleeves and publisher's pamphlets, 1953

  • Box 6, folder 7
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Silence in Heaven, undated

  • Box 6, folder 8
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"Living in Silence", undated

  • Box 6, folder 9
  • Box 6, folder 10
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"Danish Non-Violent Resistance to Hitler", undated

  • Box 6, folder 11
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"In Acceptance of Pax Medal", 1963

  • Box 6, folder 12
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"Target Equals City", undated

  • Box 6, folder 13
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No Man is an Island, preface to the Vietnamese translation, 1966

  • Box 6, folder 14
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No Man Is an Island, book jacket, circa 1955

  • Box 12, folder 25
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Notes for Merton Reader Project, undated

  • Box 6, folder 15
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A Thomas Merton Reader, test press, pages 1-173, circa 1974

  • Box 6, folder 16
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A Thomas Merton Reader, test press, pages 173-Appendix, circa 1974

  • Box 6, folder 17
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A Thomas Merton Reader, appendix, undated

  • Box 7, folder 1
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Thoughts in Solitude, undated

  • Box 7, folder 2
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Thoughts in Solitude, test press, undated

  • Box 7, folder 3
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"The Tragedy of Perrin", 1964 April

  • Box 7, folder 4
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"The Urgent Conscience" by Piero Bargelini and translated by Merton for Carolyn and Victor Hammer, 1958 July

  • Box 7, folder 5
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"Water of Siloe", notes, undated

  • Box 7, folder 6
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"Qu'est-ce que La Contemplation?", undated

  • Box 7, folder 7
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"What Should I Do? Sayings from the Desert Fathers", undated

  • Box 7, folder 8
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"A New Christian Consciousness?", 1967 February

  • Box 7, folder 9
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Cold War Letters, 1961-1962

  • Box 7, folder 10
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"Comment on the Psychological Causes of War by Erich Fromm", undated

  • Box 7, folder 11
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"Grace, Work, and Holiness", undated

  • Box 7, folder 12
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Camus and the Catholic Church, 1966 August

  • Box 7, folder 13
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"Art and Morality", written for the New Catholic Encyclopedia, undated

  • Box 7, folder 14
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"Perfection, Christian", undated

  • Box 7, folder 15
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"Clement of Alexandria", selections from Protreptikos, undated

  • Box 7, folder 16
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"Concerning the collection in Bellarmine College Library, A statement", 1963 November 10

  • Box 7, folder 17
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"Contemplation", for the Catholic Youth Encyclopedia, undated

  • Box 7, folder 18
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Selected Letters of St. Bernard, preface, undated

  • Box 7, folder 19
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Notes on the Lord's Prayer by Raissa Maritain, introduction, undated

  • Box 7, folder 20
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"Hermit Life", for the Catholic Youth Encyclopedia, undated

  • Box 7, folder 21
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Breakthrough to Peace, preface, undated

  • Box 7, folder 22
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"A Christian Look(s) at Zen", 1966 July

  • Box 7, folder 23
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"The Monastic Theology of St. Aelred", 1968 September

  • Box 7, folder 24
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In the Face of Death by Fr. Alfred Delp, preface, undated

  • Box 7, folder 25
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Religion in Wood, preface, undated

  • Box 7, folder 26
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Presence a Dieu at a Soi Meme by Fr. Francois de Sainte Marie, introduction, undated

  • Box 7, folder 27
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"Learning to Live", 1967 July

  • Box 7, folder 28
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Peace on Earth: A Christian Responsibility, undated

  • Box 7, folder 29
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Life of Fr. Joseph Cassant: preface to the American edition, undated

  • Box 7, folder 30
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A Prayer from the De Anima of Cassidorus, undated

  • Box 7, folder 31
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In Search of a Yogi by Dom Denys Rutledge, preface, undated

  • Box 7, folder 32
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The New Man, preface to the Japanese edition, 1967 October

  • Box 7, folder 33
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Thoughts of Solitude, preface to Japanese edition, 1966 March

  • Box 7, folder 34
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"Spiritual Life", notes, undated

