The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Nelson, J. Robert (John Robert), 1920-2004

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: 1960

Volume: 1 item(s); 1 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Thomas Merton writes to J. Robert Nelson to join with him in solidarity in protest over the expulsion of James Lawson from Vanderbilt University. Nelson had resigned as dean of the divinity school in protest.


J. Robert Nelson was dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School from 1957-1960. He was later dean at Boston University School of Theology from 1965-1985.

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Related Information and Links

See also The Lawson-Vanderbilt affair : letters to Dean Nelson : Excerpts from unsolicited letters consequent upon the resignation of the Dean and eleven faculty members of the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University filed in Sub-Section B.2 of the Merton Collection.

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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

SeriesDateTypeTo/FromFirst LinesPubFull TextNotes
 1960/06/08 transcriptfrom MertonI want to tell you and your associates and Mr. Lawson that you have my heartfelt admiration  [transcript from booklet - full copy in Sub-Section B.2] letter of support for the resignation of Rev. Dr. J. Robert Nelson as dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, in support of James Lawson, a Vanderbilt student and civil rights leader expelled from the university for organizing sit-ins of downtown Nashville businesses

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