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Merton's Correspondence with:

Tommie O'Callaghan; O'Callaghan, Tommie; Thomasine Cadden O'Callaghan; Thomasine O'Callaghan

O'Callaghan, (Tommie) Thomasine (Cadden)  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1963-1968, 1972-1973, 1998, 2000
Volume: 84 item(s); 134 pg(s)

Scope and Content


Thomasine ("Tommie") O'Callaghan was a close friend of Merton's through much of the 1960's. They met through a mutual friend and former professor, Daniel Walsh, whom Merton knew from a graduate course at Columbia University and O'Callaghan knew through the College of the Sacred Heart at Manhattanville, Purchase, New York. Merton became an adopted part of the O'Callaghan family in Louisville, getting to know Tommie's husband Frank and becoming "Uncle Louie" to the seven O'Callaghan children. Sometime Merton would visit the O'Callaghan's in conjunction with doctor's visits in Louisville. Tommie O'Callaghan also planned some picnics for Merton at Gethsemani. Merton chose her as a local member of the trustees of his literary estate in addition to the others from the publishing world in the northeast, Naomi Burton Stone and James Laughlin. (Source: The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia, pp. 340-341.)

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Related Information and Links

See also published letters from Merton to O'Callaghan in The Road to Joy, pp. 263-272.