  • Box 7, folder 35
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"Spiritual Life" for the Catholic Youth Encyclopedia, undated

  • Box 7, folder 36
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Blessed are the Meek, undated

  • Box 7, folder 37
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Blessed are the Meek, 1966 January

  • Box 7, folder 38
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"Christian Humanism", undated

  • Box 7, folder 39
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"Christian Solitude: Notes on an Experiment", undated

  • Box 7, folder 40
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"Christianity and Race in the U.S.", undated

  • Box 7, folder 41
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"Classic Chinese Thought", undated

  • Box 7, folder 42
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"The Climate of Mercy for Albert Schweitzer", 1964 April

  • Box 8, folder 1
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"A Christmas Devotion", undated

  • Box 8, folder 2
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"Comment: re Forum", vol. 1, no. 1, undated

  • Box 8, folder 3
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"The Contemplation and the Atheist", 1967 October

  • Box 8, folder 4
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"The Contemplative Life: Its Meaning and Necessity", undated

  • Box 8, folder 5
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"Creative Silence", 1968 June

  • Box 8, folder 6
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"The Cross Fighters: Notes on a Race War", 1967 November

  • Box 8, folder 7
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"The Death of God and the End of History", 1967 March

  • Box 8, folder 8
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"Honest to God: Letter to a Radical Anglican", 1964

  • Box 8, folder 9
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"D.T. Suzuki: the Man and His Work", 1966 August

  • Box 8, folder 10
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"Easter: The New Life", undated

  • Box 8, folder 11
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"Ecumenism and Monastic Renewal", 1967 November

  • Box 8, folder 12
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"The English Mystics", undated

  • Box 8, folder 13
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"Ethics and War: A Footnote", undated

  • Box 8, folder 14
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"Final Integration Toward a Monastic Therapy", 1968 March

  • Box 8, folder 15
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"From Pilgrimage to Crusade", 1964 August

  • Box 8, folder 16
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"Herakleitos the Obscure and his legacy", undated

  • Box 8, folder 17
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"The Historical Consciousness", 1968 February 25

  • Box 8, folder 18
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"The Hot Summer of Sixty Seven", 1967 August

  • Box 8, folder 19
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"Apologies To An Unbeliever", 1966 April

  • Box 8, folder 20
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"Isaac of Stella: An Introduction", undated

  • Box 8, folder 21
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"The Jesuits in China", undated

  • Box 8, folder 22
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"Letter to a Papal Volunteer", circa 1963

  • Box 8, folder 23
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"Letter to a Poet about Vallejo", undated

  • Box 8, folder 24
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"Love and Solitude", 1966 March-April

  • Box 8, folder 25
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"A Forward to Marcel and Buddha", 1967 January

  • Box 8, folder 26
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"The Meaning of Malcolm X, "for Continuum, 1967 May

  • Box 8, folder 27
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"Letter to NCR", undated

  • Box 8, folder 28
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"The Monk in Diaspora", undated

  • Box 8, folder 29
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"Letters Published in Liberation", undated

  • Box 8, folder 30
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"Christianity Encounters Zen", undated

  • Box 8, folder 31
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"Nicholas of CUSA: Dialogue About the Hidden God", undated

  • Box 8, folder 32
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"News of the Jouce Industry" for Sewanee Review, 1968 June

  • Box 8, folder 33
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"Notes on Love and Need", 1966 April

  • Box 8, folder 34
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"Openness and Cloister for Spiritual Life", 1967 July

  • Box 8, folder 35
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"Passivity and Abuse of Authority", undated

  • Box 8, folder 36
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"The Pasternak Affair", undated

  • Box 8, folder 37
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"Peace and Protest", 1965 November

  • Box 8, folder 38
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"Peace and Revolution", 1968

  • Box 8, folder 39
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"Prayer for Peace", undated

  • Box 8, folder 40
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"Poetry and Contemplation (A Repraisal)", undated

  • Box 8, folder 41
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"Rafael Albderti and His Angels", for Continuum, 1966 December

