Merton Artifacts – “one of the finest [privately owned] spiritual literary archives of the 20th century”

I began collecting Merton titles a couple of decades ago. Part of it was because I heard in Merton some deeper truth that I longed to hear; a truth that I could not then articulate. That truth, ever deepening, is a kerygma of love and hope, of grace and faith.  

There were glimpses in Merton’s writing of a God whom every part of me wanted to learn more about. I read his writing, incessantly.

Soon I also discovered the vastness of the Merton library. He was available in all sorts of ways -first editions, mimeographs, off-prints, limited editions, and proof copies. And he was published widely by numerous publishers – Harcourt, Hollis and Carter, New Directions, Stamperia Del Santuccio, etc. Searching for books by Merton created a single narrative in a way which somehow grounded me in my life.  

Fast forward twenty years and today I continue to collect Merton, although less intensely.

I also collect books by others – Henri Nouwen, for instance, Robert Lax, and Dorothy Day. Collecting has become a quiet joy which I do when there is time.

When I settle into it, I remember those early days and the inspiration I felt when I first began to read Merton. That inspiration, I am certain now, is what led me to become a Lutheran Pastor. For this I am grateful to Merton. He helped me find my way home.

We are all bound to seek not only our own good, but the good of others. Divine providence brings us in contact, whether directly or indirectly, with those in whose lives we are to play a part as instruments of salvation.

~ Thomas Merton, Life and Holiness. 1963, p. 40