The university says it has acquired a first edition, first printing of The Hobbit. The book is one of 1,500 such copies published in 1937. The Hobbit is recognized as a classic in children's literature. The first printing sold out before the end of 1937 and includes artwork drawn by Tolkien himself. No purchase price was disclosed.
Marquette's Tolkien collection includes the original manuscripts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The university's library director in the 1950s recognized The Lord of the Rings as a masterpiece soon after it was published and reached an agreement with Tolkien to obtain the manuscripts for less than $5,000.
The collection of "Tolkienaina" has resided at Marquette since the 1960s:
During his 1956-1963 tenure as director of MU libraries, William Ready, working through a London book dealer, acquired manuscripts produced by British author J.R.R. Tolkien for less than $5,000. Marquette’s Tolkien Collection – Tolkieniana, as collectors and fans of the writer call it – numbers more than 10,000 pages of the author’s book manuscripts, typescripts and drawings.Also: Tolkien class at Marquette University proves popular