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TCG Letter #511

J.R.R. Tolkien
Nancy Smith
25-26 December 1963
Autograph Letter Signed
Tolkien writes on Christmas Day to Nancy Smith who in the 1950s had prepared an index to the Lord of the Rings. He explains he had retrieved her letter among the turmoil of Christmas. Tolkien notes in this letter that January 8 will be the anniversary of his baptism.This is in fact incorrect. It is 31 January as noted by Carpenter and Hammond & Scull (see references below).

Wayne Hammond and Christina note in their Chronology (see reference below) that Tolkien wrote to Nancy Smith saying he wrote a story of a "great green dragon" when he was approximately six years old yet in his letter to W.H. Auden of 7 June 1955 (Carpenter #163: Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to W. H. Auden • 7 June 1955 (#476)) he says that he is "about seven". he also notes to Nancy Smith, and in a letter to Paula Coston (26 August 1965) that he wrote some verses about the dragon, and he says to W.H. Auden he had written a "story". See Carpenter #165: Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Houghton Mifflin Co. • 30 June 1955 (#478) also.

The original letter with a complete transcript is held at the Marquette archives.
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981), p. 221 (final three paragraphs)
Marquette archive details., See 7/1/10 and 4/2/40
Nancy Smith in her Thesis 'Tolkien's Mythic Meaning: The Reader's Ontological Encounters in the Lord of the Rings' dates this letter as "25 December 1963 - 2 January 1964".
The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide - Chronology (2017), pp. 817 (see entry for 31 January 1892), 818 (see entry for 1898-1899)

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