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

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#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1963/03/23 TLS[x] from Merton Dan has told me of your illness and I am very sorry to hear it. He seems to think you are going «detailed view»
2. 1963/no/no? other[x]  from Merton to Friends Forgive me for answering you with a form letter, but I get so many requests like yours [Merton notes in handwriting - "This might amuse you- I send it to High School kids who want me to write essays for them" - see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
3. 1965/12/25 TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends I hate to resort to mimeographed letters, but it has now become completely impossible for [labeled "A CHRISTMAS LETTER - 1965. ABBEY OF GETHSEMANI - KY" - see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
4. 1966/12/25 TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends Even with the aid of mimeograph it is not possible to adequately take care of everybody, acknowledge [labeled "CHRISTMAS - NEW YEAR LETTER 1966 - 1967" - see also "Herscher, Irenaeus" file] «detailed view»
5. 1967/01/22 TALS[x]  from Merton to Friends Several wrote that they liked my mimeographed Christmas letter and urged me to go on mimeographing [labeled "Septuagesima Sunday 1967" - see also "Cargas, Harry" file] «detailed view»
6. 1967/02/26 other[x] from Merton [a series of line drawings] «detailed view»
7. 1967/02/28 HNS[x]  from Merton to Nancy O'Callaghan Here is that identification tag. I am getting ready to go now. Hope I see you again someday soon. [sent to Nancy O'Callaghan, daughter of Tommie O'Callaghan, with photocopy of Merton's hospital armband - on stationery of St. Joseph Infirmary in Louisville, Kentucky] «detailed view»
8. 1967/02/no? TALS[x]  from Merton to Friends The last mimeographed letter is running out and there are still more than four weeks to go before [labeled "Lent 67" - see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
9. 1967/03/26 TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends It has been a beautiful warm Easter here, though the most recent news from the East Coast complains [labeled "Easter 67" - see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
10. 1967/04/05 TLS[x] from Merton Naomi Burton is arriving here April 19 and will stay over the 20 and 21st, leaving the 22nd. «detailed view»
11. 1967/04/13 (#01) HNS[x] from Walsh, Daniel Tom gave this to me to give or read to you on the phone. This way is better. [photocopied onto the same sheet as Merton's message to O'Callaghan (see next record)] «detailed view»
12. 1967/04/13 (#02) HNS[x] from Merton Naomi Burton coming next week - will get here by hired car on Tuesday - whoever wants to come [photocopied onto the same sheet as Walsh's message to O'Callaghan (see previous record)] «detailed view»
13. 1967/04/20 other[x]   April 20 - 1967 Picnic [-] Gethsemani [-] Bourbon & Merton [-] Chicken Broiled [list of food, beverages and attendees handwritten by O'Callaghan for a picnic at Gethsemani] «detailed view»
14. 1967/05/14 TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends The main piece of news at this season is the ordination to the priesthood of my old friend Dan Walsh [labeled "PENTECOST 1967" - see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
15. 1967/05/15 TLS[x] from Merton Thanks for a splendid party yesterday. Much enjoyed it, and I know everyone did. Hope I did not [includes note on by O'Callaghan about Merton at the party after Dan Walsh's ordination] «detailed view»
16. 1967/06/01 TALS[x] from Merton I ought to call you up about the visit with the kids, but it is very complicated to get permission «detailed view»
17. 1967/06/03 other[x]   Children's Picnic at Geth. with Merton [-] Cakes [-] Tablecloths [list of food, beverages and attendees handwritten by O'Callaghan for a picnic at Gethsemani] «detailed view»
18. 1967/06/27 TANS[x] from Merton I thought this work of art might seem appropriate. Boss will be back day after tomorrow [includes a cartoon, probably from The New Yorker by Mischa Richter, sent by Merton to O'Callaghan depicting a circus family of bareback riders on a horse with the wife saying: "Darling, I have something to tell you. We're going to need a bigger horse." - O'Callaghan was pregnant with her seventh child] «detailed view»
19. 1967/06/no? other   Tom at O'Callaghan's [-] June 1967 [color photograph of Merton in swimming trunks sitting near a pool] «detailed view»
20. 1967/07/no? TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends Recently I heard of the following strange event. Frank Sheed, in London, was awakened at four [see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
21. 1967/08/31 (#01) TL[c] from Merton Thanks for the letter and the xerox on computers which I will read as soon as I get a chance to go «detailed view»
22. 1967/08/31 (#02) TLS[x] from Merton Thanks for the letter and the xerox on computers which I will read as soon as I get a chance to go [includes a note from O'Callaghan about this letter] «detailed view»
23. 1967/10/17 TL[c] from Merton This will be a serious letter for a change. About my estate business and so on. «detailed view»
24. 1967/10/23 HLS[x] to Merton Your letter arrived yesterday and I shall be delighted to be one of the exec. of the estate «detailed view»
25. 1967/10/30 (#01) TL[c] from Merton Naomi Burton will be down in a couple of weeks. I hope very much that we can all get together «detailed view»
26. 1967/10/30 (#02) TLS[x] from Merton Naomi Burton will be down in a couple of weeks. I hope very much that we can all get together «detailed view»
27. 1967/11/03 (#01) TLS[x] from Merton Many thanks for the letter: sorry to hear Frank is sick but I hope it will clear up fast. «detailed view»
