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Archival description
University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections Henri Nouwen fonds Series
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Administrative resources files

Series consists of administrative resources files which were maintained for Nouwen by Nouwen's administrative staffs from 1983 to 1997. These files contain materials collected by Nouwen in order to assist him with his roles as pastor, writer, researcher, and friend. In addition to subject-based material such as newspaper clippings and brochures, it is evident that Nouwen's administrative assistants at Daybreak used these files to hold administrative material related to liturgical events such as Christmas, Lent, and Easter, as well as other aspects of Nouwen's duties in the community. These files were likely maintained as a resource for Nouwen regarding his daily work.

The titles of the files are taken directly from the file labels created by Nouwen and his administrative assistants, unless otherwise noted. The files are arranged by subject or topic (such as Latin America, Vincent van Gogh, or Abbey of the Genesee), are in alphabetical order, and materials within the files have been maintained chronologically. Many of the materials have been placed in this series because they contain annotations, either by Nouwen or an assistant, saying "File" with the subject or name or "File - Resource files."

Calendar files

Series consists of files containing correspondence and other material related to Nouwen's day to day engagements. Nouwen received dozens of invitations each month to give lectures or talks, lead retreats, preside at religious occasions, and provide spiritual direction. Requests came from a wide range of institutions, organisations and individuals, the majority having some sort of religious affiliation. Invitations from institutions included university divinity schools, seminaries, hospital pastoral departments, churches, and Christian retreat centres. Invitations from organisations included the National Catholic AIDS Network, the Ministry of Money, and the Archdiocese of Toronto. Invitations from individuals included requests for Nouwen to preside over masses, weddings, funerals, baptisms and ordinations, and those interested in personal spiritual direction. Such requests often came from priests, ministers, pastors, and chaplains. The majority of Nouwen's engagements took place in the Northeastern United States, Southern Ontario, and Holland. However, he also attended events in Illinois, Texas, California, British Columbia, Quebec, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Ukraine. After Nouwen's move to L'Arche Daybreak in 1986, files were created to plan and document special events associated with his role as pastor. There are files regarding community meetings, community weekends, assistant workshops, visits to other L'Arche communities and meetings of the International Federation of L'Arche.
Generally, when an invitation was accepted a file was created and arranged chronologically according to the date of the event. In some cases the file contains material regarding events scheduled in the same city and in the case of 1985 material regarding an entire months schedule. However, typically the files are organised by event/engagement. In addition to the date of the event the title of the file would often include the name of a person or organisation and/or the event and/or the location of the event. A typical file consists of the initial letter of invitation describing the nature of the request, follow-up correspondence to confirm dates and other arrangements, details regarding Nouwen's role at the event, drafts of promotional material, reference material on the organization(s) involved, the event, the issue and the location, and travel documents. In some cases, the file will also contain handwritten or typed notes, copies of outgoing letters, schedules, programs, bulletins, evaluations completed by attendees, thank you letters and cards from the organiser of the events and others, newspaper clippings of the events and/or the published version of his speech or lecture. Outgoing letters only begin to be seen after 1986 and after that they are not consistent. Much of the correspondence after 1986 is further enriched by the annotations of Nouwen and his assistants Connie Ellis (1986-1992) and Kathy Christie (1992-1996) at L'Arche Daybreak. Other members of the community, including Sue Mosteller, Joe Vorstermans, Nathan Ball and Elizabeth Buckley, also contributed to the files.
The files were created between 1980 and 1996, however, the file titles themselves extend to 1998 because events were often scheduled two or more years in advance. There are no files for January 1982 to April 1985. The files from 1985 contain invitations only from March to August grouped by month. There are no files for June 1987 to May 1990. Approximately 74% of the files in the series are for June 1990 to August 1995. Their are only a small number of files for September 1995 to October 1998, this is likely because Nouwen was on sabbatical from September 1995 to September 1996. The files contain gaps and inconsistencies due to Nouwen's frequent movement between 1982 and 1986 as well as changes in Nouwen's support staff and their differing recordkeeping techniques.
This series provides an excellent overview of Nouwen's schedule of events and specific information regarding his participation at those events. Noteworthy are the handwritten and typed notes used for speaking engagements (some are unpublished) as well as copies of outgoing letters written by Nouwen.

Collected materials

Series consists of material collected by Nouwen on topics, people, and issues of interest. Nouwen used this material for articles, books, lectures, talks, sermons, general interest, and as reference for his duties as pastor, friend, researcher, and writer. Includes journal articles, books, sound recordings, newspaper clippings, photographs, newsletters, and manuscripts. See sub-series level descriptions for more detail.

