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Merton's Correspondence with:

Nancy Hauck Boettcher; Nancy Boettcher

Boettcher, Nancy Hauck  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1964-1966, 1968, 1970
Volume: 11 item(s); 14 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Merton had a close relationship with Nancy Hauck Boettcher's grandmother, who helped raise Merton and his brother. Nancy begins writing Merton when her grandmother, Freida "Nanny" Hauck, was living with Nancy's parents and causing strain on them. Nanny's condition worsens and she dies. Though Nancy was, as was Merton, close with Nanny, she sees Nanny's death as something of a blessing given Nanny's suffering and the hardship endured by her parents in caring for her.


Merton remembered Nancy Hauck Boettcher when he was young and she was a baby in Long Island. After the death of Merton's mother Ruth in 1921, Nancy's grandmother, Freida "Nanny" Hauck came to help Merton's grandparents take care of Thomas and John Paul Merton. Nancy's aunt Elsie married Merton's uncle Harold Jenkins. Harold and Elsie took care of Nanny Hauck at first. According to Nancy, they "threw her out of their house", and she came to live with Walter and Ruth Hauck, Nancy's parents. The difficult situation of her parents taking care of Nanny is the subject of the first letter. At this time, Nancy was married, had a couple of children, and was unable to assist her parents with the care of Nanny. (Source: The Road to Joy, pp. 57 and 65.)

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Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

See also published letters from Merton to Nancy Hauck Boettcher in The Road to Joy, pp. 65, 66, 69-71, and 76.

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

Click icons for links: ✓="Published | Library Record", ✉="Scanned" | 🗷="Scanned, Viewable Only at Merton Center"

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1964/09/13 HLS to Merton I am half way through your book "A Thomas Merton Reader" and find it fascinating. However, that is describes family connection with Merton / describes that Nanny, her grandmother (Freida Hauck), is in poor health and is now living with her parents and the tensions caused in caring for her / asks for Merton's prayers for Nanny / Nancy has married and has children so cannon help her parents care for Nanny «detailed view»
2. 1964/10/28 TLS from Merton When I suggested the Little Sisters I realized that the suggestion would be a bit of a bombshell on Walter Hauck and disgrace in sending Nanny to the Little Sisters of the Poor / Merton encourages them "see beyond the surface and the conventional social outlook" «detailed view»
3. 1964/10/no? TLS from Merton I have no need of an introduction to you, as I remember you with affection as a nice little baby, [undated, but apparently between the 1964/09/13 and 1964/10/28 letters - sent to the Center in an envelope postmarked 1968/12/24 - possibly this was the announcement of Merton's death and was misplaced] Nanny (Freida Hauck) / possibility of sending her to the care facility of the Little Sisters of the Poor «detailed view»
4. 1965/05/27 HNS from Merton Thanks for telling me about Nanny. I did not know about her, but in the middle of Mass this morning responds to news from Nancy that Nanny is seriously ill «detailed view»
5. 1965/06/16 (#01) TLS from Merton Thanks very much for sending the telegram to let me know of Nanny's death. It was very thoughtful «detailed view»
6. 1965/06/16 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Thanks very much for sending the telegram to let me know of Nanny's death. It was very thoughtful «detailed view»
7. 1965/12/10 HCS from Merton I am happy to hear about the new baby and will keep you in my prayers especially in your "Advent". [verso: icon print from Maria Laach, Germany] «detailed view»
8. 1966/04/23 HNS from Merton I wanted to answer your first letter about the new baby, but let it slip until too late. But I was «detailed view»
9. 1966/07/22 TLS from Merton Thanks for your last letter. If you want any more of those booklets about the monastery, just say Ruth Hauck's accident (Nancy's mother) / possible visit by Nancy's brother Frank Hauck «detailed view»
10. 1970/10/23 HLS[x] to Center from Boettcher, Nancy Hauck Enclosed are the letters I have from Tom Merton. Please Xerox them for me. I have pictures and message accompanying original letters from Merton sent to Nancy, letters she inherited from Merton to Nanny, and letters from Walter Hauck to John Paul Merton / explanation of family connections with Merton «detailed view»
11. 1970/10/30 TL[x] from Center to Boettcher, Nancy Hauck We were delighted to receive your packet of letters concerning your Nanny, Thomas Merton and Tom's question about some of the letters' dates «detailed view»

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