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Henri Nouwen fonds
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Henri Nouwen fonds

  • CA ON00389 F4
  • Fonds
  • 1910 - 1997, 1964 - 1996 predominant

Fonds consists of 15 series:

  1. Manuscripts
  2. General files
  3. Calendar files
  4. Personal records
  5. Publisher files
  6. Financial files
  7. Teaching materials
  8. Nouwen’s education records and study notes
  9. Published works
  10. Video recordings of Nouwen
  11. Sound recordings
  12. Collected materials
  13. L'Arche Daybreak administrative files
  14. Ephemera and artifacts
  15. Photographs

Nouwen, Henri J.M.

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 Eight transcripts have been identified as unpublished, including a book on Anton T. Boisen based on Nouwen’s doctoral thesis, a draft of a work about Nouwen’s friend Richard Alan White, and notes for a book Nouwen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.

Books and articles

Sub-series consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of many of Nouwen's published and unpublished books and articles, including forewords, introductions and afterwords for other authors' books. The sub-series represents Nouwen's writing process, from miscellaneous notes and journal entries to galley and print proofs. Some articles contain subject matter later published in Nouwen's full-length books; links between them have been made where appropriate. The sub-series has been divided into sub-sub-series for each of Nouwen's book-length projects, as well as files.
The sub-sub-series are as follows:

  1. Book on Anton T. Boisen
  2. Intimacy
  3. With Open Hands
  4. Aging
  5. Out of Solitude
  6. Reaching Out
  7. Genesee Diary
  8. Man at the Watershed
  9. Clowning in Rome
  10. In Memoriam
  11. A Cry for Mercy
  12. Downward Mobility
  13. A Letter of Consolation
  14. Compassion
  15. Gracias! A Latin American Journal
  16. A Spirituality of Peacemaking
  17. Love in a Fearful Land: A Guatemalan Story
  18. Lifesigns
  19. Behold the Beauty of the Lord
  20. Letters to Marc about Jesus
  21. The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey
  22. Heart Speaks to Heart
  23. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership
  24. Theology as Doxology
  25. L'Arche and the World
  26. A Spiritual Journey
  27. Mary, Mother of the Priests
  28. Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given
  29. The Life of the Beloved
  30. Show Me the Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent
  31. The Return of the Prodigal Son
  32. Circus Diary
  33. Ukrainian Diary: July 24-August 14, 1993
  34. Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Giving
  35. With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life
  36. The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey through Anguish to Freedom
  37. Can You Drink the Cup?
  38. Ministry and Spirituality: Three Books in One
  39. Adam: God's Beloved
  40. Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith
  41. Sabbatical Journey: The Final Year
  42. Articles

Photographs for A spirituality of peacemaking

File consists of photographs of illustrations by Channing Theime intended to be used in "A Spirituality of Peacemaking", using the working title, "Peace Work". Photographs include three photographs of drawings of Nouwen and five print proofs ("stats") of drawings related to sections and chapters of "Peace Work". File includes a letter from Theime, a photocopy of a rough illustration for the book jacket, and photocopies of the five illustrations with notes explaining their connection to each section of the book attached. File also includes an envelope and receipt for the photograph of the drawing of Nouwen, made out to Theime.

Photograph for A spirituality of peacemaking

Item consists of a photographs of black and white drawings of Henri Nouwen by Channing Theime. The drawings feature Nouwen's profile. He appears to be talking and his hands are gesturing in front of him.

Photographs for Behold the beauty of the Lord

File consists of three photographs depicting a painting of an icon for use in "Behold the Beauty of the Lord". Two photographs depict the painting displayed on a easel, with grass and/or trees in the background, while the third photograph is a close-up of the painting. File also includes a blank photo card featuring a photograph entitled, "Restoration", and envelopes and a business card from Sooter's (Richmond Hill, ON).

Photograph for Behold the beauty of the Lord

Item consists of a photograph of a close-up of a painting of an icon featuring Mary and baby Jesus.This photograph appears to have been cut from a larger page of photographs, as there is an uneven line at the bottom edge. The photograph was used in Nouwen's book, Behold the Beauty of the Lord.

Photograph card for Behold the beauty of the Lord

Item consists of a blank photo card featuring a photograph entitled, "Restoration." The photograph features a table with a table cloth, a lit candle, a brown and grey chalice, and a plate with a loaf of bread. An open book can be seen resting on the table behind the bread. Metal folding chairs can be seen in the background.