The series has been arranged in the following six sub-series:
1.12.1. Materials regarding Thomas Merton
1.12.2. Circus material (excluding unpublished manuscripts which are located in the Manuscript Series)
1.12.3. Collected articles
1.12.4. Collected audio cassettes
1.12.5. Postcards and icons
1.12.6. Materials regarding Seward Hiltner

Ephemera and artifacts

  • CA ON00389 F4-14
  • Series
  • [1957 - 1996], predominant 1980 - 1996
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Series consists of ephemera and artifacts collected by or given to Nouwen throughout his lifetime, including awards and honorary degrees, materials kept in his office and home, promotional materials, artwork, postcards, religious artifacts, and personal artifacts.

Series has been arranged in the following seven sub-series according to their function:
1.14.1. Awards and honourary degrees;
1.14.2. Contents of Nouwen's office;
1.14.3. Promotional material for lectures, workshops and special events;
1.14.4. Collected artwork;
1.14.5. Personal effects;
1.14.6. Postcards, cards and prints;
1.14.7. Religious artifacts.

Financial files

  • CA ON00389 F4-6
  • Series
  • December 1980 - December 1997, predominant August 1986 - September 1996
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Series consists of Nouwen's financial files dating from 1980 and 1997, predominantly from 1986 -1997. Prior to 1986 Nouwen's personal accountant kept the majority of Nouwen's records and likely discarded them after the mandatory seven years retention period. The records from this time period are therefore minimal and consist primarily of financial overviews, cash books and American bank and retirement accounts and insurance files. After 1986, the records become more detailed and voluminous, including files about Nouwen's income (stipends, donations and royalties), expenses, taxes, insurance, retirement plans, credit cards and bank accounts.

Although the boxes were in no discernable order, they have been arranged in the following six sub-series by taking into account both the function of the records and the Nouwen staff member responsible for the maintenance of the majority of the records in that grouping:

1.6.1. General Files
1.6.2. Ledgers
1.6.3. Personal Accountant Files
1.6.4. Expenses Files
1.6.5. Cheque and Deposit Books
1.6.6. Donations Files

A more detailed description of each sub-series, as well as each sub-series arrangement can be found in the sub-series descriptions.

The files were created and kept by various secretaries and financial secretaries that Nouwen hired to control his complicated and extensive financial accounts. In the mid-1970s Nouwen hired Joe Sarno as his personal accountant. Sarno was responsible for Nouwen's income tax returns, American bank accounts and retirement funds until 1994 when Nouwen decided to consolidate his accounts to Daybreak. Carol Plantinga served as his financial secretary from the mid-1970s to 1986. From 1983-1985 Nouwen's assistant Peter Weiskel also worked with the financial files. At Daybreak, Connie Ellis took on the roles of both administrative assistant and financial secretary. After Ellis' became ill in 1992 Kathy Christie became Nouwen's administrative assistant and Lydia Banducci was hired as his financial secretary. Christie remained with Nouwen until his death in 1996. In 1993 Banducci was replaced by Margaret Sutton. Sutton remained in this position until 1997. In 1994 Nouwen began to consolidate all his financial and accounting information at Daybreak. Completing Nouwen's 1994 tax return was Sarno's last responsibility as his accountant. In 1996 Sutton arranged for all the records created and kept by Sarno to be transferred to Daybreak. Nouwen began transferring his accounting to account manager Alka Vijan at Canada Trust in 1994.

General files

Series consists of more than 16 000 letters received by Henri Nouwen between 1964 and 1997. Some files include photographs and other printed material sent to Nouwen as enclosures. In some instances, a copy of Nouwen's typed letter of reply is also included in the file.

Manuscripts

Series consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of more than 150 books and articles, forewords and introductions, sermons, and talks by Henri Nouwen. The date range of the materials is from 1956 to 1996. The series contains drafts of 49 of his articles and drafts of 41 books (Nouwen published over 300 articles and 39 books in his lifetime). In addition to handwritten drafts or typescripts some files may also include loose notes (usually background reading notes), galley and print proofs, administrative papers, correspondence regarding the materials, and photographs and artwork used in the process of publication.

The materials in the Series reflect Nouwen’s general writing process: for the most part he hand-wrote his works on foolscap or in hard-back journals, often he created reading notes pertaining to the subject he was writing on, drafts were typed by an administrative assistant and then circulated to friends and other readers for comment. He saved all of the drafts, often incorporating the notes made by himself and other readers, in order to create one final work.

