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Merton's Correspondence with:

Gordon Charles Zahn; Gordon Zahn; Gordon C. Zahn; Zahn, Gordon C.

Zahn, Gordon Charles, 1918-2007  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1961-1968, 1983-1984
Volume: 36 item(s); 54 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Merton and Gordon Zahn discuss conscientious objection, opposition to nuclear war, the Catholic position on war, Franz Jägerstätter, and other issues.


Gordon C. Zahn was a sociologist and pacifist who has written books and articles about peace studies, dissent from war cultures, Catholic dissenters in the Second World War in Germany, and other topics. From 1956-1957, he spent a year under a Fulbright grant at Julius Maximilian University in Würzburg, Germany, to study Catholic dissenters under Hitler. During this time, he discovered the Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian whose refusal to fight under Nazi rule led him to martyrdom. He writes to Merton from Chicago, where he was a professor at Loyola University. In 1964, he published his book on Jägerstätter entitled, In Solitary Witness. After a professorship at University of Massachusetts in Boston from 1967-1980, he became National Director of Pax Christi USA, part of Pax Christi International, a Catholic peace organization. (Source: The Hidden Ground of Love, p. 648.)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

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

Related Information and Links

See also Cold War Letters #21, and other letters from Merton to Zahn, published in The Hidden Ground of Love, pp. 648-656; and see also the "Engländer, Elsa" 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