  • Box 8, folder 42
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"Renewal and Discipline in the Monastic Life", 1968 February

  • Box 8, folder 43
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"Renewal in Monastic Education", undated

  • Box 8, folder 44
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"Rites for the Extrusion of a Leper", 1967 June

  • Box 8, folder 45
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"Tribute to Ruben Dario", undated

  • Box 8, folder 46
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"Sacred Art and Catholic Education", undated

  • Box 8, folder 47
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"St. Anselm and His Argument", undated

  • Box 8, folder 48
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"The Sacrament of Advent in the Spirituality of St. Bernard", undated

  • Box 8, folder 49
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"Saint Bernard Monk and Apostle", undated

  • Box 9, folder 1
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"Pleasant Hill: A Shaker Village in Kentucky, 1806-1910", undated

  • Box 9, folder 2
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"Confession - Firmada de Crimenes Contra el Estado", undated

  • Box 9, folder 3
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"The Solitary Life", undated

  • Box 9, folder 4
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"Solitary Life in the Shadow of a Cistercian Monastery", undated

  • Box 9, folder 5
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"Spiritual Direction", undated

  • Box 9, folder 6
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"The Stronger: Poverty of an Anti-Hero", 1968 March

  • Box 9, folder 7
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"The Street Is For Celebration", 1967 October

  • Box 9, folder 8
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"Terror and the Absurd: Violence and Non-Violence in Albert Camus", undated

  • Box 9, folder 9
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"Letter to Surkov about Pasternak", 1958 October 29

  • Box 9, folder 10
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"Three Prayers", undated

  • Box 9, folder 11
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"Three Saviors", 1966 September

  • Box 9, folder 12
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"Pure Love in Transforming Union: St. Bernard and St. John of the Cross Compared", undated

  • Box 9, folder 13
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"The Transforming Union in St. Bernard and St. John of the Cross", undated

  • Box 9, folder 14
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"Two Chinese Classics", undated

  • Box 9, folder 15
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"Virginity and Humanism in the Latin Fathers", undated

  • Box 9, folder 16
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"Five Important Books", for Catholic Book Annual, undated

  • Box 9, folder 17
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"Notes on The Small Rain by Raymond Roseliep", undated

  • Box 9, folder 18
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"Statement on a Modern Priest Looks at his Outdated Church by Fr. James Kavanaugh", undated

  • Box 9, folder 19
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"Auschwitz: A Family Camp", 1967 August

  • Box 9, folder 20
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"A Book Review; The Benedictines: A Digest for Moderns", 1962

  • Box 9, folder 21
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"An Enemy of the State", undated

  • Box 9, folder 22
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"Enfemia Fort I Cogul - L'eremetisme a la Catalunya", for Studia Monastica, 1965

  • Box 9, folder 23
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"Guigo the Carthusian", 1963 March

  • Box 9, folder 24
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"Book Review; Hesychasm", for Orientalia Christiana Analecta, 1967 April

  • Box 9, folder 25
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"Ishi: A Meditation", 1967 February

  • Box 9, folder 26
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"Book Review; Morte D'urban: Two Celebrations", undated

  • Box 9, folder 27
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"Book Review; Die Monastiche Godanke", undated

  • Box 9, folder 28
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"Book Review; Sain Bruno le Primier des ermites de Chartreuse", undated

  • Box 9, folder 29
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"Book Review; Oeuvre Spirituelles", undated

  • Box 9, folder 30
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"Book Review; Seeking God", for Jubilee, undated

  • Box 9, folder 31
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"The Shoshoneans", 1967 May

  • Box 9, folder 32
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"Book Review; Saint Anselm and His Biographer", undated

  • Box 9, folder 33
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"A Review of Nashida Kitaro", 1965 April

  • Box 9, folder 34
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"War and Vision: The Autobiography of a Crow Indian", 1967 October

  • Box 9, folder 35
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"Who is Nat Turner?", undated

  • Box 9, folder 36
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"The Wild Places", 1963 February

  • Box 9, folder 37
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"Wilderness and Paradise" for Cistercian Studies, 1966 November