Common themes present in the drafts include: spirituality, love, God, psychology, theology, relationships, prayer, ministry, and Christian life. Nouwen often reflected on his own spiritual journey and experiences in his works in journal form. This writing was often deeply personal and it is for this reason that some of the manuscripts and drafts are restricted from use, including Man at the Watershed, A Spiritual Journey, Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given (parts of which were published in Life of the Beloved), The Inner Voice of Love, Adam, and Sabbatical Journey.

With exception of the sermons, most material has been published. Eight transcripts have been identified as unpublished, including a book on Anton T. Boisen based on Nouwen’s doctoral thesis, a draft of a work about Nouwen’s friend Richard Alan White, and notes for a book Nouwen began in 1991 regarding the trapeze and the spiritual life as well as some of the restricted material listed above. See file descriptions for more information on each work.

The series has been arranged into two sub-series:

    1. Books and articles
    1. Talks and sermons

Each of these sub-series has sub-sub-series, files, and items. They have been arranged chronologically.

Nouwen's education records and study notes

Series consists of research notes, papers and essays, and reading notes created by Nouwen throughout his own education. Series includes records related to Nouwen's advanced degrees in Psychology and Theology, including research for dissertations.

Nouwen graduated from St. Aloysius College Gymnasium on June 12, 1950. He studied at the minor seminary at Apeldoorn from 1950-1951 before entering the Diocesan Seminary at Rijsenburg, Holland in 1951. He studied Philosophy and Theology while in the seminary from 1951-1957, and was ordained on July 21, 1957. Nouwen studied Psychology at the University of Nijmegen from 1957-1964. He spent two years at the Menninger Clinic as a Fellow in Religion and Psychiatry from 1964-1966. From 1970-1971, Nouwen returned to the University of Nijmegen to pursue a doctoral degree in Theology.

Series has been arranged into the following seven sub-series:
1.8.1. Gymnasium records
1.8.2. Seminary records
1.8.3. Psychology degree records
1.8.4. Menninger Clinic records
1.8.5. Pre-Theology degree 1966 records
1.8.6. Theology degree records
1.8.7. School certificates

Personal records

Series consists of records of a personal nature which were created and kept by Nouwen throughout his life. These materials are arranged into sub-series and files which reflect the main value of that grouping of personal records.

This series has been arranged into five sub-series:
1.4.1. Weekly calendars
1.4.2. Retreat and discernment notes
1.4.3. Personal papers
1.4.4. Family papers
1.4.5. Official documents

Series also contains two files: address books and mailing lists for books.

Photographs

Series consists of colour and black and white photographs (including negatives) accumulated by Nouwen, and colour slides taken by him and others. Photographs not taken by Nouwen were gathered mainly from friends and acquaintances through correspondence, over a period of approximately 30 years. The photographs were stored by Nouwen and his administrative assistant(s) in files, or displayed on one of several large bulletin boards Nouwen used in his office and photograph albums compiled. Some photographs that arrived with correspondence were kept in the General Files series with their letter of origin, while others which were not clearly attached to a letter were separated and added to this series.

Subject matter depicted in the photographs include professional portraits of Nouwen; Nouwen in both his professional and private capacities at: the Yale and Harvard Divinity Schools, and at L'Arche Daybreak (leading church services, at birthdays and Christmas celebrations), religious events (baptisms, first communions, ordinations and weddings); as well as his travels to Peru and Bolivia, the United States, France, and other countries; and with his family in the Netherlands both as a child and as an adult. Photographs also depict Nouwen's friends, their families, and L'Arche Daybreak assistants and core members. In addition, a large number of photographs in this series (approximately one fifth), document Nouwen's time spent in Germany with a flying trapeze troupe, The Flying Rodleighs.

Slides were taken by Nouwen of Martin Luther King, Jr’s civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, in March 1965; of the University of Notre Dame; vacations, including a trip to Greece; and of Nouwen with Rodleigh Stevens of The Flying Rodleighs in 1995.

This series is arranged in three sub-series:

1.15.1. Photographs Accumulated by Henri Nouwen
1.15.2. Early Personal Photographs
1.15.3. Photograph Albums

The series include both file- and item-level descriptions. Photographs and slides are arranged in chronological order where possible.

Published works

Series consists of published works written and collected by Nouwen during his lifetime. Although there are some of his earliest writings dating from 1956, the series is predominantly dating from 1970 to 1996.

