Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Theology & Religion > 140. Thomas Merton

140.  Thomas Merton (1915-1968).  The Seven Storey Mountain. Typed manuscript, with Merton's emendations in ink, 649 pp. Trappist, Kentucky, 1948. RBML, Thomas Merton Papers

Thomas Merton graduated from Columbia College in 1938, and received his Master's in English in 1939. He had converted to Catholicism while at Columbia, but surprised his many friends and professors, including Mark Van Doren, by becoming a Trappist monk, a member of the Cisterian Order of the Strict Observance, in 1941. He was later ordained a priest, taking the name of Father M. Louis. Among Merton's most widely read writings is his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, shown here in the original setting-copy for the first edition. In addition to Merton's own changes, the typescript also has editor Robert Giroux's corrections in pencil and a copy editor's marking in red pencil. Less well known material in Columbia's Merton Papers are most of his lecture and conference notes which he used while serving as master of scholastics and, later, master of novices, prior to his untimely death in Bangkok in 1968.

Gift of Robert Giroux, 1991

Columbia University Libraries / Butler Library / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-7309 /