  • Box 9, folder 38
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"Zen Catholicism Dom Aelred Graham's Suggestion", undated

  • Box 9, folder 40
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"Writings as Temperature" for Sewanee Review, 1968 September

  • Box 9, folder 39
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"Zukofsky: The Paradise Ear A Review for the Critic", 1966 November

  • Box 9, folder 41
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"Advent Chouraqui-Messiah of Israel Cross Currents", 1961

  • Box 9, folder 42
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"Apocrypha", undated

  • Box 9, folder 43
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"Approach to Faith", undated

  • Box 9, folder 44
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"Berdiaev- Towards a New Epoch": London, 1949

  • Box 9, folder 45
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"Biblical Man O.T.", undated

  • Box 9, folder 46
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"Cassian", undated

  • Box 9, folder 47
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"Christian Asceticism" San Augustine, 1950-1951

  • Box 9, folder 48
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"Clement of Alex Danielon", undated

  • Box 9, folder 49
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"Contemplative Life: Structure of Soul", page 8, undated

  • Box 9, folder 50
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"The Dialogue of Life and Death in Us", undated

  • Box 9, folder 51
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"Dictation- Novices", undated

  • Box 9, folder 52
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"The Didache", undated

  • Box 9, folder 53
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"Divine Office", undated

  • Box 9, folder 54
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"Faith", undated

  • Box 9, folder 55
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From a discarded manuscript on Communism, undated

  • Box 9, folder 56
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"Hindu Thought and Life", undated

  • Box 9, folder 57
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"Holy Trinity Homily", undated

  • Box 9, folder 58
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"Holy Week", undated

  • Box 9, folder 59
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"How We See?", undated

  • Box 9, folder 60
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"Importance of the Book in Celtic Monasticism, Celtic Nora", undated

  • Box 9, folder 61
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"Levitical Holiness", undated

  • Box 9, folder 62
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"Matyrs and Apologists", undated

  • Box 9, folder 63
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"The Novitiate", undated

  • Box 9, folder 64
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"Pasternak", undated

  • Box 10, folder 1
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"Peguy's Prayer of Confidence", undated

  • Box 10, folder 2
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"Psalms St. Hilary", undated

  • Box 10, folder 3
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"Purity of Heart", undated

  • Box 10, folder 4
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"Recollection", undated

  • Box 10, folder 5
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"Religious Vocation", undated

  • Box 10, folder 6
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"The School of the Spirit", undated

  • Box 10, folder 7
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"37 Meditations", undated

  • Box 10, folder 8
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"Advent. Art thou he who is to come or look we for another?", undated

  • Box 10, folder 9
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"Appendix to the Vows", 1960 November

  • Box 10, folder 10
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"Some Notes on Sacred Art", undated

  • Box 10, folder 11
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"Notes on Sacred and Profane Art": Japanese translation, undated

  • Box 10, folder 13
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"Art and Worship", undated

  • Box 10, folder 12, 14-15
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"Carmelite Society", undated

  • Box 10, folder 16
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"Christian Worship and Social Reform", undated

  • Box 10, folder 17
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"Christmas Homily", 1963

  • Box 10, folder 18
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"The Cross in Our Lives", undated

  • Box 10, folder 19
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"Danger Signals: Points for Examination of Conscience", undated

  • Box 10, folder 20
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"Easter Homily" for Argus Communications, 1967 September

  • Box 10, folder 21
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"Immaculate Conception", undated

  • Box 10, folder 22
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"Letters to U.S. Catholic", 1967 December 3

  • Box 10, folder 23
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"The Mature Conscience", undated

  • Box 10, folder 24
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"Memorandum on Monastic Renewal", 1964

  • Box 10, folder 25
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"Memorandum: Summary of my position regarding war and peace", 1962 May 11

  • Box 10, folder 26
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"Monastic Introduction to Scripture", 1952

  • Box 10, folder 27
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"Note on Vatican II Pastoral", undated

  • Box 10, folder 28
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"Notes for Book on the Contemplative Life", undated

