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Archival description
Henri Nouwen fonds
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Sabbatical scrapbook

File consists of a scrapbook created by members of L'Arche Daybreak as a gift for Nouwen for his sabbatical in 1995. It consists of photographs of the Woodery, Green House, Genesis Place, card from Centre Street, card from Thelus [George], Peter Rotterman, David Gray, card (with photograph of a sunrise) from Wendy, note from The Hermitage, notes from the Red House, notes from Friends (Judy & Alan Steers, Mary Bee, Martha [Crealock?], Stephanie & Joe Vorstermans and family, Beth), notes from Seniors, notes from the Big House, notes from Office Folks (Wayne & Susan, Wendy & George, Tracey, Jennifer; Myrna, Sue Mosteller), the New House, Church Street, photographs, Stephenson.

Unidad Escolar file

File consists of correspondence between Nouwen and Unidad Escolar between August 1986 and September 1987. File includes copies of typed letters from Nouwen to Unidad Escolar. File also contains six photographs depicting the construction of a building, the photographs are attached to the letter dated November 4, 1986.

Nouwen and [Priests of L'Arche]

Item consists of a photograph of Nouwen posing for the camera with four other men. Nouwen is seated on the floor leaning against a coffee table that contains papers, a chalice, and a candle. He is wearing a tan sweater. There is a man kneeling next to him with his hand on his shoulder, and there are three men standing behind them.

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.

Awards and honourary degrees

Sub-series consists of awards and honourary degrees bestowed upon Henri Nouwen by various academic institutions, religious and community organizations, and literary associations, including correspondence and memorabilia relating to the awards and award ceremonies.

Honourary Doctorate of Human Letters, Earlham College

File consists of the honourary Doctor of Human Letters diploma Nouwen received from Earlham College (Richmond, IN) and the contents of a photo album, creator unknown, containing a copy of the diploma, memorabilia from the event and photographs of the campus.
Items in the photo album include: a copy of the Doctor of Human Letters diploma, the convocation citation (author unknown); a program for the convocation; a program for the Earlham College Religious Emphasis Week; a photograph of the convocation; a photograph of the Nouwen speaking at Earlham College; and five photographs taken by T. Strickland of the Earlham College campus, including one each of the ESR Community Building, Earlham Hall, Lilly Library, Carpenter Hall (1987) and one entitled "Campus Scenes, Earlham Hall" (1989).

Framed triptych photographs of two unidentified boys

Item consists of one frame with three photographs of unidentified boys, including one photo (left) of a blond boy age 3-5 years in a striped sweater, one photo (right) of a blond boy age 8-10 years in a brown sweater and tie, and one photo of both of these boys together with different clothing.

"An Evening of Reflections with Henri Nouwen" poster

Item consists of one poster advertising "An Evening of Reflections with Henri Nouwen", which took place on November 11, 1993 at Saint James Church (New York, NY). Two copies of the poster are autographed by Nouwen.

Collected artwork

Sub-series consists of artwork depicting Henri Nouwen and other framed images and sculptures, which may have been displayed in Nouwen's office or living space.

Charcoal drawing of Henri Nouwen

Item consists of one charcoal sketch of Henri Nouwen with his hands on a person kneeling before him, by an unknown artist, mounted on cardstock. The image is emulating the painting 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' by Rembrandt van Rijn, with Nouwen taking the place of the father figure.

Jerusalem, old city wall, Damascus Gate

Item consists of one hanging print of an image of "Jerusalem, old city wall, Damascus Gate" tied by suede to a wooden dowel and enclosed in a cardboard sleeve with the sticker "ancient landscapes from the Holy Land".

Print of "sunflowers"

Item consists of one print on cardboard base of "Sunflowers (Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers)" by Vincent Van Gogh, which hung on a wall at L'Arche Daybreak.

Sundance

Item consists of one framed painting, titled "Sundance", by Richard Packo. It was signed and dated November 3, 1987. The painting depicts two First Nations faces, the moon and an eagle.

