Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a writer and Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. His writings include such classics as The Seven Storey Mountain, New Seeds of Contemplation, and Zen and the Birds of Appetite. Merton is the author of more than seventy books that include poetry, personal journals, collections of letters, social criticism, and writings on peace, justice, and ecumenism.

The Thomas Merton Center is the official repository of Merton’s artistic estate, which includes over thirteen hundred photographs and nine hundred drawings in addition to his writing. The Center archives more than fifty thousand Merton-related materials.

The Center serves as a regional, national, and international resource for scholarship and inquiry on Thomas Merton and his works and also on the ideas he promoted: contemplative life, spirituality, ecumenism, East-West relations, personal and corporate inner work, peace, and social justice. The Merton Center regularly sponsors courses, lectures, retreats, seminars, Road Scholar [elderhostel], and exhibits for scholars, students, and the general public.