Scope and Content


A diverse array of print publications and material culture documenting the fandom and commercialism surrounding the fictional works of author J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) and their cinematic derivatives created by New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson for New Line Cinema.

Scope and Content:

The Raynor Memorial Libraries' Department of Special Collections and University Archives acquired this collection of secondary sources from Kristin Thompson from 2013-2018. A noted film scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Thompson gathered much of this material while researching her book, The Frodo Franchise: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood (2007). The collection includes textual documents, audio-visual materials, textiles, and 3-dimensional artifacts. The collection provides a large and diverse sample of the merchandise marketed to fans of J. R. R. Tolkien. Most of the items in the collection were created in conjunction with, or in the wake of, the popular The Lord of the Rings Trilogy films directed for New Line Cinema by Peter Jackson: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003). A few of the items in the collection pertain to Jackson's later films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013). A small grouping of items predates the era of the Peter Jackson films.

The collection is arranged into six categories based on the origin of the items: (1) Promotional Material created to promote the Peter Jackson films and not intended for commercial sale. (2) Items marketed by Brand Partners of the filmmakers (e.g. Pepsi, Burger King). (3) Licensed Merchandise during the era of the Peter Jackson films that was the result of a formal agreement between the producers and the Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises. (4) Unlicensed Merchandise that was created and distributed by companies or fans without the approval of the Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises. (5) Licensed Merchandise created before the era of the Peter Jackson films; (6) Foreign Products licensed outside of the United States, and (7) Research Files that Thompson developed while writing The Frodo Franchise, including material not used in the book as well as files for an abandoned project on Peter Jackson's films for The Hobbit.

Archivists separated the published books from the Thompson collection. These were subsequently cataloged in MARQCAT (the Marquette Libraries' electronic catalog) and stored with the department's Tolkien book collection. Also separated from the Thompson Collection were selected items (calendars, puzzles, and role-playing game products) that filled gaps within Series 5-Secondary Material of the J.R.R. Tolkien Collection.

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