  • Box 10, folder 29
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"Pasternak's Letter To Georgian Friends", 1968 January

  • Box 10, folder 30
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"Purity of Heart, Day of Recollection", 1962 July

  • Box 10, folder 31
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"On Remembering Monsieur Delmas", undated

  • Box 10, folder 32
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"The Rule of St. Benedict", undated

  • Box 10, folder 33
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"The Scholasticate: Texts from the Cistercian Fathers", undated

  • Box 10, folder 34
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"Sententiae, Ex Operibus S. Bernardi Selectae", undated

  • Box 10, folder 35
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"Seven words" for Ned O'Gorman, 1966 May

  • Box 10, folder 36
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"Statement on Clerical Celibacy", undated

  • Box 10, folder 37
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"Tower of Babel (an explanation)", undated

  • Box 10, folder 38
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"The Universe as Epiphany: The Spirituality of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin", undated

  • Box 10, folder 39
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"Vatican Pavillion, New York World's Fair", undated

  • Box 10, folder 40
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"What is Contemplation? Revision and Afterthought", undated

  • Box 10, folder 41
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Viewpoints, censor's copy, undated

  • Box 12, folder 26
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Poetry, 1940-1966, undated

Scope and Contents

The poetry series includes poems by Thomas Merton as well as poems by Raissa Maritain and Rafael Alberti which were translated by Thomas Merton. Most of the poems are about spirituality, yet some reflect American culture like an Ode to Ernest Hemingway. The collection concludes with a file containing many draft works by the famous American poet Robert Lax. Lax was a close childhood friend of Merton’s and sent him many poems in his minimalist style.

"The Great Men of Former Times", undated

  • Box 10, folder 42
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"Message to be Inscribed on Mark Van Doren's Hamilton Medal", 1959 March 7

  • Box 10, folder 43
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"Prayer to Saint Anatole", undated

  • Box 10, folder 44
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"Epitaph for a Public Servant (In Memoriam of Adolf Eichmann)", undated

  • Box 10, folder 45
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"Hopeless and Felons", undated

  • Box 10, folder 46
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"Paper Cranes (The Habakusha Come to Gethsemani)", undated

  • Box 10, folder 47
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"With the World in My Bloodstream", 1966 April

  • Box 10, folder 48
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"Roman Nocturnes" by Rafael Alberti, 1966

  • Box 10, folder 49
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"Glass Orchard" unpublished poem by Raissa Maritain, undated

  • Box 10, folder 50
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"The Glove", "Recipe", "Eurydice", "The Cloud", undated

  • Box 10, folder 51
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"Edifying Cables or Letters to a Corridor", undated

  • Box 11, folder 1
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"Early Poems", 1940-1942

  • Box 11, folder 2
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"Advice to a Young Prophet", undated

  • Box 11, folder 3
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"An Elegy for Ernest Hemingway", undated

  • Box 11, folder 4
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"And the Children of Birmingham", undated

  • Box 11, folder 5
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"A Dream at Arles on the Night of the Mistral", 1960

  • Box 11, folder 6
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"Family Ode", undated

  • Box 11, folder 7
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"Elegy for James Thurber", undated

  • Box 11, folder 8
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"Glose on the Sin Ixion", undated

  • Box 11, folder 9
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"Love Winter when the Plant says Nothing", undated

  • Box 11, folder 10
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"Macarius and the Pony", undated

  • Box 11, folder 11
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"Macarius the Younger", undated

  • Box 11, folder 12
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"Message from the Horizon", undated

  • Box 11, folder 13
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"The Moslems' Angels of Death", Algeria, 1961

  • Box 11, folder 14
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"News from the School of Chartres", undated

  • Box 11, folder 15
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"Grace's House", undated

  • Box 11, folder 16
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"Night Flowering Cactus", undated

  • Box 11, folder 17
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"O Sweet Irrational Worship", undated

  • Box 11, folder 18
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"Seven Archaic Images", undated

  • Box 11, folder 19
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"Song for the Death Averroes", undated

