Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968

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Trappist monk and author.

From the description of Thomas Merton Collection, 1940-1986. (Boston College). WorldCat record id: 32689646

Thomas Merton (Father Louis), M.A. Columbia 1939, was a widely read Catholic author and social critic who lived as a member of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, the Trappists, from 1941 till his death in Bangkok in 1968.

From the description of Thomas Merton papers, 1923-1989. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 298686845

Thomas Merton, a monk and author, was born on January 31, 1915. He was raised primarily in Europe by his parents who were artists. He earned a B.A. degree and a M.A. degree from Columbia University (NY). He converted to Catholicism and taught English at St. Bonaventure College (now St. Bonaventure University) in Western New York from 1940-41. He found himself drawn to the contemplative life of the Trappist monks, whose ranks he joined 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, were he died December 10, of accidental electrocution. Merton, prolific writer, 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.

From the description of Thomas Merton Collection, 1753-present, (bulk 1938-1968) (Saint Bonaventure University). WorldCat record id: 42644647

Trappist monk, writer and philosopher.

From the description of Thomas Merton : miscellaneous papers, 1961-1968. (Filson Historical Society, The). WorldCat record id: 49253538

French-born American author, poet, teacher, and Trappist monk.

From the description of Thomas Merton collection, 1940-1968. (Boston University). WorldCat record id: 70967640

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Thomas Merton (Father Louis), M.A. Columbia 1939, was a widely read Catholic author and social critic who lived as a member of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, the Trappists, from 1941 till his death in Bangkok in 1968.

From the guide to the Thomas Merton Papers, 1923-1989, (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library, )

Thomas Merton, Trappist monk and author.

Merton, born in Prades, France, studied both in Europe and America and earned an M.A. in journalism from Columbia University (1939). He converted to Catholicism (1938) and entered Gethsemane Abbey (1941). Merton became a prominent author, gaining international renown for his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948). He was a significant voice for the renewal of the contemplative life in Catholic spirituality. Merton died suddenly on December 10, 1968.

James H. Forest, peace activist and author.

Forest, born 1941, left the Navy as a conscientious objector (1961) and became involved with Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker community as managing editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper. During this time, he became acquainted with Thomas Merton; the two corresponded and became friends. In 1969-1970, Forest served a short prison sentence for his involvement in the "Milwaukee Fourteen," Catholic priests and lay people who burned draft cards. Later he worked for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, eventually serving as General Secretary. Forest has written many books, including Living with wisdom: a life of Thomas Merton (1992).

From the description of James Forest - Thomas Merton Collection, 1915-1996, (bulk 1962-1980). (Boston College). WorldCat record id: 31958298

Monk, author.

Thomas Merton was the son of two artists. He attended Columbia University in New York. He converted to Catholicism in 1938 and found himself drawn to the contemplative life of the Trappist monks whose ranks he joined in 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 10th of an accidental electrocution. Merton won acclaim for his books, poems and articles, beginning with the publication of the autobiographical SEVEN STORY 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.

A prolific writer, Merton produced 139 books and contributed to 104. He wrote 486 pieces for magazines and newspapers in his relatively brief career.

From the description of Thomas Merton letters to Clifford Shaw, 1959-1964. (University of Kentucky Libraries). WorldCat record id: 16016416

Monk, author.

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 found himself drawn to the contemplative life of the Trappist monks, whose ranks he joined 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 1960's 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.

From the description of Thomas Merton collection, 1947-1968. (University of Kentucky Libraries). WorldCat record id: 13765805

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was born in Prades, Pyrennes-Orientales in France, the son of artist Owen Heathcote and Ruth Jenkins Merton. He attended schools in France, England, and the United States, receiving his B.A. (1938) and his M.A. (1939) from Columbia University.

After a brief period teaching English at Columbia (1938-1939) and St. Bonaventure (1939-1941), Merton entered the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where he was ordained as Father M. Louis in 1949. He served as Master of Scholastics (1951-1955) and Master of Novices (1955-1965) at the monastery.

