The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Advanced Search 

Merton's Correspondence with:

Thomas Merton's monastic file from Gethsemani Abbey

Monastic file from Gethsemani Abbey  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1939-1966
Volume: 40 item(s); 44 pg(s)

Scope and Content


Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

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

Related Information and Links

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. 1939/09/27 TLS from Murphy, John F. X. This is to certify that I have this day examined the oral cavity of Thomas Merton. [certification by Merton's dentist in New York concerning state of his teeth] «detailed view»
2. 1939/09/28 TLS from Treleaven, Clifford L. This is to certify that Mr. Thomas Merton, 35 Perry St., New York, N. Y., reported to me today [C. L. Treleaven, an optometrist at Columbia University, provided a report of the condition of Merton's vision] «detailed view»
3. 1939/10/02 other  Columbia University OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR Record of Merton, Thomas Admitted Feb. 1935 A.B. Degree Conferred [contains reproductions of Merton's transcripts from Columbia University for his A.B. degree, conferred February 23, 1938; and for his A.M. degree, conferred February 22, 1939] «detailed view»
4. 1939/10/02 HLS from Mulligan, Edward A. This is to certify that I have examined Thomas J. Merton today and found him in good physical [physician's certification for Merton to attend graduate school] «detailed view»
5. 1939/10/09 TLS from Hawkes, H. E. This certifies that Mr. Thomas Merton was a fine student in Columbia College for three years, [academic letter of recommendation from H. E. Hawkes, Dean of Columbia College at Columbia University] «detailed view»
6. 1939/10/13 other   Certificate of Baptism + Church of Corpus Christi - NEW YORK - This is to certify that Thomas [Merton's baptismal certificate / baptism celebrated November 16, 1938 (copy made of document made on the date listed for this item in 1939), Fr. Joseph C. Moore, presider; Edward Rice, sponsor] «detailed view»
7. 1939/11/02 other  Ahrendt, Leslie W. A. CERTIFIED COPY of an ENTRY OF MARRIAGE. Pursuant to the Marriage Acts, 1811 to 1932. [official copy of the marriage certificate granted to Merton's parents, Owen Merton and Ruth Calvert Jenkins, in London, April 7, 1914 - both were age 27, Owen listed as artist by profession, the marriage was Church of England / Owen's father, Alfred Merton, was listed as a musician; and Ruth's father, Samuel Jenkins, is listed as a publisher] «detailed view»
8. 1939/11/03? HLS from Knisaly, W. J., Fr. This is to certify that Thomas Merton, son of Owen Merton and Ruth Jenkins was confirmed at Corpus [statement that Merton was confirmed May 25, 1939, by the Most Reverend Stephen Donahue at Corpus Christi Church / statement written by (writing is unclear) Fr. W. J. Knisaly (sp?)] «detailed view»
9. 1940/10/16 other  Bedell, Charles P. REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE This is to certify that in accordance with the Selective Service [Merton's Selective Service card under "Thomas James Merton" with physical description and address in Douglaston, Long Island, New York] «detailed view»
10. 1941/12/09 other  First National Bank, Olean, New York NAME Thomas J. Merton St. Bonaventure's College, St. Bonaventure, N. Y. IN ACCOUNT WITH FIRST [bank statement - Merton closed this account before leaving for Gethsemani - includes five cancelled checks used to withdraw cash and to pay his uncle, Harold B. Jenkins, a bookshop, and R. J. Collins] «detailed view»
11. 1941/12/09 TLS  from Plassmann, Thomas / to Frederic Dunne The bearer, Thomas J. Merton, has been with us for the space of about two years and he has been [from Thomas Plassmann, O.F.M., President of St. Bonaventure College in New York; to Dom Frederic M. Dunne, O.C.S.O., Abbot of Gethsemani - letter of recommendation attesting to Merton's high moral character, scholarship, and devotion as a Christian] «detailed view»
