1967-03-20: Letter to Tony Boyd from Thomas Merton


Dublin Core


1967-03-20: Letter to Tony Boyd from Thomas Merton


Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968


Tony Boyd was a seventh-grader writing from Ashland, Kentucky. He asked Merton for information about Kentucky music and facts. In Merton's reply, he expresses his appreciation for Kentucky, having spent half of his life in the state, and his fondness for country music and Johnny Cash (though Merton acknowledges that Cash is not from Kentucky). He writes also of Gethsemani Abbey, describing the buildings and their renovation, the Gregorian chant, and the work of the monks.


Thomas Merton


Thomas Merton Center Classification, Section A: Correspondence, "Boyd, Tony".


Published in: The Road to Joy.


1967 March 20


© The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. All rights reserved.


See also: Letter from Tony Boyd.

For full finding aid, click here.




Section A- Boyd, Tony: 1967/March/20

Text Item Type Metadata


First line: 'You are the first person who ever picked me out as an authority on music.' ...

Transcript: "March 20, 1967

Dear Tony:

You are the first person who ever picked me out as an authority on music. I cannot even play a mouth organ properly, though I can play bongo drums, I admit that. All I know is that I like Country Music when I hear it, which is rarely. I like Johnny Cash, but I guess he is not from Kentucky. Here in the monastery we have sung Gregorian chant which is an ancient form of Catholic Church music.

What can I contribute to your scrapbook on Kentucky facts? Maybe you would like to know about our monastery. It was founded in 1848 by some monks from France and the building was built by the monks during the Civil War. This ancient building is now being entirely remodeled on the inside. The monks are well known for their dairy farm which produces a special kind of cheese. They keep silence among themselves in order to think more deeply and to keep their minds on God. This is an occupation which other people tend to overlook.

I have been in this monastery over twenty five years now, which means that I have lived in Kentucky half my life. I like it in Kentucky and I am very glad to be a citizen of this State.

Wishing you luck with your scrap book, God bless you

Sincerely yours,"


Thomas Merton, “1967-03-20: Letter to Tony Boyd from Thomas Merton,” Merton Center Digital Collections, accessed March 17, 2018, https://merton.bellarmine.edu/items/show/15242.