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Archival description
Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996
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Manuscripts

Series consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of more than 150 books and articles, forewords and introductions, sermons, and talks by Henri Nouwen. The date range of the materials is from 1956 to 1996. The series contains drafts of 49 of his articles and drafts of 41 books (Nouwen published over 300 articles and 39 books in his lifetime). In addition to handwritten drafts or typescripts some files may also include loose notes (usually background reading notes), galley and print proofs, administrative papers, correspondence regarding the materials, and photographs and artwork used in the process of publication.

The materials in the Series reflect Nouwen’s general writing process: for the most part he hand-wrote his works on foolscap or in hard-back journals, often he created reading notes pertaining to the subject he was writing on, drafts were typed by an administrative assistant and then circulated to friends and other readers for comment. He saved all of the drafts, often incorporating the notes made by himself and other readers, in order to create one final work.

Common themes present in the drafts include: spirituality, love, God, psychology, theology, relationships, prayer, ministry, and Christian life. Nouwen often reflected on his own spiritual journey and experiences in his works in journal form. This writing was often deeply personal and it is for this reason that some of the manuscripts and drafts are restricted from use, including Man at the Watershed, A Spiritual Journey, Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given (parts of which were published in Life of the Beloved), The Inner Voice of Love, Adam, and Sabbatical Journey.

With exception of the sermons, most material has been published. Eight transcripts have been identified as unpublished, including a book on Anton T. Boisen based on Nouwen’s doctoral thesis, a draft of a work about Nouwen’s friend Richard Alan White, and notes for a book Nouwen began in 1991 regarding the trapeze and the spiritual life as well as some of the restricted material listed above. See file descriptions for more information on each work.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Books and articles

Sub-series consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of many of Nouwen's published and unpublished books and articles, including forewords, introductions and afterwords for other authors' books. The sub-series represents Nouwen's writing process, from miscellaneous notes and journal entries to galley and print proofs. Some articles contain subject matter later published in Nouwen's full-length books; links between them have been made where appropriate.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Talks and sermons

Sub-series consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of many of Nouwen's published and unpublished talks (including informal talks and formal lectures), and sermons (including several marriage homilies). The sub-series represents Nouwen's process of preparing for public speaking, from miscellaneous notes to annotated typescripts of talks intended for publication. Some talks and sermons contain subject matter later published in Nouwen's articles and full-length books; links between them have been made where appropriate. This sub-series also includes transcripts of Nouwen's talks made by others.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Sound recordings

Series consists of audio cassettes of Nouwen giving lectures at universities, speaking at churches, conferences and other engagements, parts of and complete books on tape and recordings from radio shows and interviews. Some of the material was professionally produced and some are amateur recordings.

Collected materials

Series consists of material collected by Nouwen on topics, people, and issues of interest. Nouwen used this material for articles, books, lectures, talks, sermons, general interest, and as reference for his duties as pastor, friend, researcher, and writer. Includes journal articles, books, sound recordings, newspaper clippings, photographs, newsletters, and manuscripts. See sub-series level descriptions for more detail.

Administrative resources files

Series consists of administrative resources files which were maintained for Nouwen by Nouwen's administrative staffs from 1983 to 1997. These files contain materials collected by Nouwen in order to assist him with his roles as pastor, writer, researcher, and friend. In addition to subject-based material such as newspaper clippings and brochures, it is evident that Nouwen's administrative assistants at Daybreak used these files to hold administrative material related to liturgical events such as Christmas, Lent, and Easter, as well as other aspects of Nouwen's duties in the community. These files were likely maintained as a resource for Nouwen regarding his daily work.

Ephemera and artifacts

Series consists of ephemera and artifacts collected by or given to Nouwen throughout his lifetime, including awards and honourary degrees, materials kept in his office and home, promotional materials, artwork, postcards, religious artifacts, and personal artifacts.

Photographs

Series consists of colour and black and white photographs (including negatives) accumulated by Nouwen, and colour slides taken by him and others. Photographs not taken by Nouwen were gathered mainly from friends and acquaintances through correspondence, over a period of approximately 30 years. The photographs were stored by Nouwen and his administrative assistant(s) in files, or displayed on one of several large bulletin boards Nouwen used in his office and photograph albums compiled. Some photographs that arrived with correspondence were kept in the General Files series with their letter of origin, while others which were not clearly attached to a letter were separated and added to this series.

Subject matter depicted in the photographs include professional portraits of Nouwen; Nouwen in both his professional and private capacities at: the Yale and Harvard Divinity Schools, and at L'Arche Daybreak (leading church services, at birthdays and Christmas celebrations), religious events (baptisms, first communions, ordinations and weddings); as well as his travels to Peru and Bolivia, the United States, France, and other countries; and with his family in the Netherlands both as a child and as an adult. Photographs also depict Nouwen's friends, their families, and L'Arche Daybreak assistants and core members. In addition, a large number of photographs in this series (approximately one fifth), document Nouwen's time spent in Germany with a flying trapeze troupe, The Flying Rodleighs.