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#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1961/11/27 TLS[x] from Merton For a long time I have been happy about your position in regard to nuclear war, and I agree with you «detailed view»
2. 1961/12/06 (#01) HLS[x] from Merton Many thanks for your generosity, the letter and the articles. I think the Chapter from your book, «detailed view»
3. 1961/12/06 (#02) transcript from Merton Many thanks for your generosity, the letter and the articles. I think the Chapter from your book, «detailed view»
4. 1962/01/11 (#01) TLS[x] from Merton Your article reached me the other day and I read it immediately. It is very fine indeed, [Cold War Letters #21] «detailed view»
5. 1962/01/11 (#02) transcript from Merton Your article reached me the other day and I read it immediately. It is very fine indeed, [Cold War Letters #21 - transcript from bound set] «detailed view»
6. 1962/04/22 TALS[x] from Merton First of all I have the book, of course, from Sheed and Ward. It is excellent, and I hope it has Gordon Zahn's recent book / article by Justus G. Lawler about the bishops / article in St. Anthony Messenger about peacemaking - Merton as a Franciscan Tertiary registering as a non-combatant objector to the Second World War / Pax, English Pax, and the FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation) «detailed view»
7. 1962/05/10 TLS to Merton I hope you are not offended that I presume to include myself in the category of "people that you are «detailed view»
8. 1962/05/24 TLS to Merton I still feel a bit presumptuous in addressing you with such informality, but after the pleasant «detailed view»
9. 1962/06/06 HLS to Merton A recent touch of good fortune in the town of a Social Science Research Council «detailed view»
10. 1962/06/08 TLS[x] from Merton I owe you for two good letters, and I think I am slowly getting into calm enough waters to write «detailed view»
11. 1962/06/13 TLS[x] from Merton Congratulations on the travel grant. You must then look up Else Englander in Linz. She has Elsa Engländer / Walter Stein / Tom Burns at Burns and Oates - Christopher Hollis / Kaspar Meyr / Fr. Jean Danielou / Louis Massignon «detailed view»
12. 1962/07/09 HPCS to Merton A picture of the St Radegund Church - as per request. The Jägerstaetter burial place is marked in [verso: black and white photograph of the St. Radegund in Austria with Zahn's handwritten pen mark circling the location of Franz Jägerstätter's grave] «detailed view»
13. 1962/08/21 TLS to Merton If I don't settle down and write this today, a couple of weeks more will pass before I get a chance. «detailed view»
14. 1962/09/23 TLS[x] from Merton I have been barricaded behind a pile of unanswered mail for a long time, and have had some urgent Elsa Engländer / Franz Jägerstäter / George Lawler at Herder and Herder assigned Merton preface to the meditations of Fr. Alfred Delp «detailed view»
15. 1962/09/23 TL[x] to Merton Your letter of December 22 has been on my desk (along with a scandalous layer of dust!) since it Franz Jägerstäter book / Phil Scharper / receipt of "The Cold War Letters" / Elsa Engländer's reaction to an article by Zahn (originally in Cross Currents and translated for a Catholic magazine in Munich) / Holy Week suggestion involving Hans Küng / plans to speak at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, CA - speaking on war in Seattle at a large Newman Club / Directions '63 (National Council of Catholic Men) on "moral implications of nuclear war" / Newman Forum in Lafayette, LA event «detailed view»
16. 1962/12/08 HLS to Merton I cannot tell you how pleased I was to get a copy of the mimeographed book -- which, let us hope, «detailed view»
17. 1962/12/22 (#01) HLS[x] from Merton I am reading the Jägerstätter commentaries with the greatest interest. There is more in them than «detailed view»
18. 1962/12/22 (#02) transcript from Merton I am reading the Jagerstatter commentaries with the greatest interest. There is more in them than «detailed view»
19. 1963/04/30 TAL[c] from Merton I was very happy to get your letter and to hear from Ferry about your talk out at the Center. «detailed view»
20. 1963/07/29 TL[x] to Merton Visiting some friends at Milwaukee yesterday I helped them finish off their last year's Christmas Santa Barbara talk - Continuum - Justus George Lawler / the Newman Forum at LSU at Baton Rouge, Louisiana / Phil Scharper at Sheed and Ward turned down Franz Jägerstäter book for not being devotional enough (too sociological) but university presses find it "too Catholic" / Helicon and the "German Catholics" piece - Sheed and Ward publishing it - Joe Cunneen and Arthur Cohen of Holt, Rinehard, and Winston / Jubilee excerpts of Jägerstäter writings / Elsa Engländer / Hans Küng / Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI - possible relaxation of Vatican peace push / Fr. Hovda and Grand Forks, North Dakota «detailed view»
21. 1963/12/13 TAL[c] from Merton It was certainly good to hear from you. It istrue [sic] that I was laid up for a while with a bad «detailed view»
22. 1964/06/11 HLS to Merton Reading your "Truth and Violence" article reminds me that we have been out of touch for too long «detailed view»
23. 1964/07/02 TAL[c] from Merton Thanks for your letter of June 11th. I look forward to "your" Continuum. Thanks for all the things «detailed view»
24. 1964/12/12 HLS to Merton I see it is now too late to send off the printed Christmas card I've been planning to mail. «detailed view»
25. 1964/12/17 TL[c] from Merton It was very good to get your letter amd [sic] to know where you are. I am glad Manchester turns out «detailed view»
26. 1965/01/31 HLS to Merton First, many heartfelt thanks for the splendid review of the Jägerstätter book. I was pleased to get «detailed view»
27. 1966/04/14 HLS to Merton Ping Ferry has sent me a copy of Sanity (from Toronto) carrying that fine review you did «detailed view»
28. 1966/06/16 HLS[x] from Merton Belated thanks for your letter of April 13, which reached me just after I got out of the hospital, Franz Jägerstäter - the Jägerstäter review / Editrice Morcelliana, Brescia, Italy / South American publication in AGIR from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh «detailed view»
29. 1966/10/31 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your letter. I am glad to hear from you again and glad that the project is going ahead. «detailed view»
30. 1967/07/11 HLS to Merton The above is merely a "summer" address serving me while I am "in transit" from Loyola to my «detailed view»
31. 1967/08/14 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your letter telling me of the move East from Loyola. As I remember they gave you rather «detailed view»
32. 1968/02/03 TLS to Merton All I know is that I've had your last letter on my desk for months now, always intending «detailed view»
33. 1968/04/03 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your two letters-- now long overdue for answers. A bad correspondent at best, I have «detailed view»
34. 1983/06/03 TALS to Shannon, William By now you must have concluded that the reason for the wide gaps between letters from Tom Merton «detailed view»
35. 1984/03/02 TLS to Merton It was good to talk with you, and I am looking forward to your book when it is ready. It will be «detailed view»
36. undated/no/no other   GORDON C. ZAHN [-] Gordon Zahn, well known sociologist and pacifist, was born in Milwaukee in 1918. [biography of Zahn by William H. Shannon, editor of Merton's published letters] «detailed view»

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