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Treasure/The Tolkien Letter

Letter from J.R.R Tolkien to Bob Boyer

Sally Cubitt (Library) retired this winter after almost 37 years’ service in the college library, the last 20 as coordinator of collection management. We invite her to select a treasured object for highlighting in this issue’s “Treasure” feature.


This is a letter from J. R. R. Tolkien to Bob Boyer (English, Emeritus), and donated to the archives by Boyer. It’s one of my most favorite things in our archives. The amazing thing is, this is just how I imagine Tolkien would write. The handwriting – it almost looks like Elvish! 

We have very few documents in the archives like this, so that makes it even more special.

Dr. Boyer did his dissertation on W. H. Auden, and he corresponded with Tolkien seeking information about the poet: Auden and Tolkien were close friends at Oxford University. (In fact, it was hearing Tolkien’s beautiful recitation of “Beowulf” that first won over the young Auden to the study of Anglo-Saxon.)

This letter came to the archives as part of Dr. Boyer’s scholarly collection, a gift to the college in August 2012.


March 17, 2017