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A few less known mentions of Tolkien in early documents

22 Apr, 2023
2023-4-22 8:23:27 AM UTC

I checked The Internet Archive for all mentions of "Tolkien" before 1937, there are about 200~300 items, most are either well-documented or passing mentions. Though I still find a few interesting items:

The Educational Times, 2 Jan 1911. List of scholarship recipients ... age/28/mode/2up?q=tolkien

The Tablet, 28 Oct 1911. List of Catholic freshmen at Oxford. Already noted by Scull & Hammond. ... ge/682/mode/2up?q=tolkien

English Literature, 1923. Another early publication of "Goblin Feet", with brief comment. Already noted by Jason Fisher.

Meccano Magazine, 1933. Already noted by Cilli.

Two mentions in Nature. ... ge/208/mode/2up?q=tolkien ... ge/152/mode/2up?q=tolkien
There are a dozen more mentions after his death.
4 May, 2023 (edited)
2023-5-4 3:53:41 PM UTC
Another interesting thing: Tolkien was mentioned in Who's Who and Who's Who In Literature since at least 1926, and the information was well-updated:
1926: ... e/n505/mode/2up?q=tolkien
1926: ... 51572/page/n2929/mode/2up changed from Leeds to Oxford
1927: ... ge/n11/mode/2up?q=tolkien
1928: ... e/n535/mode/2up?q=tolkien
1929: ... 49315/page/n3087/mode/2up
1930: ... e/n479/mode/2up?q=tolkien
1931: ... 239/mode/2up?view=theater address changed to 20 Northmoor Road
1933: ... e/n485/mode/2up?q=tolkien
1938: added The Hobbit
1947: "Recreation" now became "writing verse, fairy-stories and romances"
1951: address changed to 99 Holywell
1958: added honorary degrees, address changed to 76 Sandfield Road

Chronology only recorded Tolkien providing biographical details for Who's Who since 1953, but he must have been doing this since 1924 (for 1925 edition), as one page is preserved (the red pen is from the editor):
biographical details for 1925 Who

In this page Christopher Tolkien was unlisted, so it must be written before his birth on 21 Nov 1924. Publication date of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight mistakenly given as "1924" is another evidence. But it was probably written after he became Professor of English Language in Leeds on 1 Oct 1924 (or more safely, 16 July, when the professorship was decided). It is also interesting to see tennis and fives are listed as his recreations, which could make a nice addition to "Sports" entry in Companion and Guide.

The details Tolkien provided are quite close to 1926 Who's Who (sadly I could not find 1925 Who's Who online for comparison, or other earlier ones to see when Tolkien began to provide CV to Who's Who), but with a few updates:

1926 Who
23 May, 2023 (edited)
2023-5-23 3:16:45 PM UTC
Another interesting item: The Published Writings of Eilert Ekwall: a bibliography (1961), a booklet for the 85th birthday of Eilert Ekwall. The dedication is signed by 240+ "friends, colleagues, pupils and readers", including Tolkien, d'Ardenne, Turville-Petre etc. ... page/8/mode/2up?q=tolkien

A similar book A Philological Miscellany Presented to Eilert Ekwall (1942, for his 65th birthday) is recorded in Chronology, but no Tolkienists seem to have noticed this booklet yet.
24 May, 2023
2023-5-24 7:59:22 PM UTC
Thank you zionius for all the information in the last few posts. Great! I have found it very useful indeed - lots of information that i did not know about before.

Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.
2 Jun, 2023
2023-6-2 4:53:16 PM UTC

zionius wrote:

Another interesting item: The Published Writings of Eilert Ekwall: a bibliography (1961), a booklet for the 85th birthday of Eilert Ekwall. The dedication is signed by 240+ "friends, colleagues, pupils and readers", including Tolkien, d'Ardenne, Turville-Petre etc. ... page/8/mode/2up?q=tolkien

A similar book A Philological Miscellany Presented to Eilert Ekwall (1942, for his 65th birthday) is recorded in Chronology, but no Tolkienists seem to have noticed this booklet yet.

Here are a few photos of both these items (The 1942 Edition being a Library Rebind I assume):

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3 Jun, 2023
2023-6-3 11:18:47 AM UTC
Thanks for sharing! Apparently the scan lacks the portrait and title page, nice to see them! I tried to find if there are other Festschriften for Ekwall (if they made them for 65th & 85th, how could they miss 70th & 80th?), but haven't found one so far.

New items caught by my radar:

Correspondence of Thomas Gray (1932). The editor Leonard Whibley acknowledges dozens of scholars, including Tolkien, though it's unknown how he could have helped. I can't find any records of their correspondence either. ... age/n9/mode/2up?q=tolkien

Roman Britain And The English Supplements (1936). The author R. G. Collingwood says: "My colleague Professor J. R. R. Tolkien has helped me untiringly with problems of Celtic philology", "She[the goddess of the hot springs at Bath] is traditionally called Sul; but Professor Tolkien points out to me that the Celtic nominative can only be Sulis". ... age/n9/mode/2up?q=tolkien
A Tolkien Studies article discussed the possible mutual influence between Tolkien and Collingwood.