Slides were taken by Nouwen of Martin Luther King, Jr’s civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, in March 1965; of the University of Notre Dame; vacations, including a trip to Greece; and of Nouwen with Rodleigh Stevens of The Flying Rodleighs in 1995.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

General files

Series consists of more than 16 000 letters received by Henri Nouwen between 1964 and 1997. Some files include photographs and other printed material sent to Nouwen as enclosures. In some instances, a copy of Nouwen's typed letter of reply is also included in the file.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Calendar files

Series consists of files containing correspondence and other material related to Nouwen's day to day engagements. Nouwen received dozens of invitations each month to give lectures or talks, lead retreats, preside at religious occasions, and provide spiritual direction. Requests came from a wide range of institutions, organisations and individuals, the majority having some sort of religious affiliation. Invitations from institutions included university divinity schools, seminaries, hospital pastoral departments, churches, and Christian retreat centres. Invitations from organisations included the National Catholic AIDS Network, the Ministry of Money, and the Archdiocese of Toronto. Invitations from individuals included requests for Nouwen to preside over masses, weddings, funerals, baptisms and ordinations, and those interested in personal spiritual direction. Such requests often came from priests, ministers, pastors, and chaplains. The majority of Nouwen's engagements took place in the Northeastern United States, Southern Ontario, and Holland. However, he also attended events in Illinois, Texas, California, British Columbia, Quebec, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Ukraine. After Nouwen's move to L'Arche Daybreak in 1986, files were created to plan and document special events associated with his role as pastor. There are files regarding community meetings, community weekends, assistant workshops, visits to other L'Arche communities and meetings of the International Federation of L'Arche.

The files were created between 1980 and 1996, however, the file titles themselves extend to 1998 because events were often scheduled two or more years in advance. There are no files for January 1982 to April 1985. The files from 1985 contain invitations only from March to August grouped by month. There are no files for June 1987 to May 1990. Approximately 74% of the files in the series are for June 1990 to August 1995. Their are only a small number of files for September 1995 to October 1998, this is likely because Nouwen was on sabbatical from September 1995 to September 1996. The files contain gaps and inconsistencies due to Nouwen's frequent movement between 1982 and 1986 as well as changes in Nouwen's support staff and their differing recordkeeping techniques.

This series provides an excellent overview of Nouwen's schedule of events and specific information regarding his participation at those events. Noteworthy are the handwritten and typed notes used for speaking engagements (some are unpublished) as well as copies of outgoing letters written by Nouwen.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Personal records

Series consists of records of a personal nature which were created and kept by Nouwen throughout his life. These materials are arranged into sub-series and files which reflect the main value of that grouping of personal records.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Publisher files

Series consists of correspondence and other material related to the business of publishing. The files provide the researcher with detailed and comprehensive information about the genesis and publication of most of Nouwen's books, as well as biographical information about Nouwen the writer, the business man, and the man.

The files may include: business correspondence discussing book ideas, titles of books and other issues, including copies of outgoing letters containing Nouwen's response to all stages of publication; business documents such as draft manuscripts, revised manuscripts with annotations, responses to manuscripts by editors and other readers, draft illustrations and mock booklets for design purposes, galleys, page proofs, royalties and advance statements, original publisher/author agreements and contracts; personal correspondence between Nouwen and his editors. The files also contain outgoing correspondence by Nouwen's various assistants over the years, including Connie Ellis, Kathy Christie, Lydia Banducci, Margaret Sutton, Peter Weiskel, Joseph Sarno, Carol Plantinga, Deborah A. Hawkins and Vincent Masi.

The files relate primarily to book publication, however, they also contain material about the publication of articles and audiocassettes, video, material related to requests from publishers for endorsements, forewords and introductions to the books of other writers, and in some cases, especially in the General Publisher files sub-series, requests for permission to publish parts of Nouwen's work and translation rights to his books. Correspondence can be found from publishers in the Netherlands, the former East Germany, Belgium, England, France, Spain, Poland, Italy, South Africa, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

With the exception of the General files, these files represent the major publishers that Nouwen worked with from 1973 to 1996. Although the files contain material on all books published up to Nouwen's death, since his first book was published in 1969, it can be presumed that some of the correspondence and documents from 1969 to 1972 are missing.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Financial files

  • CA ON00389 6.0
  • Series
  • December 1980 - December 1997, predominant August 1986 - September 1996
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Series consists of Nouwen's financial files dating from 1980 and 1997, predominantly from 1986 -1997. Prior to 1986 Nouwen's personal accountant kept the majority of Nouwen's records and likely discarded them after the mandatory seven years retention period. The records from this time period are therefore minimal and consist primarily of financial overviews, cash books and American bank and retirement accounts and insurance files. After 1986, the records become more detailed and voluminous, including files about Nouwen's income (stipends, donations and royalties), expenses, taxes, insurance, retirement plans, credit cards and bank accounts.