The series has been arranged in the following ten sub-series taking into account the author(s), subject(s), and format of the records:

1.9.1. Articles by Nouwen
1.9.2. Articles co-authored by Nouwen
1.9.3. Interviews of and articles about Nouwen
1.9.4. Book reviews
1.9.5. Scrapbook 1956-1965
1.9.6. Scrapbook 1965-1982
1.9.7. Books by Nouwen
1.9.8. Books contributed to by Nouwen
1.9.9. Books about Nouwen
1.9.10. Guides

A more detailed description of each sub-series, as well as each subseries arrangement can be found in the sub-series descriptions.

Publisher files

Series consists of correspondence and other material related to the business of publishing. The files provide the researcher with detailed and comprehensive information about the genesis and publication of most of Nouwen's books, as well as biographical information about Nouwen the writer, the business man, and the man.

The series is arranged alphabetically and divided into nine sub-series based on names of the main publishers of Nouwen's books:
1.5.1. Ave Maria Press files
1.5.2. Crossroad/Continuum Publishing Group files
1.5.3. Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd. files
1.5.4. Doubleday files, Harper San Francisco files
1.5.5. Lannoo files
1.5.6. Orbis Books files
1.5.7. Verlag Herder files
1.5.8. General publisher files

With the exception of the General files, these files represent the major publishers that Nouwen worked with from 1973 to 1996. Although the files contain material on all books published up to Nouwen's death, since his first book was published in 1969, it can be presumed that some of the correspondence and documents from 1969 to 1972 are missing.

The files may include: business correspondence discussing book ideas, titles of books and other issues, including copies of outgoing letters containing Nouwen's response to all stages of publication; business documents such as draft manuscripts, revised manuscripts with annotations, responses to manuscripts by editors and other readers, draft illustrations and mock booklets for design purposes, galleys, page proofs, royalties and advance statements, original publisher/author agreements and contracts; personal correspondence between Nouwen and his editors. The files also contain outgoing correspondence by Nouwen's various assistants over the years, including Connie Ellis, Kathy Christie, Lydia Banducci, Margaret Sutton, Peter Weiskel, Joseph Sarno, Carol Plantinga, Deborah A. Hawkins and Vincent Masi.

The files relate primarily to book publication, however, they also contain material about the publication of articles and audiocassettes, video, material related to requests from publishers for endorsements, forewords and introductions to the books of other writers, and in some cases, especially in the General Publisher files sub-series, requests for permission to publish parts of Nouwen's work and translation rights to his books. Correspondence can be found from publishers in the Netherlands, the former East Germany, Belgium, England, France, Spain, Poland, Italy, South Africa, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

In all descriptions, working book titles are followed by published titles, if different.

Sound recordings

Series consists of audio cassettes of Nouwen giving lectures at universities, speaking at churches, conferences and other engagements, parts of and complete books on tape and recordings from radio shows and interviews. Some of the material was professionally produced and some are amateur recordings.

Teaching materials

  • CA ON00389 F4-7
  • Series
  • 1966 - 1985, 1994; predominant 1971 - 1981
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Series consists of materials created by Nouwen for use in his capacity as a professor and instructor. These materials include notes for lectures, reading notes, class lists, handouts for students, class schedules, course evaluations, audio recordings of lectures, and records related to the administration of courses.

Series has been divided into two sub-series:

1.7.1. Course handouts, lecture, reading and students notes (1966 - 1994, predominant 1972 - 1981). This sub-series also includes 14 audio recordings of Nouwen's lectures and 357 art slides which he used in his lectures on Van Gogh.
1.7.2. Administrative records (1966 - 1994, predominant 1983-1985)

Further details can be found on the sub-series description level.

Video recordings of Nouwen

Series consists of video recordings of Nouwen as lecturer, retreat leader, conference leader and television program guest. Many of these videocassettes were given to Nouwen by the organizers's of events in which he participated. There is one sub-series in this series: video recordings accumulated by Nouwen, and there are several sub-sub series. Multiple cassettes from a single event are available for Nouwen at Earlham College; Nouwen at Catholic Charities Volunteer Development Conference; Nouwen on Robert Schuller's Hour of Power; Video Recordings of 'Overal et Nergens' and Nouwen at L'Arche Stratford. The remaining videocassettes consist of thirty-three videocassettes of addresses, lectures, interviews and sermons given by Nouwen at conferences, retreats, churches and other locations from 1983 to 1996.