News Item

Merton Center launches digital collection on new website

Jul 27, 2017

The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University has a new tool for bringing Merton to the world.

The center - the official repository of Merton's artistic estate - has started digitizing portions of its collection. 

Although some digitized items are only available on a kiosk located inside the center because of copyright issues, more than 350 items are currently available online at The Merton Center will continue to add items to its digital collection.

 A postcard written by Thomas Merton in 1961 is one of hundreds of items now available online. [source]

In addition to materials related to Thomas Merton, the digitized collection includes items related to Mother Teresa, along with collections about Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement that were made possible with support from the Zarrella family.

“The idea for a digitization project came in response to the wealth of new materials donated to the Merton Center by the Zarrella family,” said Mark C. Meade, assistant director of the center. “The family wanted the materials not only to be preserved but to be widely accessible. Placing the scanned items online and showing Merton Center visitors an interactive touchscreen exhibit are ways we can promote little-known jewels from the Merton collection, like the Dorothy Day and Catholic Worker items.”

Merton (1915-1968) was a writer, social activist, artist, photographer and Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey near Bardstown, Ky. He wrote more than 70 books that include poetry, personal journals, collections of letters and social criticism, including such classics as “The Seven Storey Mountain” and “Zen and the Birds of Appetite.”

The Thomas Merton Center curates Merton’s writings, along with more than 1,300 photographs and 900 drawings. The Center archives more than 50,000 Merton-related materials and hosts events that celebrate Merton’s life and legacy. The center is a global destination for research about Merton.

The self-serve kiosk containing additional items can be used by Merton Center visitors during regular weekday operating hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Merton Center is located in Bellarmine’s W.L. Lyons Brown Library. For more information, visit

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