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Books from Tolkien's Personal Library??

Subject: Books from Tolkien's Personal Library??
by Jlong on 2008/10/11 13:21:51

I recently made a purchase of 4 books that are supposedly from Tolkien's personal library. I bought them from a former Tolkien collector named Greg Miller. The four books are (1) Early Middle English Literature by R. M. Wilson, (2) La Clef D' Amors by Auguste Dontrepont, (3) Anglica: Untersuchungen zur englischen Philologie by Alois Brandl, and (4) Provenzalische Chrestomathie by Carl Appel.

In 2001, Loome Theological Bookseller published a two-sided one sheet catalog of 35 volumes from the personal library of J. R. R. Tolkien. These had been acquired by Loome's from a Catholic university. Almost all were signed by Tolkien, notated by him, or inscribed by their respective authors to him, and almost all were scholarly philological studies Tolkien would have used in his research. These four books came from this sale.

The first book (Wilson) was purchased directly by Greg Miller from the Loome's sale. He bought the book himself for $100. The book is a review copy and contains a small inserted sheet typical of review copies. The book also contains the inscription "[JRRT]." However, according to Greg, the clerk at Loome's told him that the inscription on the front pastedown was, if not Tolkien's handwriting, Christopher Tolkien's. I would like to post a picture to see what you guys think. The provenance for this book seems to me pretty straightforward, but if anyone can refute or validate any of this information, I would really appreciate it.

The other three books (Dontrepont, Brandl, & Appel) are a little more complicated when it comes to their provenance. All three were originally purchased by David Miller (not Greg), an evidently well-known Tolkien collector & dealer. I do not know how much David purchased each book for (from the Loome's sale). After purchasing the books, he removed the front free endpapers of each book because they contained Tolkien inscriptions. He made bookplates out of each one and placed them in early editions of The Lord of the Rings. David then sold the three books to Greg for $100 per book. If anyone can refute or validate any of this information, I would really appreciate it. As far as distinguishing characteristics are concerned, Provenzalische Chrestomathie contains a "B. H. Blackwell LTD. Booksellers 50 and 51 Broad Street Oxford" sticker on the Front Pastedown, and Anglica: Untersuchungen zur englischen Philologie contains a facsimile of the original Tolkien inscription as well as minimal annotations that were evidently done by Tolkien.


An image of the inscription is attached.