The files were created and kept by various secretaries and financial secretaries that Nouwen hired to control his complicated and extensive financial accounts. In the mid-1970s Nouwen hired Joe Sarno as his personal accountant. Sarno was responsible for Nouwen's income tax returns, American bank accounts and retirement funds until 1994 when Nouwen decided to consolidate his accounts to Daybreak. Carol Plantinga served as his financial secretary from the mid-1970s to 1986. From 1983-1985 Nouwen's assistant Peter Weiskel also worked with the financial files. At Daybreak, Connie Ellis took on the roles of both administrative assistant and financial secretary. After Ellis' became ill in 1992 Kathy Christie became Nouwen's administrative assistant and Lydia Banducci was hired as his financial secretary. Christie remained with Nouwen until his death in 1996. In 1993 Banducci was replaced by Margaret Sutton. Sutton remained in this position until 1997. In 1994 Nouwen began to consolidate all his financial and accounting information at Daybreak. Completing Nouwen's 1994 tax return was Sarno's last responsibility as his accountant. In 1996 Sutton arranged for all the records created and kept by Sarno to be transferred to Daybreak. Nouwen began transferring his accounting to account manager Alka Vijan at Canada Trust in 1994.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Teaching materials

  • CA ON00389 7.0
  • Series
  • 1966 - 1985, 1994; predominant 1971 - 1981
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Series consists of materials created by Nouwen for use in his capacity as a professor and instructor. These materials include notes for lectures, reading notes, class lists, handouts for students, class schedules, course evaluations, audio recordings of lectures, and records related to the administration of courses.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Course lectures, handouts, reading, and student notes

Sub-series consists of bound volumes of materials and loose documents created and used by Nouwen for his teaching positions various academic institutions in both North America and Europe. This includes reading notes, preparation notes, lecture notes, typed lecture summaries, course handouts and syllabi, many of which are heavily annotated by Nouwen. It also includes lectures, letters, notes, assignments and course evaluations produced by Nouwen's students and teaching assistants. In addition to the course-specific bound volumes, there are two bound volumes that are labelled as "miscellaneous class material" that relate to Nouwen's early career from 1959 to 1976.

Administrative records

  • CA ON00389 7.0-7.2
  • Subseries
  • 1966-1994, predominant 1983-1985
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Sub-series consists of administrative materials relating to activities which Nouwen performed as a university professor within the administrative and social frameworks of the academic setting.

Nouwen's education records and study notes

Series consists of research notes, papers and essays, and reading notes created by Nouwen throughout his own education. Series includes records related to Nouwen's advanced degrees in Psychology and Theology, including research for dissertations.

Nouwen graduated from St. Aloysius College Gymnasium on June 12, 1950. He studied at the minor seminary at Apeldoorn from 1950-1951 before entering the Diocesan Seminary at Rijsenburg, Holland in 1951. He studied Philosophy and Theology while in the seminary from 1951-1957, and was ordained on July 21, 1957. Nouwen studied Psychology at the University of Nijmegen from 1957-1964. He spent two years at the Menninger Clinic as a Fellow in Religion and Psychiatry from 1964-1966. From 1970-1971, Nouwen returned to the University of Nijmegen to pursue a doctoral degree in Theology.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Published works

Series consists of published works written and collected by Nouwen during his lifetime. Although there are some of his earliest writings dating from 1956, the series is predominantly dating from 1970 to 1996.

Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996

Articles by Nouwen

  • CA ON00389 9.0-9.1
  • Subseries
  • 1960-1996, predominant 1974, 1976-1996
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Sub-series consists of published articles written by Nouwen between 1960 and 1996. A majority of the articles are dated between 1975 and 1996 probably because in 1975 Nouwen began transferring the articles for storage at Yale. The articles are in various formats including entire periodicals, offprints, clippings, and photocopies as originally saved by Nouwen. Specific publications include Pastoral Psychology, Sojourners, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Feu et Lumiere, The New Oxford Review, National Catholic Reporter, Weavings, and Zaken die God raken. Articles from church newsletters and other sources with limited publication are also included. In addition to featuring unique writings, the articles also represent published material that has been excerpted, condensed, adapted and reprinted from Nouwen's books, articles, and conference speeches. This sub-series contains only those articles written by Nouwen which he collected and does not contain all of his published articles as is evident by several incomplete article series.

Guides

Sub-series consists of one leader's guide to Nouwen's book Letter's to Marc about Jesus. The book was produced by the publisher of Nouwen's book as a learning aid. Through a series of questions and exercises it attempts to help the reader gain in their own spiritual life through Nouwen's book. The book has been described at the item level.

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