The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Gilson, Étienne, 1884-1978

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: 1949-1968

Volume: 11 item(s); 17 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Merton wrote to Gilson to express his appreciation for Gilson's books. Merton and Gilson occasionally exchange letters about medieval philosophy and the School of Chartres. There are original letters from Gilson and a carbon copy of a letter from Merton. In addition, there is one letter from Gilson to Daniel Walsh.


Etienne Gilson was a medieval scholar that was influential in Merton's early conversion to Catholicism while at Columbia University. Especially important to Merton was Gilson's book The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy. Gilson was educated at the Sorbonne, taught throughout Europe and was later admitted to the Académie Française. He was instrumental in the founding of the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto, where he was at the time of his correspondence with Merton. (Source: The School of Charity, p. 30.)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Related Information and Links

See also published letters from Merton to Gilson in The School of Charity, pp. 30-31 (not in School of Charity index) and 148-149; and see also "Walsh, Daniel" file.

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

SeriesDateTypeTo/FromFirst LinesPubFull TextNotes
 1949/11/03 HLSto Walsh, DanielThank you for your affectionate letter and for your prayers as well as for those of all our friends.   
 1951/11/04 HLSto MertonJe vous remercie de votre beau livre, où je retrouve,   
 1951/11/12 TLS[x]from MertonDeeply moved by your beautiful letter. I want to do what I should have done long ago-- write youYes [copied from Sub-Section H.7, Hart Working Files, Accession 2]
 1954/06/02 TLS[x]from MertonI am mailing to you a copy of a book which, as you will see, I have presumed to dedicate to you.  Merton sends his book <i>The Last of the Fathers; Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and the Encyclical Letter, Doctor Mellifluus</i>
 1954/09/25 transcriptto MertonMy most heartfelt thanks for your good and beautiful St. Bernard. It was an excellent idea to write   
 1955/05/20 TLS[x]from MertonI was happy to get your letter of April 29 (It was written on the feast of St Robert of Molesme,  responding to Gilson's letter of April 29 (not extant) wherein Gilson has asked if Merton would serve as editor of an anthology on St. Bernard of Clairvaux - responds that Dom James Fox has asked that he not undertake the project at present
 1962/10/11 (#01)TAL[c]from MertonYesterday evening I was discussing a project of mine with Dan Walsh, who is teaching philosophy hereYes  
 1962/10/11 (#02)TLS[x]from MertonYesterday evening I was discussing a project of mine with Dan Walsh, who is teaching philosophy hereYes  
 1962/11/22 TLSto MertonThe School of Chartres is indeed fascinating. It shows what a christian humanism free from all   
 1968/06/08 HLS[x]from MertonI have just read, in the collection of papers given at Toronto last year, your 'On Behalf of the  Merton's reponse to Gilson's "On Behalf of the Handmaid", an essay which moved Merton to tears
 1968/06/17 TLSto MertonThank you for your good letter June 8, which I received today only. As you probably know, we have  [envelope has handwritten note about this letter by the initials L.M.F.]

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