Most of Merton's writing dates from his years at Gethsemani. To one of his correspondents he has suggested that he accomplished very little writing of importance prior to his conversion in 1938. He further stated that his productive years should be divided into three periods: from 1938 to his ordination in 1949, "that is up to Seven Storey Mountain, Waters of Siloe, etc, when I suddenly got to be well known, a best seller, etc,"; a middle period lasting "until somewhere in the early sixties" and ending with Disputed Questions, after which he "began to open up again to the world"; and a third period resulting in works like Seeds of Destruction, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, and Chuang Tzu . With reference to this last period, Merton believed that he was (in 1966) "evolving further with studies on Zen and a new kind of experimental creative drive in prose, poetry, satire, etc."

With respect to his reputation, Merton acknowledged "a lot of critics, particularly among Catholics...Most of them are put of by the fact that I sound at times like a Catholic Norman Mailer. I get on better with non-Catholics, particularly the younger generation, students, hippies, etc." He regretted that many readers knew him only from his earlier "ascetic, conservative, traditional, monastic" publications. In retrospect, he wished that he had never "bother[ed] to write about one third" of the inspirational books.

Thomas Merton wrote several books for New Directions, Harcourt, and Farrar, Strauss, as well as numerous articles for publications such as Commonweal, Blackfriars, Catholic Worker, Collectanea Cisterciensia, Harper's, Sewanee Review, Saturday Review, Jubilee, and other periodicals. Among his poetry titles are Thirty Poems (1944), Figures for an Apocalypse (1948), and Emblems of a Season of Fury (1963). Religion and theology titles include What is Contemplation (1948), Thoughts in Solitude (1958), and Life in Holiness (1963). He also wrote essays, collected in Disputed Questions (1960) and New Seeds of Contemplation (1962), among others. His translations include The Wisdom of the Desert (1960) and Selections from Clement of Alexandria (1963). Other well-known titles include The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), The Sign of Jonas (1953), and Breakthrough to Peace (1962).

Though he tried to shed his reputation as a "spiritual writer," he admitted in 1963 that his work, "both poetry and prose, represents a monastic view of life and implies a rather strong criticism of prevailing trends towards global war, totalism, racism, spiritual inertia, and crass materialism. This criticism is not something I want to repudiate, though I regret an occasional note of acerbity."

In the 1960s Merton was increasingly drawn into a study of the Eastern mystics and domestic issues of war and racism. He died on December 11, 1968 while attending an interfaith conference in southeast Asia.

