Skip to main content
John M. Kelly Library

The Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives and Research Collection

The Nouwen Archive Letter Project
A project of the Nouwen Archives and the Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust to gather together the letters that Henri wrote, with the intent of sharing them current and future generations.

"A good letter can change the day for someone in pain . . . can create a smile and bring joy to the heart."

Henri Nouwen,
The Genesee Diary

Nouwen Letter Campaign


Henri's letter to you was a great gift.
Join others in sharing that gift with future generations.

Henri Nouwen had a strong conviction about the value of reaching out to people through letters. This was not a conviction he simply wrote about, talked about or taught about. This was a conviction that he dedicated hours to each day. He believed that a good letter could really change someone's day and life. Not only that, he believed that a letter written to one person, could be helpful in the life of another person. On May 26, 1988, in a letter to a very close friend of his, Henri writes:

For these important reasons, the Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and the Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives and Research Collection have been working to gather together the letters that Henri wrote, with the intent of sharing them current and future generations.

Of course, Henri had many friends, colleagues, acquaintances and fans. It was quite a task just to identify whom we should contact! If you are reading this today, and you have letters, postcards, photos, manuscripts or other material related to Henri please be in touch! You are important, and we want to hear from you.

The response from those whom we have personally reached thus far has been overwhelmingly positive. People have graciously shared fond memories, humorous stories, and life changing moments that they experienced with Henri. Just about everyone who had material to share did so enthusiastically. To date we have received over two thousand new items into the archive, the majority of which are letters written by Henri.

Yet we recognize that there is still more work to be done. We patiently await those who are searching for their letters from Henri, and we are committed to reaching out to those with whom we have not yet made contact. Perhaps you'll be hearing from us soon!

Naturally, many of you will want to see the letters that have been collected. For now, we can only display a small highlight of the letters in the PDF booklets posted at the right hand side of this page. More booklets will be posted over time.

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.

Sincere gratitude to all who have so generously participated in the Letter Project thus far and we look forward to connecting with many others.

The Nouwen Archive Letter Project General Inquiries:

Ms. Brynn Lawrence
Project Coordinator

The Nouwen Archive Letter Project
John M. Kelly Library
113 St. Joseph St.
Toronto, ON M5S 1J4
Canada

416-926-1300 ext 3609
nouwen.letters@utoronto.ca