12. 1941/12/12 (#01) TLS  from Ford, George / to Merton It is a pleasure for me to send you a certificate of baptism and Confirmation. I visited Gethsemane [from Fr. George Barry Ford - encloses certificates of baptism and confirmation - see items 2 and 3 of the same date] «detailed view»
13. 1941/12/12 (#02) other  from Ford, George / to Merton CHURCH OF CORPUS CHRISTI 535 WEST 121st STREET NEW YORK Name Thomas Merton Date of birth [certifies Merton's baptism on November 16, 1938] «detailed view»
14. 1941/12/12 (#03) other  from Ford, George / to Merton Church of Corpus Christi 535 WEST 121st STREET NEW YORK Notification of Confirmation [certifies Merton's confirmation on May 25, 1939] «detailed view»
15. 1942/01/12 TLS  from Walsh, Donatus / to Merton I am enclosing the papers requested some time ago. I am sorry that you had to wait so long [Fr. Donatus Walsh, O.F.M., sends Merton papers they had on file about him at the Franciscan Fathers in the Province of the Most Holy Name in New York - he sends "all the papers except those addressed to the Order"] «detailed view»
16. 1942/01/17 other by Diocese of Buffalo, New York The Chancery Diocese of Buffalo TESTIMONIAL LETTERS FORM FOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS [sent by Dom Frederic Dunne, Abbot of Gethsemani, giving details about Merton's background] «detailed view»
17. 1942/01/24 (#01) TLS  from Kearney, Raymond A. / Frederic Dunne In accordance with your request of January 13th we are pleased to forward herewith testimonial [Fr. Raymond A. Kearney, Chancellor of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, provides a reference for Merton as an aspirant to the novitiate of Gethsemani Abbey] «detailed view»
18. 1942/01/24 (#02) other  Molloy, Thomas THOMAS EDMUNDUS DEI ET APOSTOLICAE SEDIS GRATIA EPISCOPUS BROOKLYNIENSIS [statement of recommendation from Thomas Edmund Malloy, Bishop of Brooklyn] «detailed view»
19. 1942/01/27 other  Merton Franciscus Joseph DEI ET APOSTOLICAE SEDIS GRATIA ARCHIEPISCOPUS NEO-EBORACENSIS [statement of recommendation for religious life from the Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York] «detailed view»
20. 1942/02/02 other from Plassmann, Thomas The Chancery Diocese of Buffalo Fifty Franklin Street Buffalo, New York TESTIMONIAL LETTERS [recommendation for from Fr. Thomas Plassmann, President of St. Bonaventure College in New York] «detailed view»
21. 1942/02/17 other from Duffy, John Aloysius Joannes Aloisius Dei et Apostolicae Sedis gratia Episcopus Buffalensis P. Friderico M. [statement of recommendation for religious life from John Aloysius Duffy, Bishop of Buffalo, New York] «detailed view»
22. 1942/03/03 (#01) TLS  from Barkman, A. L. / to Merton Your February 17, 1942. Since it appears that you have no immediate intention of filing a petition [A. L. Barkman, Inspector in Charge, U. S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service in Erie, Pennsylvania - sending to Merton a Declaration of Intention and Immigrant Identification Card] «detailed view»
23. 1942/03/03 (#02) TLS[x]  from Griffith, G. Talbot / Bishop McNulty J. T. Merton left this school some years before I become Headmaster and therefore anything I say [from G. Talbot Griffith, Headmaster of Oakham School, to John Francis McNulty, the Bishop of Nottingham] record of Merton's skill in the Classics and modern languages at Oakham School and rumors about his time at Cambridge / ends letter with "he was clearly something of a rebel." «detailed view»
24. 1942/03/12 (#01) other from McNulty, John OMNIBUS HAS LITTERAS VISURIS SALUTEM IN DOMINO Cum dilectus in Christo filius Thomas Jacobus [letter of recommendation for the religious life from John McNulty, Bishop of Nottingham, England] «detailed view»
25. 1942/03/12 (#02) other  from McNulty, John / to Frederic Dunne Your kind letter referring to Mr. T.J. Merton reached me safely and I at once wrote to the [letter accompanying recommendation for the religious life from John McNulty, Bishop of Nottingham, England / also enclosed with letter was the message from Merton's former Headmaster from Oakham School, G. Talbot Griffith] «detailed view»
