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"My name is TOLKIEN (not -kein)"
J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 165.

A lot of people misspell "Tolkien" as Tolkein. This was already the case in Tolkien's time; several passages in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien show Tolkien's frustration about the matter.


The first recorded use of Tolkein stems from 1922. In Fifty New Poems for Children: An Anthology Selected from Books Recently Published, Oxford bookseller Basil Blackwell included the poem Goblin Feet, which he ascribed to a J.R.R. Tolkein. The name appears in the table of contents, above the poem and in the index.Template:Ref. It has been used, according to Tolkien, by college, bank, and lawyer's clerksTemplate:Ref, and more or less all who wrote to himTemplate:Ref.


The name Tolkien has often been associated with Jewry. This was in turn because the Jewry of the time had predominantly Yiddish and German names, and the Tolkien family hailed from Saxony, GermanyTemplate:Ref. Since these Yiddish and German names often ended in -stein, it may have been a hypercorrection.

Notable occurences


  1. Template:Note Fifty New Poems for Children at Tolkien Library
  2. Template:Note The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 324 (June 4/5, 1971)
  3. Template:Note The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 347 (December 17, 1972)
  4. Template:Note The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 324 (June 4/5, 1971)