28. 1967/11/03 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Many thanks for the letter: sorry to hear Frank is sick but I hope it will clear up fast. «detailed view»
29. 1967/11/08 HLS[x] to Merton We arrived home safely and found all children still around. «detailed view»
30. 1967/12/11 HNS[x] from Merton Hi! I thought you'd like the article on Weil. Last week I had a great time with 15 cloistered nuns «detailed view»
31. 1967/12/21 other[x] from Merton MY CAMPAIGN PLATFORM [-] for non-Abbot and permanent keeper of present doghouse. [handwritten note by O'Callaghan - "He had to make public apology - Nut!" / see Section E.1 of the classification under "My campaign platform for non-Abbot and permanent keeper of present doghouse" for a carbon and annotated mimeograph of this statement] «detailed view»
32. 1967/12/26 (#01) TANS[x] from Merton Thought I'd send you this letter from a possible friend in Holland, with my reply. When you have [in published letters as "February 1968"] «detailed view»
33. 1967/12/26 (#02) TALS[x]  from Fentener van Vlissingen, R. / to Merton I feel obliged to write you, because of the value your raids on the Unspeakable have had and still [see also "Fentener van Vlissingen, R." file] «detailed view»
34. 1967/12/31? HLS[x] from Merton Everything worked out ok - got home in good time (left soon after «detailed view»
35. 1967/12/no? (#01) TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends This year has gone by fast, and not without sorrows. Besides the death of Victor Hammer last summer [labeled "ADVENT-CHRISTMAS LETTER 1967" - see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
36. 1967/12/no? (#02) HLS[x] from Walsh, Daniel Tom just told me how much he enjoyed the visit and he is very grateful to you for all you did «detailed view»
37. 1967/12/no? (#03) HNS[x] from Walsh, Daniel Thanks for your letter. My arm is bad and I can't type much so that is an excuse for not going «detailed view»
38. 1968/01/01 TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends Christmas mail was an avalanche this year: it always is, but much more so in 1967. News [labeled -" NEW YEARS LETTER 1968" - see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
39. 1968/01/21 (#01) TLS[x] from Merton How you feel?? Is everything ok? I had hoped to get in and see you but the snow made any trip [includes note by O'Callaghan about this letter] «detailed view»
40. 1968/01/21 (#02) TL[c] from Merton How you feel?? Is everything ok? I had hoped to get in and see you but the snow made any trip «detailed view»
41. 1968/01/26 TNS[x] from Merton Rum? Don't blame that on me now! I drink anything. J. Laughlin has changed the signals «detailed view»
42. 1968/01/no? HLS[x] from Merton Enjoying cookies and especially the candy. All is very good. Thanks to the whole family. «detailed view»
43. 1968/02/03 (#01) TL[x] from Merton I deeply appreciate your letter. There is so much in it, and of course a writer is always delighted «detailed view»
44. 1968/02/03 (#02) HN[x] from Merton J. Laughlin will see you and Ford next Friday. [handwritten note by Merton on envelope of 1968/02/03 letter] «detailed view»
45. 1968/02/no (#02)    [see "1967/12/26?[1]" letter] «detailed view»
46. 1968/02/no? (#01) TLS[x] from Merton The approach of Lent once again makes me realize that the only way to handle the pile of letters [labeled "PRE-LENT LETTER 1968" - see also "Circular Letters to Friends (for mimeographing)"] «detailed view»
47. 1968/03/17 TLS[x] from Merton Great fun yesterday meeting Mother S. I like her. When you come out Thursday for the Blessing: [Merton's letter was typed on a sheet with a picture of his hermitage - includes handwritten note by O'Callaghan about the letter and Merton meeting with Kathryn Sullivan the day before] «detailed view»
48. 1968/03/21 TLS[x] from Sullivan, Kathryn, Mother Welcome home! Was the trip to Florida a great success? Are you and Frank exhausted? [Mother Kathryn Sullivan was a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in Purchase, New York - she writes on the stationery of The Bible Today] «detailed view»
49. 1968/03/29 TLS[x] from Merton Just after I had talked to you I got a call from a musician, Alexander Peloquin, who is working [includes O'Callaghan's handwritten notes about this letter] «detailed view»
50. 1968/04/no? TL[x]  from Merton to Friends As I write this there is snow on the ground from a blizzard we had the other day, but the sun is [labeled "EASTER LETTER 1968"] «detailed view»
51. 1968/05/02 TNS[x] from Merton I have had to change the signals/ Fr Flavian prefers that I stay and give my conference Sunday. «detailed view»
52. 1968/05/14 HLS[x] from Merton It's been a really great week out here. The nuns (nothing to do with letterhead) are tremendous [written on letterhead of "Community Council of San Mateo County" - "Action Study on Community Health Services" - includes handwritten note by O'Callaghan about the letter] «detailed view»
53. 1968/06/07? HLS[x] from Merton I'll expect you around 11.30 Tuesday - ok? Bring me an extra sandwich - Bob Lax will be here «detailed view»
54. 1968/06/22 (#01) TLS[x] from Merton The brothers passed on to me the sad message of your mother's death. I was quite surprised, «detailed view»
55. 1968/06/22 (#02) TL[c] from Merton The brothers passed on to me the sad message of your mother's death. I was quite surprised, «detailed view»
56. 1968/06/no? TNS[x] from Merton OK for June 12, about 11.30 am?? Just got through a busy week with group of nuns, and will [includes handwritten note by O'Callaghan about the letter] «detailed view»
57. 1968/07/no? (#01) TLS[x]  from Merton to Friends For various reasons I was quite busy during May and June, and so for July and part of August I am [labeled "MIDSUMMER LETTER 1968"] «detailed view»