The allegory of love : a study in medieval tradition (1936). C.S. Lewis says, "The first chapter was read and commented upon by Mr. B. Macfarlane and Professor Tolkien so long ago that they have probably forgotten the labour, but I do not therefore forget the kindness."

The French language (1938). Alfred Ewert acknowledges "Professor J. R. R. Tolkien for indispensable guidance in connection with Germanic loan-words;" ... ge/n13/mode/2up?q=tolkien

"Universities Come to Prison Camps", The Christian Science Monitor, 1943-02-06. "Mr. C. S. Lewis, Fellow of Magdalen, and Professor John Tolkien have drawn up a list of 300 representative works of English literature, on the basis of which some 30 prisoners are now preparing themselves for an examination to be held in the spring of 1943. Examination papers will be dispatched to German camps, they will be answered under examination conditions, and those prisoners who attain honors standards will receive a diploma from the university." ... ge/n17/mode/2up?q=tolkien

Andrew Lang: A Critical Biography (1946). Roger Lancelyn Green expresses his "gratitude to Professor D. Nichol Smith and Professor J. R. R. Tolkien for their unfailing guidance and encouragement leaves with me a debt that can never adequately be repaid." The back story is told in detail in Companion and Guide.

The poet Chaucer (1949). In most editions Chaucer's Merciless Beauty reads "I never thenk to ben in his prison lene", but Nevill Coghill deleted the "in", and says "for my emendation I am indebted to Professor J. R. R. Tolkien, who points out that it improves both scansion and meaning —viz. ‘I never think to be his thin prisoner’ instead of ‘I never think to be in his thin prison’." ... ge/110/mode/2up?q=tolkien

Old English grammar (1959). Alan Campbell thanks Tolkien in the preface and p22. ... page/6/mode/2up?q=tolkien

A short history of English poetry, 1340-1940 (1962). James Reeves says "Thanks are due also to Professor J. R. R. Tolkien for permission to quote from his version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and quotes stanza 32. A few words are slightly different from the 1975 publication. ... page/6/mode/2up?q=tolkien

I came across a few more books crediting Tolkien, but they are already documented by Deagol in so I won't repeat them.
20 Jun, 2023
2023-6-20 8:27:22 AM UTC
Newly found items:
Bulletin of the Modern Humanities Research Association ... Association%22&sort=-date
Tolkien published Henry Bradley, 3 December 1845–23 May 1923, an appreciation (reproduced in Tolkien Studies 12 ) in No.20 (October 1923). No.22 (April 1924) lists Tolkien among the "recent members of the M.H.R.A since our Annual List appeared in October 1923". (It seems his join is probably related to the publication.) No.27,28 (July & October 1925) has Tolkien in a full list of members. Companion and Guide records the first item, but not the fact that Tolkien is a member of the MHRA.

Two 1923 books in The Oxford Language and Literature Series list Tolkien as one of the scholars who will contribute to the series. ... e/n115/mode/2up?q=Tolkien ... e/n117/mode/2up?q=Tolkien This might well be Scull & Hammond's source for Chronology 1923 entry.
26 Jun, 2023 (edited)
2023-6-26 7:24:24 AM UTC
Charles Earle Funk, What's the name, please? A guide to the correct pronunciation of current prominent names (1936). ... ge/154/mode/2up?q=tolkien

This is a very, very interesting book. The author contacted people "we meet in the newspapers, magazines, and technical journals, or that we find in the lecture-halls in our English-speaking universities, in commerce and industry, in American Congress and British Parliament, in medicine and law, in art and music, or on stage and screen" with letters, telephone and telegraph, asking how to pronounce their own names and collected their replies. Apparently he got a elsewhere-unrecorded letter (I guess it's unlikely from telephone) from Tolkien, as the "Tolkien" entry says:

Tolkien, John R. R.—teaches Anglo-Saxon at Oxford— “Perhaps more familiar in the German form Tolkiehn. It is thus dissyllabic, pronounced tol’keen.”

The book contains about 2000 people with unusual surnames. Given it's published before The Hobbit and in the US, it's quite unexpected to see JRRT's name. I am unsure if this presumed letter could somehow be added to the Letters project.

It seems Mr. Charles E. Funk would have a HUGE collection of letters from famous people, but I've only found one letter in auction. He probably sent the same letter to Tolkien in 1935.

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26 Jun, 2023
2023-6-26 9:43:56 AM UTC
Thanks zionius this is indeed very interesting. I will look to see if I can find more information about this with regard to the guide.

I find the name very interesting, Charles E. Funk, such an unusual name and it reminded me of Grace E. Funk who donated her incredible collection of material on Tolkien to Marquette. ... Mss/JRRT/JRRT-funk-sc.php

I have wondered if she was connected to a publishing family given her seeming inexhaustible ability to gather papers and reviews from seven decades of Tolkien studies. I don't know anything of her family history but I now wonder if she was connected to the Funk publishers. Maybe others know more?
26 Jun, 2023 (edited)
2023-6-26 11:14:54 AM UTC
I find her full name here, which leads me to her obituary, which reveals her husband was Jacob Abram Funk, who was from Ukraine. So they seem to unrelated to the publisher family.
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