J. R. R. Tolkien manuscript exhibition coming to Marquette

A first edition copy of The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, published in 1937. (Photo: Marquette University)

A new exhibit featuring “The Hobbit” author J. R. R. Tolkien’s manuscripts is coming to Marquette University’s campus.

Marquette’s Haggerty Museum of Art and Raynor Memorial Libraries are partnering to produce “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript,” which will be on view from Aug. 19 to Dec. 12, 2022.

While Tolkien is best known for his literary classics “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” the exhibition will feature many items that have not before been exhibited or published. It is being curated in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The co-curators are William Fliss, Tolkien archivist in Marquette’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives, and Sarah Schaefer, assistant professor of art history at UWM.

“J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” considers Tolkien’s work through the lens of manuscripts, both in terms of the materials he studied as a medieval philologist and the manuscripts he created while developing his legendarium.

The collection of Tolkien housed at Raynor Libraries contains the original manuscripts and multiple working drafts for “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “Farmer Giles of Ham,” as well as the original copy of the children’s book “Mr. Bliss.”

In addition to manuscripts that are part of Marquette’s collection, the exhibition will include items borrowed from other repositories, including a significant number of Tolkien manuscripts and artwork from the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, the university said.

More information about is available on Marquette’s website.

Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits and education for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism. In her free time, Lauren enjoys hiking, kayaking, and seeing live music.


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