58. 1968/08/no? (#01) HLS[x] from Merton I plan to come in Friday with the Jesuit. I will call you in case you'd like to meet us for lunch [includes handwritten note by O'Callaghan about the letter] «detailed view»
59. 1968/08/no? (#02) TNS[x] from Merton I had a very successful day with Frank yesterday and I guess we pretty well covered the most [includes handwritten note by O'Callaghan about the letter] «detailed view»
60. 1968/09/10 other[x]   10 MARTES TUESDAY MARDI DIENSTAG [-] Dinner - Merton- [appears to be O'Callaghan's date book with an entry for dinner with Merton before his flight the next day from Louisville to his trip to the west coast and to Asia] «detailed view»
61. 1968/10/no? HPCS[x] from Merton Fine flight out and a lovely bar in the airport makes good rum collins. Here's a picture of where I [verso of postcard: "Alcatraz Island, San Francisco"] «detailed view»
62. 1968/11/09 TL[x] from Merton This newsletter is not a reply to mail because I have not been getting mail on this Asian trip [labeled "Asian Letter 1" - written from New Delhi, India - see also "Cargas, Harry" file] «detailed view»
63. 1969/05/22 other   The Louisville Times, Thursday Evening, May 22, 1969 [-] B7 [-] Housewife Joins Literati [newspaper article about Tommie O'Callaghan from the Louisville Times] «detailed view»
64. 1972/08/14 (#01) TN[c]  from Bailey, Raymond / to Merton Legacy Trustees Attached is a rough draft for a form letter to be mailed in response to all inquiries about using [from Raymond Bailey, Director of the Thomas Merton Studies Center at Bellarmine College to the Trustees of the Merton Legacy Trust, Merton's literary estate, of which O'Callaghan was a member] «detailed view»
65. 1972/08/14 (#02) TALS  from Bailey, Raymond / to Friend of Thomas Merton We are writing to you regarding your correspondence with the late Thomas Merton. Almost all of Fr. «detailed view»
66. 1972/10/30 TANS from Bailey, Raymond The correspondence which would likely be the most important to me would be any with the following: «detailed view»
67. 1972/11/29 TL[c] to Bailey, Raymond Here are a few things I want to reply to you: 1. Bishop Mwoleka - you may send the tape he «detailed view»
68. 1973/05/03 other   NAMES, DATE OF ANSWERS, AND PERMISSIONS IF GIVEN BY MERTON CORRESPONDENTS [permissions to publish correspondence - handwritten updates up to 1973/12/06] «detailed view»
69. 1973/no/no? other[x]   Merton Correspondence Request Form Letters [-] 1 A I am one of the Merton Trustees «detailed view»
70. 1998/11/01 other   The Courier-Journal Kentuckiana Style Section, Sunday, November 1, 1998 [-] TOMMIE TIME [newspaper article about Tommie O'Callaghan from the Louisville Courier-Journal] «detailed view»
71. 1999/09/22 other   The Nomination of Tommie O'Callaghan as "Woman of Distinction" for the 2000 Celebration [brief résumé of O'Callaghan's service and achievements with a nomination letter written by Jonathan Montaldo, Director of the Thomas Merton Center] «detailed view»
72. 2000/02/no other   Tommie Cadden O'Callaghan [-] Bold and brash, Tommie believes that if it is the right thing to do, [article from Louisville, Kentucky's, Today's Woman magazine - O'Callaghan was one of five women chosen as "Women of Distinction" by the magazine] «detailed view»
73. undated/03/13 HLS[x] from Merton Here is another job for your friend. Again -- I need four carbon copies. If she furnishes «detailed view»
74. undated/no/no (#01) HLS[x] to Merton The fourteenth sounds fine as this point- at this point do not know whose day it is but are sure it «detailed view»
75. undated/no/no (#02) other[x]   CORRESPONDENTS (File Cabinet in P110) [-] Alvares, Marcus Maria de, Fr., O.F.M. «detailed view»
76. undated/no/no (#03) HLS[x] from Walsh, Daniel Just a note to thank you for your generous letter. I was sure you would appreciate having [also includes a copy of a handwritten note from Merton of 1960/11/01 in which Merton sends Walsh a letter from Jacques Maritain concerning the death of Raissa Maritain - Walsh writes and forwards the letter to O'Callaghan (probably much later than 1960)] «detailed view»
77. undated/no/no (#04) other[x]   Bottle (empty) of Champagne sent to Tom after Dan's party- [note with invitation to Daniel Walsh's ordination that accompanied an empty bottle of wine for a celebration of Walsh's ordination with a note written after Merton's death] «detailed view»
78. undated/no/no (#05) HCS[x] from Baldwin, Fr., O.C.S.O. and Merton God bless you, Tommie- I shall remember you especially at Mass - God will provide- fr. Baldwin [a "get well" card signed by both Fr. Baldwin and Merton] «detailed view»
79. undated/no/no (#06) TNS[x]  from Merton to Daniel Walsh I am sorry to have kept Fr Feliciano's letter so long. I am sending him a Spanish translation of my [see also "Walsh, Daniel" file - photocopied on the same sheet as the next record from Fr. Baldwin] «detailed view»
80. undated/no/no (#07) other[x]   The One Whose Reproach I Cannot Evade [-] She sits in this glass garden [-] and awaits the guests -- [poem by George Hitchcock, copyright 1967 - photocopy of "Poetry Card" printed by Don Sawyer of Unicorn Press] «detailed view»
81. undated/no/no (#08) HCS[x] from Merton The Mass will be said for Dan in the way you suggest - [Easter card] «detailed view»
82. undated/no/no (#09) HNS[x]   Did he get his Italian copy of Ulysses back? Was Uncle Ben Jewish - why the skull cap at Aunt «detailed view»
83. undated/no/no (#10) TNS[x] from Merton As Dr Mitchell is not there Wed. I have to come in Thursday-- probably with Bernard. I'll call you «detailed view»
84. undated/no/no (#11) HNS[x] from Merton +for Tommie [-] cordial good wishes [-] f M Louis [see Sub-Section D.9 for original] «detailed view»

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