26. 1942/08/04 other  Merton, John Paul I, JOHN PAUL MERTON of 114 Parker Place, Ithaca, New York, being of sound mind and memory do make [Last will and testament of Thomas Merton's brother, John Paul] «detailed view»
27. 1943/03/23 TLS  from Grosset and Dunlap Publishers to Merton We enclose check drawn to your order on an account carried under the title of A. Donald Grosset, [check sent to Gethsemani by the sale of some Grosset and Dunlap stock] «detailed view»
28. 1943/05/24 HNS  from ? / to Merton I have had a total of 24 points on around 3 years of Scholastic Philosophy - of which 9 were taken [note to the "Father Master" at Gethsemani concerning his prior studies in philosophy, theology, and what in the coursework at Gethsemani that he might need to take - written on verso of envelope from M. E. Tobin of Bronx, New York (the date given for this item is its postmark and not the date this note was written - accompanying letter does not exist)] «detailed view»
29. 1943/12/04 HLS  from Merton to Frederic Dunne A longo tempore firmiter firmiusque desideravi ac serio probavi ut aliquando ad religiosum statum [statement of intention Dom Frederic Dunne to make simple vows] «detailed view»
30. 1943/12/05 HLS  from Merton to Frederic Dunne As the end of my novitiate approaches, I wish to put on record my sincere desire and determination [statement of intention to Dom Frederic Dunne to make simple vows] «detailed view»
31. 1944/02/17 other[x]   I, Thomas James Merton, in religion frater M. Louis, formerly of St. Bonaventure, State of New York, [Merton's last will and testiment covering his three years of simple vows (temporary vows), see also "Dunne, Frederick" folder in Section A, and "Memo: Concerning My Will and Testament" in Sub-Section E.1] «detailed view»
32. 1944/03/19 HLS from Merton Ego, frater Maria Ludovicus, Thomas Jacobus Merton, laicus, promitto stabilitatem meam, conversionem [Merton's statement of simple vows] «detailed view»
33. 1946/12/19 HLS  from Merton to Frederic Dunne PETITION for Solemn Profession My Dear Rev. Father: As the end of my simple vows approaches [petition to take his solemn vows as a choir religious in the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (Trappists) - his Solemn Profession was made March 19, 1947] «detailed view»
34. 1947/03/19 (#01) HN from Merton Ego frater Maria Ludovicus Merton, acolythus, professus a votis temporariis, promitto stabilitatem [Merton's statement of Solemn Profession as a Cistercian on March 19, 1947] «detailed view»
35. 1947/03/19 (#02) HN[x] by Merton Nos, Frater Maria Fredericus Dunne, Abbas monasterii, quod vulgo dicitur Beatae Mariae de Gethsemani [copy from a book at Gethsemani with statement by Dom Frederic Dunne, accepting Merton's petition for solemn profession / signed by Dom Frederic, Merton, and other witnesses] «detailed view»
36. 1948/09/29 HLS  from Merton to James Fox A longo tempore firmiter firmiusque desideravi ac serio probavi ut aliquando ad religiosum statum [statement of intention to Dom James Fox for ordination to the priesthood] «detailed view»
37. 1952/10/08 TLS  from Merton to James Fox PRIVATE VOW. In honor of the simplicity and humility of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God, [Merton's lifelong vow to never accept an election to abbot or titular prior of Gethsemani Abbey or of any other monastery of the Cistercian Order - signed by Dom James Fox and Merton] «detailed view»
38. 1966/09/08 TLS  from Merton to James Fox I Brother M. Louis Merton, solemnly professed monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, having [vow to spend the rest of his life in solitude as long as health permits - signed by Merton and Dom James Fox] «detailed view»
39. undated/no/no (#01) TNS to Dunne, Frederic Frater Louis (Thomas Jas. Merton) My dear Reverend Father:- For the above frater we need [list of needed documentation for Merton's birth, baptism, confirmation, etc. - addressed to Dom Frederic Dunne] «detailed view»
40. undated/no/no (#02) other   [black and white photograph (head shot) of Thomas Merton, circa 1950] «detailed view»

Printer-Friendly Version   Return to the Top of the Page