Photographs and images for The road to Daybreak

  • CA ON00389 F4-1-1-43-1, 43-2, 43-3, 43-4, 43-5, 43-6, 43-7, 43-8, 43-9
  • File
  • August 1985 - April 1986
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

File consists of photographs (including negatives and slides), and images (such as cards, postcards and pamphlets), accumulated by Nouwen during his travels and used in preparation for "The Road to Daybreak". Also included are envelopes annotated with explanations of the photographs and other images.

Talks and sermons

Sub-series consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of many of Nouwen's published and unpublished talks (including informal talks and formal lectures), and sermons (including several marriage homilies). The sub-series represents Nouwen's process of preparing for public speaking, from miscellaneous notes to annotated typescripts of talks intended for publication. Some talks and sermons contain subject matter later published in Nouwen's articles and full-length books; links between them have been made where appropriate. This sub-series also includes transcripts of Nouwen's talks made by others. It has been divided into a sub-sub-series for notebooks regarding sermons and other speaking events given by Nouwen, files, and items.

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

Postcards and icons

Sub-series consists of approximately 500 postcards and icons collected by Nouwen. The postcards are blank except for three which contain letters on the verso. Nouwen maintained the collection of postcards and icons in three plastic index card boxes. The first section contains postcards largely of a religious nature, including architecture churches, monasteries, etc. from around the world) and artwork by Van Gogh, Chagall, Rodin, Degas, Renoir, Barlach, and others, as well as postcards of New York. Also contains a photograph of a sculpture of Jesus on the cross and the three postcards with letters.
The second section contains postcards of a religious nature, including architecture (churches, monasteries, etc. from around the world) and artwork by Renoir, Van Gogh, Rodin, and others. Also contains postcards of people, flowers and nature scenes, and scenes of places from predominantly around the US.
The third section contains envelopes of icons and postcards. The envelopes are labelled "Icons", "Marthe Robin", "Archives", "Abbey of the Genesee", "Marthe Robin", "Genesee", "Rembrandt", "Check For Archives" and "Freiburg Cards". Also contains some loose cards in the back, as well as a photograph of a picture of Edith Stein in 1925 and a photograph of a church, inscribed in Dutch on the back. This box also contains icon ordination cards from the 25th anniversary of Nouwen's ordination.

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."

Abbey of the Genesee file

  • CA ON00389 F4-13-14055
  • File
  • 1982 - 1996, predomonant 1982 - 1985
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

File consists of twelve letters from Brother Christian at the Abbey of the Genesee between 1982 and 1996, predominantly 1982-1985. File also contains a photograph and copies of two articles with one of the articles referring to Nouwen's death.

Art/artists - Resources file

File consists of two copies of Rembrandt’s self-portrait, a Spring 1989 newsletter from The Pierpont Morgan Library with an article mentioning Rembrandt and a guide to the Rembrandt exhibit at the Rijksmuseum with a small print of the Rembrandt's Prodigal Son. Also included is a postcard depicting "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" by Rembrandt and a slide featuring the same painting.

File also consists of an article about an art installation titled "Celestial Vault at Kijkduin" by James Turrell. This was an installation in the dunes near The Hague, created by Turrell (an American artist). There is also an article titled "Een cilinder vol zeegeruis" by Jan Wolkers, a Dutch author and artist.

Photograph of Nouwen

Item consists of a slide featuring a photograph of Nouwen. Nouwen is wearing a white collared shirt and a plaid tie. He is gesturing towards the camera.

Photograph of Nouwen

Item consists of a slide featuring a photograph of Nouwen. Nouwen is wearing a white collared shirt and a plaid tie. He is smiling at the camera and leaning his face onto his left arm.

Photograph of Nouwen

Item consists of a headshot of Nouwen. Nouwen is wearing black sweater and tie, and smiling at the camera.

Photograph of Nouwen

Item consists of a headshot of Nouwen. Nouwen is wearing black sweater and tie, and is looking to the right of the camera and smiling. This photograph was taken by a professional photographer, but the photographer is unknown.

Photograph of Nouwen and unknown man

Item consists of a photograph of Nouwen talking to an unknown man. Nouwen is wearing a black sweater and black tie. Nouwen is photographed from the side, and is using his hands to talk. The man is wearing a tie, sweater, and suit jacket. His arms are crossed and he is facing Nouwen.

Photograph of Nouwen

Item consists of a photograph of Nouwen wearing zip up sweater, white collared shirt and tie, smiling to the left of the camera.

Photograph of Nouwen

Item consists of a photograph of Nouwen wearing zip up sweater, white collared shirt and tie. He is leaning on his right knee and smiling to the right of the camera.

