Raynor Memorial Libraries offers more than 1.8 million volumes, hundreds of research databases, computer access, laptops on loan, a multimedia
collection, group study spaces, 24-hour access and library staff members who help researchers from around the world.
January 2016—The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce the acquisition of two handwritten pieces of correspondence by
J. R. R. Tolkien.
Letter from J. R. R. Tolkien to William B. Ready, Whitsunday (June 9), 1957
William Ready, former Library Director at Marquette University, was responsible for purchasing the manuscript collection from Professor Tolkien in 1957. In this letter, Tolkien
discusses an anticipated visit to Marquette, and he comments on the reception of The Lord of the Rings by the Catholic press in Britain. Ready retained possession of this
2-page letter when he departed Marquette in 1963. Tolkien scholar Taum Santoski later acquired the letter from Ready. In subsequent years, it came into the possession of
Santoski’s friend, Mr. Jeff Hardin of West Virginia. Last June, The Antiques Roadshow featured this letter on a program taped in the city of Charleston, West
Mr. Hardin agreed to sell the letter to Marquette. The purchase price is confidential, but it was significantly less than Mr. Hardin might have obtained through an auction house
such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s. The department is grateful to Mr. Hardin for parting with the letter on such generous terms, done in memory of his old friend, Taum
Letter from J. R. R. Tolkien to Rachael Feichtmeir, December 21, 1955
This 2-page letter has been donated to Marquette’s collection by Rachael Balyeat of California, who, as a young fan, had written to Professor Tolkien in September 1955 during
the anxious interval between publication of The Two Towers and The Return of the King. By year’s end, Tolkien responded to her enthusiastic questions with
this delightful piece of correspondence in which Tolkien offers interesting insights into his writing process.
Marquette has also acquired a copy of Ms. Balyeat’s letter to Tolkien from the Tolkien Archives at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, where the original resides among
Tolkien’s incoming correspondence. Visitors to the archives in Marquette’s Raynor Library can enjoy reading the two letters side-by-side.