Merton Legacy Trust Announcements
Resignation of Tommie O'Callaghan and appointment of Mary
Effective immediately the Abbey of Gethsemani
and the Merton Legacy Trust announce and have accepted the resignation of
Thomasine O’Callaghan as a Trustee of the Merton Legacy Trust. She will
assume the role of Trustee Emeritus. Tommie was one of the original Trustees
named by Thomas Merton and since 1968 has worked tirelessly in that
capacity, devoted to the cause of the Merton Legacy, and given herself fully
to helping establish the Merton Center at Bellarmine University.
R. Somerville of Louisville will take her place as a Merton Legacy Trustee,
joining Peggy Fox and Anne McCormick.
Ms. Somerville was born and grew up in Birmingham,
Alabama. She holds a B.A in English with Honors in Writing and Phi Beta
Kappa at the University of North Carolina, an M.A. in English at the
University of Colorado, and an M.L.S. at the University of Oklahoma. Her
leadership in the international arena has included speaking and consulting
with the U.S Information Service and the State Department in South Africa
and Brazil. She has also served as President of the American Library
Association, the world’s oldest and largest library association. As
President she established an Emerging Leaders Institute, represented ALA at
IFLA in China, and advocated for libraries and children’s services through
national media, including the Today Show. Prior to that post she was
President of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of
the ALA, traveling to the former Soviet Union and participating in a
Soviet-American symposium on public library services to children . Ms.
Somerville was also Library Director in the Miami-Dade Public Library in
Florida, serving one of the nation’s ten largest public library populations.
She was listed in “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who
in American Women, 1996-97.”
Her Thomas Merton experience includes Chairing the
Archival Committee for the Merton Foundation (now the Merton Institute for
Contemplative Living), acting as the Treasurer for the International Thomas
Merton Society , current Coordinator of the Louisville ITMS Chapter, and is
now working as the Chair for the 2010 Retreat for Daggy and other Merton
Scholars. at the Abbey of Gethsemani in May 2010.
September 18, 2009
(Photograph by Michael Brennan)
|Mary R. Somerville
(Photograph by Peter
Robert Giroux 1914-2008
Robert Giroux, Columbia classmate of Thomas
Merton and editor of his autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain and
numerous subsequent Merton works, died Friday, September 5, 2008 in Tinton
Falls, NJ, at the age of 94.
Born April 8, 1914 in Jersey City, the son of Arthur J.
and Katharine Lyons Giroux, Robert Giroux attended St. Aloysius School and
Regis High School in New York City. At Columbia University he edited The
Columbia Review and became friends with Merton, the poet John Berryman and
other future literary figures. After graduating from Columbia in 1936, he
joined the CBS public relations department for four years, and from 1940
until 1955, with time out for service in the Second World War, he worked for
the publishing firm Harcourt, Brace, becoming executive editor in 1948. In
1955 he moved to Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, becoming a partner in 1964 when
the publishing firm’s name became Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as it still is
today; he became chairman of the company in 1973.
Giroux is considered one of the most distinguished
editors and publishers of the twentieth century. He edited works by ten
Nobel Prize winners, including Hermann Hesse, T. S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda,
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Derek Walcott, William Golding and Seamus Heaney, as
well as five volumes that won the Pulitzer Prize and ten National Book Award
winners. Among his many authors were Berryman, Elizabeth Bishop, E. M.
Forster, Robert Lowell, Bernard Malamud, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy and
He was the author of three books: The Education of
an Editor, the Bowker lecture of 1981; The Book Known as Q, a
study of Shakespeare’s sonnets (1982); and A Deed of Death, the story
of an unsolved Hollywood murder (1990), as well as numerous introductions,
articles and reviews.
From 1982 through 2007 Giroux served as a Trustee of
the Thomas Merton Legacy Trust, becoming Trustee Emeritus in 2008. In
1987 he received the Ivan Sandrof Award from the National Book Critics
Circle for his “distinguished contribution to the enhancement of American
literary and critical standards.” He was also awarded the Alexander Hamilton
Medal from Columbia University and the Campion Award from America magazine,
and received numerous honorary degrees, including a Doctorate of Humane
Letters from Bellarmine University in 2003.
Resignation of Robert Giroux and Appointment of Peggy L. Fox
Abbot Damien Thompson, from the Abbey of Gethsemani,
has announced the following changes in the makeup of the Thomas Merton
Robert Giroux has resigned his position as an active
member of the three-person Board of Trustees to become a Trustee Emeritus
and a Consultant to the Trust.
Peggy L. Fox will assume the role of the third Trustee,
joining Thomasine O’Callaghan and Anne McCormick who remain. Ms.Fox is
currently President and Publisher of New Directions Publishing Corporation,
the legendary avant-garde firm founded by James Laughlin, Thomas Merton’s
friend, the publisher of his poetry, and one of the original Trustees of the
Thomas Merton Legacy Trust. Ms.Fox, who came to New Directions in 1975, was
previously Senior Editor as well as Director of Foreign Rights and Manager
of Contracts and Copyrights.She became Vice-President in 1992 and has been
handling the day-to-day operations of the press since that time, becoming
President and Publisher in 2004.
From a Lutheran family, Ms.Fox was born in Cincinnati,
Ohio, but grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A National Merit Scholar,
she earned a B.A. in English at Ohio’s Wittenberg University and an M.A. in
English at the University of Pennsylvania. She was teaching part-time at
Brooklyn College while finishing her dissertation when a summer job at New
Directions changed her career plans. She now lives in Piermont, NY with her
husband Ian MacNiven (Professor Emeritus of Humanities, SUNY/Maritime
College) who is writing the authorized biography of James Laughlin.
January 24, 2008.