The Hobbit turns 75
The university throws an anniversary party for J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy.
William B. Ready knew a good thing when he saw it. Ready, Marquette’s director of libraries from 1956–63, discovered J.R.R. Tolkien’s master work, The Lord of the Rings, soon after it was published and worked to acquire the author’s literary manuscripts to add to the university’s newly constructed Memorial Library.
One year after Ready initiated contact with Tolkien, for a fee of less than $5,000 the J.R.R. Tolkien Collection at Marquette was born.
This academic year, the university is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, Tolkien’s first fantasy, with events and lectures and a class taught by Dr. Tim Machan, professor of English.
On Feb. 21, the libraries will host the third event in its anniversary offerings: “A roundtable discussion on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.” These Tolkien scholars will discuss the recently released film version of the book: Dr. Robin Reid from Texas A&M University; Dr. Yvette Kisor from Ramapo College of New Jersey; Dr. Edward L. Risden from St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis.; and Richard C. West from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
“The university is extremely blessed to own such a remarkable collection,” says archivist and interim curator Bill Fliss. “It has attracted researchers from all over the world.” — BDJ