Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives and Research Collection

Henri J.M. Nouwen in a classroom in front of chalk board, arms stretched out with a big smile.

The Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives & Research Collection

The Archives consists of more than 50 linear metres of material created and accumulated by Henri Nouwen in his lifetime.

The Archives includes drafts of manuscripts, more than 16, 000 incoming letters, over 200 sound and video recordings, lecture notes and handouts, administrative files from L’Arche Daybreak, business correspondence and other material related to Nouwen’s publishers, photographs, research material collected by Nouwen on Anton T. Boisen, Seward Hiltner, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Merton, and the Circus, as well as a complete set of his published books (including translations), and a comprehensive collection of articles published by Nouwen between 1957 and 1996.

A portrait of Henri J.M. Nouwen
Henri Nouwen, 1976 | Photographer: M.E. Kronstein

There are 15 series in the Henri Nouwen archives:

  1. Manuscripts
  2. General files
  3. Calendar files
  4. Personal records
  5. Publisher files
  6. Financial files
  7. Teaching materials
  8. Nouwen’s education records and study notes
  9. Published works
  10. Video recordings
  11. Sound recordings
  12. Collected materials
  13. Administrative resources
  14. Ephemera and artifacts
  15. Photographs

Finding Guide and Publications

Research Collection

The Research Collection includes materials relating to Henri Nouwen which were collected by the Archivist and other individuals with an interest in maintaining Nouwen’s legacy.

There are nine series in the Research Collection:

  1. Material by Nouwen
  2. Material about Nouwen
  3. Materials mentioning Nouwen
  4. Reviews
  5. Newsletters
  6. Nouwen events, promotional material, programs and souvenirs
  7. Publisher materials (ie. catalogues and advertisements featuring books by Nouwen)
  8. Reference files
  9. Audiovisual material

No Finding Guide for the Research Collection is available at this time. Series and item level descriptions are available in the Archives through the in-house archival database.

The Nouwen Archive Letter Project

Included in the Research Collection are those letters and materials collected as a result of the Nouwen Archive Letter Project. Together, the Archives and Research Collection serve to promote the legacy of Nouwen’s writing, teaching and life.

An in depth exploration of the letters is possible for all who are doing work on Henri’s legacy. This may include researchers, scholars, presenters, writers etc. Please email specialcollections.kellylibrary@utoronto.ca to place a research request, and schedule a date to visit Henri’s Archive.

Digital Exhibits

Disclaimer: Access to the photographic images in these displays, and the technical capacity to download them, does not imply permission for re-use. Permission to publish or otherwise use these images, and any accompanying text, must first be obtained in writing from Archival and Manuscript Collections.

Mandate of the Archives

The Archives exists to:

  • Collect and preserve archival material created by and about Henri Nouwen.
  • Collect and maintain a library of books, articles, interviews and other published material by and about Henri Nouwen, as well as reference material, artifacts and memorabilia that documents the life and work of Henri Nouwen.
  • Arrange and describe materials according to archival principles and make them accessible to the general public on a regular basis, unless access is restricted.
  • Provide adequate and appropriate conditions for the storage, protection, and preservation of archival material.
  • Provide regular reference services to individuals, organizations, or other groups interested in the activities and holdings of the Archives.
  • Provide educational and outreach programs whenever possible to increase public awareness and knowledge of the life and work of Henri Nouwen.

History of the Archives

The material in the Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives and Research Collection was donated to the John M. Kelly Library at the University of St Michael’s College on January 19, 2000 by the Literary Executrix of Nouwen’s estate, Sue Mosteller, C.S.J.. The donation included more than 124 linear feet of material from L’Arche Daybreak as well as 29 linear feet of material originally deposited by Nouwen at the Yale Divinity Library. The Archives and Research Collection was officially opened on September 21, 2000.

Donating Material to the Archives

The Archives actively pursues and accepts donation of material by or about Henri Nouwen. Letters, notes, audio and videocassettes, transcripts of talks, manuscripts and other material would be of great interest and value to the Archives. Please contact the Archivist to discuss your interest further.

Contacting the Nouwen Archives

Email: specialcollections.kellylibrary@utoronto.ca