  • Box 11, folder 20
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"To Alphonso Cortes", undated

  • Box 11, folder 21
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"What to Think When it Rains Blood", undated

  • Box 11, folder 22
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"Why Everybody Looks Up to Legends and Heroes", undated

  • Box 11, folder 23
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"Jorge Carrera Andrade", undated

  • Box 11, folder 24
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"Ernesto Cardenal", undated

  • Box 11, folder 25
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"Pablo Antonio Cuadra Introductory Notes", undated

  • Box 11, folder 26
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"Pablo Antonio Cuadra", undated

  • Box 11, folder 27
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"La Verdad: Alfonso Cortes", undated

  • Box 11, folder 28
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"Some Poems of Raissa Maritain": translated by Thomas Merton, undated

  • Box 11, folder 29
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"A Song from the Geography of Lograire", undated

  • Box 11, folder 30
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"Hagia Sophia", undated

  • Box 11, folder 31
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"Six Poems": censor's remarks, 1946 May 16

  • Box 11, folder 32
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"The Anatomy of Melancholy", undated

  • Box 11, folder 33
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"Birdcage Walk", undated

  • Box 11, folder 34
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"Early Mass", 1950 November

  • Box 11, folder 35
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"An Elegy for a Monastery Barn", undated

  • Box 11, folder 36
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"Elias: variations on a theme", 1956

  • Box 11, folder 37
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"Landscape", undated

  • Box 11, folder 38
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"Sincerity", undated

  • Box 11, folder 39
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"Spring Storm", undated

  • Box 11, folder 40
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"To a Severe Nun", undated

  • Box 11, folder 41
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"When in the Soul of the Serene Disciple", undated

  • Box 11, folder 42
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"Wisdom", undated

  • Box 11, folder 43
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"Louisville 2", undated

  • Box 11, folder 44
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"The City After Noon", undated

  • Box 11, folder 45
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"Poemas de Thomas Merton: Traduccion de Ernesto Cardena", undated

  • Box 11, folder 46
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Poems from Robert Lax, circa 1959

  • Box 12, folder 22
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Published Articles, 1950-1968, undated

Scope and Contents

The Published Articles series includes writings by Thomas Merton that appeared in major publications during the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the articles concern contemplation and monastic life in the twentieth century. Some of the articles were translated into a foreign languages for publications in Europe and South America.

"Benedictine Rule and Active Presence in the World", 1963

  • Box 11, folder 47
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"Can We Survive Nihilism?", 1967 April 15

  • Box 11, folder 48
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"Pacem in Terris", 1965 February 13

  • Box 11, folder 49
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"Christian Humanis", 1967

  • Box 11, folder 50
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"The Christian Message in a Changing World", 1964

  • Box 11, folder 51
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"Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander"/"We Move Through Anger and Daydreams", 1966 August 5

  • Box 11, folder 52
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"Contemplation in a World of Action", 1968 April

  • Box 11, folder 53
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"Dans Le Desert De Dieu", undate

  • Box 11, folder 54
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"That Earthly Paradise--America", 1967 April 30

  • Box 11, folder 55
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"The English Mystics", 1961 October

  • Box 11, folder 56
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"Epitaph for a Public Servant", 1967 May

  • Box 11, folder 57
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"Four Poems of Cesar Vallejo", 1960

  • Box 11, folder 58
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"Gandhi e il Ciclope", 1966 August

  • Box 11, folder 59
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"Gloss on the Sin of Ixion", 1963 September 21

  • Box 11, folder 60
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"I Will Be Your Monk", 1950 May

  • Box 11, folder 61
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"Review of In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity", undated

  • Box 11, folder 62
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"Le Recuillement", undated

  • Box 11, folder 63
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"Regain the Old Monastic Charism", 1968 January 11

  • Box 11, folder 64
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"Merton's View on Nonviolence", 1968 February

  • Box 12, folder 1
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"Merton y un poema de Alfonso Cortes", 1962 December

  • Box 12, folder 2
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"Monastic Christianity Encounters Spirit of Zen", 1963 April 13

