J.R.R. Tolkien already had been working on a detailed index with linguistic information but expressed a desire of having a complete alphabetical "handlist" that would help him in several matters; Rayner Unwin replied that if such a list could be compiled without much thinking, but as a "donkey work", they could arrange it. Smith was working as an indexer in Allen & Unwin, and was pregnant when she started the compilation in late January 1958, and completed it in May (in a rush, because of her condition). Smith was instructed to ignore the Appendices.
 See also
- Letters from J.R.R. Tolkien to Smith:
- Unfinished index