From the guide to the Thomas Merton Papers, 1960-1968, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. James Forest - Thomas Merton Collection, 1915-1996, (bulk 1962-1980). Boston College, Thomas P. O'Neill Library
referencedIn Approach Archives, 1913-1968 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
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creatorOf Beerbohm, Max, Sir, 1872-1956. Sheed and Ward family papers, 1832-1982. University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library
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creatorOf Thomas Merton Papers, 1923-1989 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Shakertown photographs, [ca. 1960-1968]. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
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creatorOf Sweeney, Francis W., 1916-. Humanities Series : director's records, 1945-2000 (bulk 1957-1998). Boston College, Thomas P. O'Neill Library
referencedIn Pictorial studies photographs by Thomas Merton, [ca. 1950-1968]. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Newspaper clippings on Thomas Merton, 1949-1974. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Joel Weishaus Papers, 1937-2005, 1960-2005 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Contemplation in a world of action manuscript, 1965. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
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creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. The Candlemas procession / words by Thomas Merton, music by Peter R. Hallock. Bellarmine University, W. L. Lyons Brown Library
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referencedIn Tapes of events sponsored by the Thomas Merton studies center, 1967-1980. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
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creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. For my brother: reported missing in action, 1943 / words by Thomas Merton, music by Chrysogonus Waddell. Bellarmine University, W. L. Lyons Brown Library
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creatorOf Thomas Merton Papers, 1960-1968 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
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creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. The captives : for chorus and orchestra / words by Thomas Merton, music by Richard Felciano. Bellarmine University, W. L. Lyons Brown Library
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creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. To my brother / words by Thomas Merton, music by Clifford Stevens. Bellarmine University, W. L. Lyons Brown Library
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referencedIn Tapes of events on Thomas Merton held outside of the Louisville area, 1964-1980. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. Song / words by Thomas Merton, music by Peter R. Hallock. Bellarmine University, W. L. Lyons Brown Library
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creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. An introduction to Cistercian theology : lectures given to the scholastics in the Cistercian abbey of Gethsemani. Saint Anselm College, Saint Anselm College Geisel Library
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creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. ALS [two], 1936 August 18 & 20, Douglaston, N.Y., to Alphred B. Hailparn. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
creatorOf Kraehenbuehl, David. Seven archaic images : variations for full orchestra, based on poems of Thomas Merton / David Kraehenbuehl. Bellarmine University, W. L. Lyons Brown Library
creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. Symbolism : communication or communion? : mimeograph copy of typescript, 1965 June. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn The school of charity: Thomas Merton on monasticism manuscript, 1977. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Manuscripts and proofs of New Directions books, 1937-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972. Papers, [ca. 1917]-1976. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Christian action in world crisis papers, 1962. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Thomas Merton correspondence, [ca. 1950-1973]. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn The school of the spirit manuscript, [ca. 1915-1968]. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Martha, Mary, and Lazarus manuscript, 1956. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
creatorOf Spaeth, Eloise. Eloise and Otto Spaeth papers, 1937-1983. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn My argument with the gestapo manuscript, 1968-1969. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Thomas Merton tapes, edited by Norman Kramer, 1960-1968. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn The climate of monastic prayer papers, 1965-1969. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. Letter, 1967 May 19, to Hadj Abdeslam ben Mohamed / Thomas Merton. Bellarmine University, W. L. Lyons Brown Library
referencedIn Movies with Thomas Merton, 1964-1968. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Christian learning papers, [ca. 1915-1968]. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Journal of my escape from the nazis manuscript, [ca. 1941-1968]. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn An introduction to christian mysticism manuscript, [ca. 1915-1968]. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
creatorOf Banks, Brian, 1964-. Four songs on poems by Thomas Merton / by Brian Banks. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. Letter to [Robert A.] McCown. Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY. 1862 Aug. 18. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Smith, Carleton, 1910-1984. Papers, 1929-1978. Indiana University
