Interested in James Bond? See our latest arrivals

Libraries and Special Collections: The Tolkien Archive at Marquette University

J. R. R. Tolkien was raised in South Africa, fought in World War I, lived most of his life in England, and taught for a long time at Oxford University. So it may surprise you to know that a great portion of his original manuscripts and papers can be found at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It seems an unlikely location for such precious documents – how on Earth did they find their way to Wisconsin?

     
Read more...


Five Early Stories of The Lord of the Rings

By Katie Behrens. Jul 29, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, J. R. R. Tolkien

As literature endures down through the generations, the details surrounding a book’s birth into the reading world are often forgotten. Even with the immense popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work today, some of these details remain buried in letters and essays. Here are five such interesting tidbits about the early years of The Lord of the Rings that you might not know.

     
Read more...


Quiz: Where Would You Live in Tolkien's Middle Earth?

By Andrea Koczela. May 6, 2015. 11:08 AM.

Topics: J. R. R. Tolkien, Quizzes

Are you a fan of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings? Ever wonder what it would be like to live in Middle Earth? Are you more of a hobbit, elf, dwarf, orc, or human? Take our quiz to discover where you belong on Middle Earth.

     
Read more...


Tolkien Spotlight: The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

By Leah Dobrinska. Jan 31, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, J. R. R. Tolkien

For fans of the great J. R. R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil provides yet another avenue to experience the unmatched storytelling and myth-spinning for which Tolkien is so famously known. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is a compilation of sixteen poems and a true potpourri of material. It is presented as if it is a literal translation from the manuscript known as the Red Book of Westmarch.

     
Read more...


J.R.R. Tolkien's Epic Quest: Writing The Lord of the Rings

By Katie Behrens. Dec 16, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: J. R. R. Tolkien, Science Fiction

Despite plenty of naysayers and literary critics, the English-reading world consistently votes J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as one of the greatest books of the 20th Century.  In 1997, a poll performed by the British bookseller Waterstones voted Tolkien’s epic fantasy as the overall winner – and that was four years before Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations hit the big screen!  Our fascination with Middle Earth, the One Ring, and hobbits seems to have no end.  Today, we salute Tolkien for his epic accomplishment: writing The Lord of the Rings.

     
Read more...


Songs for the Philologists: The Ultimate Tolkien Collectible

By Andrea Koczela. Nov 18, 2014. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting, J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien is known as the “father of high fantasy” yet the resonance of his work cannot be limited to one genre. Tolkien’s novels, particularly The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), were much more than tales of elves and dragons. Tolkien believed that all myths contain “fundamental truths” that speak deeply to the human condition. His novels are imbued with such primordial themes and they have forever changed the face of literature.

Tolkien’s followers are notoriously zealous, and the same is true for those who collect his work. Tolkien’s writing is sought by book collectors both for the passion it inspires and for its increasing relevance. Of all his publications, one is exceptionally rare - indeed, only an estimated fourteen copies remain in existence. Eight reside in libraries across the world, and the other six are owned privately. With its exceptional scarcity, the pamphlet Songs for the Philologists is the pinnacle of a Tolkien collection.  

     
Read more...


Favorite Christmas Books by Legendary Authors

The holidays are fast approaching, and the spirit of the season can be seen everywhere! This time of year, we often turn to favorite books like Clement Clarke Moore's beloved The Night Before Christmas or Hilary Knight's whimsical Christmas Nutshell Library. If you collect Christmas books or books by legendary authors, you may also want to add these tomes to your personal library. Though relatively unknown, these three books delightfully capture the Christmas spirit with all the style and panache one would expect from Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, or JRR Tolkien.  

     
Read more...


The Vyne Ring: Fit for a Hobbit? 

By Dawn Morgan. Dec 13, 2013. 4:57 PM.

Topics: J. R. R. Tolkien, Book News

A large gold ring found by a farmer plowing his field in England in 1789 may have been the inspiration for the classic children's fantasy novel, The Hobbit, written by JRR Tolkien and published in 1937. The book was so popular his published asked for a sequel, which of course was The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a friendly homebody who must go on an epic journey that ends in (spoiler!) Bilbo's heroism and coming of age.

     
Read more...


CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and a Friendship That Spurred Exceptional Literature

By Carrie Scott. Nov 29, 2013. 7:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, J. R. R. Tolkien

C.S. Lewis is one of the most important Christian intellectual and influential writers of the twentieth century; it's unlikely anyone would argue with that. Lewis has inspired generations of fiercely loyal readers and collectors. His books are staples not only in fantasy and children’s literature, but also in theology. Certainly, Lewis distinguished himself as a classic in world literature.

     
Read more...


Q & A with Pieter Collier, JRR Tolkien Expert

Today is the birthday of legendary author JRR Tolkien. To celebrate the day, we sat down to talk with Pieter Collier, leading Tolkien collector and scholar. Since 2002, Collier has maintained The Tolkien Library, a website dedicated to all things JRR Tolkien. Collier has been fascinated with Tolkien since childhood, and he's built an incredibly impressive collection around the author.

     
Read more...


About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

Get blog notifications per email:

Download the James Bond Dossier

Recent Posts

Book Glossary
Get your free Guide to Book Care

Blog Archive

> see older posts
A Guide to Historic Libraries Part I