Tolkien Gateway

Letter to Miss Turnbull (19 May 1955)

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Miss Turnbull 19 May 1955 is a letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to a Miss Turnbull in Whitby, Yorkshire. The letter was written on 19 May, 1955.[1]

  • Description: Octavo, two pages, on one leaf with printed letterhead (76 Sandfield Road, Headington, Oxford). With the original envelope addressed in his hand; folded once across the centre to fit the envelope.[2]
  • Publication: The letter was quoted in Sotheby's English Literature and History 18 July 1991.

Contents (from the bookseller)

Tolkien thanks Miss Turnbull for her 'munificent and magnificent gift' (apparently champagne), apologises profusely for the tardy response [the gift having arrived two days earlier!!!] and discusses what was presumably the cause for celebration - clearing his desk of 'The Return of the King'. 'Though sending off the last items [with a marginal comment 'and at last'] for Vol III might have seemed a suitable occasion for the withdrawing of at least one cork, I have so far refrained; but when I drink I shall remember with a gratitude at least as warm and deep as Old Rory felt for the bottles of Old Winyards. I can only hope Vol III will be up to it!' The literary and cinematic world certainly think it is ..[3][note 1]

See also


  1. The editors of AbeBooks had failed to include the full description of the letter (which ends abruptly with "a suitable occasion for the wi". However, a private correspondance with Michael Treloar Antiquarian revealed the full letter description, as presented above.


  1. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 456
  2. Michael Treloar Antiquarian (Adelaide, SA, Australia) (accessed 25 June 2010)
  3. Tolkien Letter at (accessed 25 June 2010)