Title and statement of responsibility area
General material designation
- Graphic material
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- Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the series.
Level of description
CA ON00389 15.0
Edition statement of responsibility
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996
- Nouwen, Henri J. M., 1932-1996
Physical description area
5.5 m of graphic material (ca. 3380 photographs).
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Henri Nouwen was born in Nijkerk, The Netherlands to Maria (nee Ramselaar) and Laurent Nouwen on January 24, 1932, the eldest of four children. He was ordained to the Catholic priesthood on July 21, 1957 for the diocese of Utrecht. Immediately following his ordination, Nouwen began studying psychology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen completing a doctorandus degree cum laude in 1964 (February 3rd, 1964 in Psychology; primary subject: psychology of religion, secondary subjects: sociology, social geography).
Following his studies in psychology Nouwen became a Fellow in the program for Religion and Psychiatry at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas from 1964-1966. During this year he participated in Martin Luther King's civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Following his studies at the Menninger, Nouwen was invited to join the newly formed Faculty of Psychology at Notre Dame University where he taught for two years.
In 1968 he returned to the Netherlands to take positions as Staff member of the Amsterdam Joint Pastoral Institute and member of the faculty of the Catholic Theological Institute in Utrecht. From 1970-1971 Nouwen pursued an advanced degree in theology at the University of Nijmegen, focusing on the work on Anton T. Boisen. A doctorandus degree was received in 1971. After completing his theology degree he accepted a position in the Yale Divinity School. For ten years (1971-1981), he taught such courses as Christian Spirituality, Pastoral Care and Counselling, Life and Work of Thomas Merton, Ministry and Spirituality, Ministry of Vincent van Gogh and Ministry to the Elderly. He spent one semester in Rome teaching at the North American College in 1978 and became a fellow at the Ecumenical Institute at Collegeville, Minnesota.
In 1981 he resigned from his tenured position to work with the Maryknoll brothers in Peru as well as visiting Bolivia and Nicaragua. In addition to exploring his vocation in Latin America, Nouwen explored the possibility of joining several different Christian communities, with extended stays at the Abbey of the Genesee in 1979 and 1982. In 1983, following a speaking tour about Nicaragua, he accepted a Letz Lectureship at Harvard Divinity School, a position he held until his resignation in 1985. He went on to teach a summer course at Boston College and later to L'Arche Trosly-Breuil in France at the invitation of Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche (a network of more than 100 communities where people with developmental disabilities live in homes with assistants).
In 1986 he accepted the position of pastor as L'Arche Daybreak in Richmond Hill, Ontario. In addition to his duties as pastor, Nouwen co-taught with Daybreak members at Regis College, Toronto a course entitled "Communion, Community and Ministry" in 1994, the last course he would teach at a university.
In addition to teaching Nouwen was a prolific writer, authoring more than 40 books and hundreds of articles related to the Christian spiritual life including contemplative spirituality, prayer, the desert mothers and fathers, icons, ministry, theological education, peacemaking, prayer, death and the trapeze. A selection of his titles include The Wounded Healer, Reaching Out, Genesee Diary and The Return of the Prodigal Son. He was a sought-after speaker and travelled extensively to address participants at retreats, convocations, conferences and other public events.
Nouwen died on September 21, 1996 while visiting family in Holland.
Scope and content
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.
Immediate source of acquisition
This series is arranged in three sub-series:
15.1. Photographs Accumulated by Henri Nouwen
15.2. Early Personal Photographs
15.3. Photograph Albums
The series include both file- and item-level descriptions. Photographs and slides are arranged in chronological order where possible.
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See file and item level descriptions for more details.
Other photographs can be found in accession files (2002 16, 2002 17, 2002 81, Frank Hamilton), Published Works, Research and Study Notes, Teaching Materials and General Files series.
Other photographs and albums can be found in the Nouwen family fonds.
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