  • Box 12, folder 3
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"Mount Athos", 1959 August

  • Box 12, folder 4
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"Nhat Hanh is My Brother", 1966 June 9

  • Box 12, folder 5
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"Notes on Art", 1956 November

  • Box 12, folder 6
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"Notes on Love", 1967 August

  • Box 12, folder 7
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"Notes on Prayer and Action", circa 1967 April

  • Box 12, folder 8
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"The Originators", undated

  • Box 12, folder 9
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"Poetry and Contemplation: A Repraisal", 1958 October 24

  • Box 12, folder 10
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"Self Denial and the Christian", 1950 March 31

  • Box 12, folder 11
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"Rain and the Rhinoceros: An eminent religious writer reveals the value of solitude", 1965 May

  • Box 12, folder 12
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"The Root of War", 1961 October

  • Box 12, folder 13
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"The Sacred City", undated

  • Box 12, folder 14
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"Saint Bernard et L'Amerique", undated

  • Box 12, folder 15
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"The Self Modern Man and the New Christian Consciousness", 1967 April

  • Box 12, folder 16
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"Review of the Story of Life", 1964 December 4

  • Box 12, folder 17
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"Thomas Merton a Aleksei Surkov", 1958 November 16

  • Box 12, folder 18
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"Thomas Merton on Renunciation", 1950 September

  • Box 12, folder 19
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"Todo y Nada: Writing and Contemplation", 1950

  • Box 12, folder 20
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"Meditations on Christian Unity: We Are One Man", undated

  • Box 12, folder 21
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"Action and Contemplation in St. Bernard", 1953

  • Box 12, folder 23
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"St. Bernard Monk and Apostle", 1953

  • Box 12, folder 24
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Photographs, 190-1967, undated

Scope and Contents

The Photographs series primarily contains photographs of Thomas Merton or the Abbey of Gethsemani. In some of the photographs Merton appears relaxed in jeans and a shirt, however most show Merton in Clerical dress or a monk's robe and poising for the picture.

Circus performers, undated

  • Box 13, item 1
To top

M. Louis make shift and troupe of brothers and soeurs pocket pickers, undated

  • Box 13, item 2
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M. Louis Metback and acrobats, undated

  • Box 13, item 3
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Argentine, Spanish, Italian, Russian friends, undated

  • Box 13, item 4
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Thomas Merton; taken by Ron Person, 1960

  • Box 13, item 5
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Thomas Merton at Gethsemani, 1960

  • Box 13, item 6
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Thomas Merton, 1960 October

  • Box 13, item 7
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Thomas Merton taken by Carolyn Reading Hammer, undated

  • Box 13, item 8
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Thomas Merton in clerical dress, taken at Victor Hammer's home in Lexington, 1966

  • Box 13, item 9
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Thomas Merton taken by Carolyn Hammer, 1967 December

  • Box 13, item 10
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Thomas Merton by a lake taken by Carolyn Reading Hammer, 1967 December 23

  • Box 13, item 11
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Kurt Wolff Locarno, 1960 January

  • Box 14, item 1
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Thomas Merton in nature, undated

  • Box 14, item 2
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Thomas Merton: Variations on a theme!, undated

  • Box 14, item 3
To top

Thomas Merton in nature, undated

  • Box 14, item 4-6
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Scenic view of Gethsemani, undated

  • Box 14, item 7
To top

Thomas Merton and Roscoe Pierson, librarian for Lexington Theological Seminary, 1960 May

  • Box 14, item 8
To top

Thomas Merton, undated

  • Box 14, item 9
To top

Thomas Merton: Fighting Mad!, undated

  • Box 14, item 10
To top

Thomas Merton poising next to a road, undated

  • Box 14, item 11-12
To top

Old Garden House, undated

  • Box 14, item 13
To top

Thomas Merton in nature, undated

  • Box 14, item 14-16
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Old House Barn at Gethsemani, undated

  • Box 1, item 27
  • Box 1, folder 28
To top

UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.

UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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  2. Submit a request for SCRC materials.



You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.