Pencil drawing of Jesus

Item consists of one pencil drawing of Jesus by [A.M.D.G.?] given to Nouwen by the Wegman family.

Daniel and Ezekiel prints

Item consists of a matching set of framed prints by Rita Corbin of the faces of Daniel (E108) and Ezekiel (E109) above biblical verses. The "Daniel" print features the verse Daniel 3:90. The "Ezekiel" print features the verse Ezekiel 2:6.

Ink drawing of Noah's Ark

Item consists of one framed ink drawing of Noah's Ark by Brenda [Lean] with a brass plaque affixed to frame, inscribed "H.J.N. Ma Nuad 1991", which Nouwen likely received from Maynooth College (Kildare, Ireland) following his guest lecture there in 1991.

Photograph of the Madonna

Item consists of a photograph of a painting of a Madonna located at the Museum of Religions and Atheism (Leningrad, Soviet Union) taken by Randy Webb and given to Nouwen in March 12, 1992.

Bearers of the Burden

Item consists of one framed print of "Bearers of the Burden" by Vincent van Gogh. The print is black and white, possibly taken from an etching, and features workers in a field carrying bags. Visible is a religious shrine.

South American tapestry

Item consists of one woven tapestry, most likely from South America. The tapestry has an image printed on it. It has multiple scenes depicted. In the center is the a tree bearing fruit, on which Jesus is crucified. Above Him are Adam and Eve, holding a piece of fruit. Other people are harvesting the fruit for a table at which people are eating. Below the table is a priest teaching. Below him is a mountain which people are climbing, and at the base of the mountain is water in which several people are being saved from drowning. Below Jesus are soldiers and tanks, hurting civilians. To the left is a boat of people in the water. Above them is Noah and some animals, standing on a depiction of the globe.

Postcards, cards and prints

Sub-series consists of various blank postcards, greeting cards and reprints of artwork, including prints of icons, a collection of prints by Rembrandt van Rijn, and other reprints of mostly religious artwork. It is possible that Nouwen had intended to send these materials with correspondence, as there are several copies of some prints and postcards.

Assorted blank postcards

File consists of various blank postcards. Subjects include churches and cloisters, landscapes, and some church figures. Included are postcards from Austria, Germany, New York City, Jerusalem, Israel, photograph postcards of the S.S. Maasdam ship of the Holland America Line, and Rome.

Assorted prints, postcards, greeting cards

File consists of various reproduction prints, blank postcards and greeting cards. These prints, postcards, and cards, include mostly religious images, but also a few geographical images. File includes some of the following:

  • one black and white print of a drawing of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns
  • one colour print of a painting with four women dressed in white. Annotation on back of print in unknown hand: "Four Women Martyrs by Sr. Marion Honors. in honor of the women who gave their lives in El Salvador."
  • one black and white photograph (13.9 cm x 9.0 cm) of an unknown priest. Annotation on back of photograph: "file: photos"
  • fifteen copies of the Trinity Icon, with no annotations
  • 1 box set containing 48 reprints of etchings by Rembrandt van Rijn [etchings are numbered and are out of order]
  • 1 box set containing 12 reprints of paintings by Aloys Schreiber, featuring historical comments [in German], and depicting country life in Germany
  • Reproductions of pieces (drawings and paintings) by Rembrandt van Rijn, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Peter Paul Rubens
  • Reprints of pages of religious books and frescoes
  • Several copies of a drawing of Pope John Paul II
  • Postcards and cards include Vincent van Gogh paintings, photographs inside churches, an airplane, Mount Saint Alphonsus (Esopus, NY), monasteries, Pope John Paul II, and other religious art (including some poems)
  • 1 Rembrandt wall calendar from 1991 containing 12 Rembrandt prints, including Return of the Prodigal Son.

Because there are several copies of some of these prints, it is possible that Nouwen intended to send some of these with correspondence.

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.

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