Letter to James A.H. Murray

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On 5 June 1973, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to James A.H. Murray (grandson of Sir James A.H. Murray of the Oxford English Dictionary).[1]

  • Description: 2 pages, Merton College Oxford (on headed paper of 19 Lakeside Road, Dorset), headed "Private and confidential".[2]
  • Publication: Sotheby's English Literature, History, Private Press & Children's Books 12 December 2002 (p. 239).[1]


"if you would like to visit me in my guarded rooms in 21 Merton Street... I should love to see you" and notes "...I could show you some pictures & a tapestry associated with 'The Lord of the Rings' and some other things which might interest you...". Tolkien explains that his rooms in Merton Street are guarded since "...it was arranged that my living there was not to be known; but since it became known, I have been assailed by hosts of people, and, worse, have been invaded by criminals, so that I live behind locked doors, and under the eye of the local C.I.D. Which all sounds romantic, but is in fact an infernal nuisance. But I should of course arrange for you to pass the barrier ... the college to protect me!"[2]