referencedIn An introduction to cistercian theology lecture, [ca. 1915-1968]. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani (Trappist, Ky.) corporateBody
associatedWith Abbott, Eric Symes, 1906- person
associatedWith Abdeslam ben Mohamed, Hadj. person
associatedWith Approach magazine. corporateBody
associatedWith Banks, Brian, 1964- person
associatedWith BARBARA DEMING, 1917-1984 person
associatedWith Barzun, Jacques, 1907- person
associatedWith Beckwith, John. person
associatedWith Berrigan, Daniel. person
associatedWith Berrigan, Daniel. person
associatedWith Brown, Harcourt. person
associatedWith Burden, Carter, person
associatedWith Burden, Shirley person
associatedWith Burden, Shirley. person
associatedWith Catholic Church corporateBody
associatedWith Catholic Peace Fellowship. corporateBody
associatedWith Cistercians. corporateBody
associatedWith Connolly, Brendan C. 1913- person
associatedWith Connolly, Terence L. (Terence Leo), 1888-1961. person
associatedWith Day, Dorothy, 1897-1980. person
associatedWith Deming, Barbara, 1917-1984. person
associatedWith DiPalma, Raymond, Correspondence. person
associatedWith Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. corporateBody
associatedWith Felciano, Richard person
associatedWith Ferry, W. H. (Wilbur Hugh) person
associatedWith Fisher, M. F. K. (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-1992. person
correspondedWith Forest, Jim (James H.) person
associatedWith Fredericks, Claude person
associatedWith Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980. person
associatedWith Gooch, Warren, 1953- person
associatedWith Griffin, John Howard, 1920-1980. person
associatedWith Hallock, Peter R. person
associatedWith Hammer, Carolyn Reading, 1911- person
associatedWith Hammer, Victor Karl, 1882-1967. person
associatedWith Hart, Patrick. person
associatedWith Hebblethwaite, Peter. person
associatedWith Johnson, Skip, 1939- person
associatedWith Kotcka, Joseph. person
associatedWith Kraehenbuehl, David. person
associatedWith Laughlin, James, 1914-1997. person
associatedWith Lawergren, bo. person
associatedWith Lax, Robert. person
associatedWith Manhattanville College. Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Maritain, Jacques, 1882-1973. person
associatedWith Mason, Herbert, 1932- person
associatedWith McNiff, Mary Stack. person
associatedWith Merton, Owen, 1887-1931. person
associatedWith Moffitt, John. person
associatedWith Mott, Michael, 1930- person
correspondedWith Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990 person
associatedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
correspondedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
associatedWith Nouwen, Henri J. M. person
associatedWith Ocampo, Victoria, 1890-1979. person
correspondedWith Ocampo, Victoria, 1891- person
associatedWith Pasternak, Boris Leonidovich, 1890-1960. person
associatedWith Paulist Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Pennington, M. Basil. person
associatedWith Percy, Walker, 1916-1990. person
associatedWith Racz, André, 1916- person
associatedWith Reinhold, Hans Ansgar, 1897-1968. person
associatedWith Retzel, Frank. person
associatedWith Rice, Edward. person
associatedWith Rice, Edward. person
associatedWith Rose, Barbara person
associatedWith Rose, Barbara. person
associatedWith Shaw, Clifford. person
associatedWith Sih, Paul K. T. (Kwang Tsien), 1910- , person
associatedWith Sih, Paul K. T. (Paul Kwang Tsien), 1910- person
correspondedWith Smith, Carleton, 1910-1984. person
associatedWith Smith, Grover Cleveland, 1923- person
associatedWith Somoza Debayle, Luis, 1922-1967. person
associatedWith Spaeth, Eloise. person
associatedWith Stevens, Clifford. person
associatedWith Stone, Naomi Burton. person
associatedWith Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro, 1870-1966. person
associatedWith Sweeney, Francis W., 1916- person
associatedWith Thomas Merton Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Thompson, Lawrence S. (Lawrence Sidney), 1916-1986. person
associatedWith Trappists corporateBody
associatedWith Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972. person
associatedWith Van Horn, A. person
associatedWith Waddell, Chrysogonus. person
associatedWith Waugh, Evelyn, 1903-1966. person
associatedWith Weishaus, Joel person
associatedWith Weishaus, Joel, 1939- person
correspondedWith Yourcenar, Marguerite. person
associatedWith Zorina, Vera. person
associatedWith Zukofsky, Louis, 1904-1978 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Kentucky--Trappist
United States
Subject
American literature--Catholic authors
Christian life--Catholic authors
Monks--Correspondence
Monasteries--History--Sources
Publishers and publishing--Correspondence
Monks
Spirituality
Catholics
Literature--American Poetry
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Religious aspects
Poets, American
College yearbooks
Authors, American--20th century
American literature--20th century
War--Religious aspects--Christianity
Contemplation
Pacifism--Religious aspects--History--Sources
Monasticism and religious orders
Authors and publishers--History--20th century--Sources
Authors, American--20th century--Manuscripts
Religion and philosophy
Monasticism and religious orders--History--Sources
Music--Manuscripts--Facsimiles
Monasticism and religious life
Poets, American--20th century
Authors, American
Catholic authors--20th century
Peace movements--History--20th century--Sources
Spiritual life--Catholic Church
American poetry--20th century
Church and clergy
Religious literature
Religious poetry
Occupation
Authors
Monks
Clergy
Poets
Authors, American
Poets, American
Function

Person

Birth 1915-01-31

Death 1968-12-10

Americans

Latin,

English,

German

Information

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