Series 1 - Manuscripts

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Manuscripts

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  • Textual record
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Reference code

CA ON00389 1-1

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Date(s)

  • 1957-1996 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

5.75 m of textual records.- 88 photographs

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1932-1996)

Custodial history

Scope and content

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 Eight transcripts have been identified as unpublished, including a book on Anton T. Boisen based on Nouwen’s doctoral thesis, a draft of a work about Nouwen’s friend Richard Alan White, and notes for a book Nouwen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. 1. Books and articles
1. 2. Talks and sermons

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

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General note

Title based on contents of the series. Most of the material is in English. Some material is in: Dutch, French, Italian or Spanish. Access to some material is restricted, as content is personal. See file level descriptions for more details. No reproduction of this material without permission of the Archivist. No publication of this material, in whole or in part, without the permission of the Literary Executrix. Other records related to the Manuscript series can be found in the General Files, Calendar Files, Publisher Files and Teaching Materials series. See sub-sub-series and file level descriptions for links between related material.

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