Photograph of Nouwen and others

Item consists of a photograph of Nouwen at Abbey of the Genesee (wearing grey hooded tunic with belt) and standing with four men (L to R): Mark Haynes, Dan Thomas, Mark Hunt, and Tim Senior. All of the men are smiling at the camera. Tim Senior is holding a copy of Henri Nouwen's book Making All Things New in his right hand.

El Salvador file

File consists of materials pertaining to the play “A peasant of El Salvador” and its performance at Yale Divinity School that was organized by Nouwen in 1983. File also includes a promotional package for the play, the contract for the performance and a promotional photograph.

Icon framing file

File consists of materials relating to icons such as a newspaper article, a letter from Sharon Gill Jones and two photographs of an icon Jones painted. File also includes a map and guide to Cologne and the cathedral.

Icon reproductions file

File consists of graphic material such as photographs, colour slides, negatives and proof sheets related to icons. File also contains an article on one of the icons and several postcards depicting icons. Some of the icons photographed in this series appear in Nouwen's book "Behold the beauty of the Lord: Praying with icons" and it is possible that these photographs were used in the book. The icons include: "The savior of Zvenigorod", "The virgin of Vladimir", "The Holy Trinity", and the icon that Nouwen used for his 25th anniversary ordination card. The file also contains two photographs, Item P2939 of an unidentified icon and Item P2940 a photograph of a cheery blossom tree in full bloom.

Icons from France file

File consists of several stamps and postcards of icons such as Saint Sharbel, The Holy Trinity and The virgin of Vladimir. File also contains a photograph of a painting of Saint Sharbel (Item P2921) and a photograph of an icon of Mary and Jesus, possibly by Peter BTSR Korsuiskia (Item P2922).

Latin America - Bolivia file

  • CA ON00389 F4-13-14190
  • File
  • 1982 - 1988, predominant 1986 - 1988
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

File consists of letters from Félix Gregori and Alcibíades Rodriguez Suarez as well as newsletters pertaining to Latin America called "Andean focus" and "Update". File also contains a photograph attached to the letter dated December 23, 1986, in which Alcibíades Rodriguez Suarez asks Nouwen to sponsor his four month old son to be baptized.

Photograph of Michael Alex

Item consists of one photograph of a small boy, approximately four months old, sitting on a stone ground with grass behind him. This is the son of Aleibiades Rodriguez Suarez, a man from Bolivia that wrote to Nouwen asking him to sponsor the boy so he could be baptized.

Lent - resources

File consists of materials regarding Lent, including an invitation to participate in common Lenten disciplines from Dayspring Team; booklet titled "Keeping Lent in our Home"; text titled "The Passion"; notes; and correspondence regarding planning Lent activities. File also contains a photograph of a mosaic of Jesus.

Letter to Janet Munro

File consists of a letter to Janet Munro from Henri Nouwen regarding his performance as a clown on his 60th birthday. It is titled "Response by Henri Nouwen (to replace "Life as a Daybreak Pastor"). Nouwen writes "The call to be reborn as a clown really had a lot of significance for me and I do feel that all the members of the Daybreak community helped me in this marvellous rebirth. Now I will need a lot of help to use the years ahead of me to grow up as a reborn clown so that I can announce the good news of Jesus with new conviction and new hope. As Pastor of Daybreak I am glad that I can invite everybody of the community to be reborn and to be clowns for God." He mentions Easter, Holy Week, Connie's illness, Lori's baptism, Mark and Moahengi's reception into the Catholic Church, and the first communion of several people. All of these events "became part of the large mystery of our becoming through Jesus the beloved sons and daughters of God." Includes a photograph of Nouwen as a clown.

Photograph of Henri Nouwen

Item consists of one photograph of Henri Nouwen at his 60th birthday party. He is dressed in a dark clown's costume and is standing with his arms outstretched and a huge grin on his face. There are several members, mostly children, of the L'Arche community going up to him to touch him.

Peru file

File consists of materials relating to Peru, such material include letters written in Spanish, Peru Update newsletters and a newspaper article. File also contains two photographs attached to the letter dated August 21, 1984.

Photograph of Helene Corbin

File consists of a laminated photograph of Helene Corbin (1983-1991) with note printed on back with name, dates of birth and death, and note in French about her L'Arche home.

Rabbula: Icon of glory file

File consists of materials relating to the Rabbula: Icon of Glory, these materials include three photographs of icons with a sticky in S. Ron's hand: "The Slide Program Icon Glory will offer the information on these."; two audio cassette tapes of the slide show and a paper copy of a slide show. The file also contains a manuscript pertaining to Rabbula Gospel. The materials appear to have been given to Nouwen by S. Ron.

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