Letter to unknown recipient (1956)

From Tolkien Gateway

In 1956, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to an unknown fan (the aunt of the finder of the letter) in North East England.[1]

  • Description: Hand-written letter, explaining some of the thinking behind The Lord of the Rings.
  • Contents: The letter from the unknown woman was likely written as The Lord of the Rings was published, asking why there could not have been a different ending. Tolkien wrote in reply, talking about the core of his tale, but added: "I could not explain how the story grew in anything less than an autobiography."
  • Authenticity: Medium.[note 1]
  • Publication: None.


  1. The hand writing was recognised by expert Liz Merryis.


  1. Vince Gledhill, "Tolkien letter's a treasure" (dated 3 September 2004; The Evening Chronicle) at Chronicle Live (accessed 21 May 2011)