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Letter to Arthur Tolkien

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Arthur Tolkien 14 February 1896.jpg

Arthur Tolkien 14 February 1896 is a letter from J.R.R. Tolkien, aged five, to his father Arthur Tolkien, written on 14 February 1896.[1]

  • Description: The letter was dictated by Tolkien to his nurse, but was never sent since his mother Mabel received a telegram on the same day saying that Arthur had haemorrhaged (he died on the following day). It is the earliest known letter composed by Tolkien.[2]
  • Publication: The letter was quoted in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (p. 16). A reproduction of the letter appeared in Tolkien: Life and Legend (p. 11).


"I am so glad I am coming back to see you it is such a long time since we came away from you I hope the ship will bring us all back to you Mamie and Baby and me ... I am got such a big man now because I have got a man's coat and a mans [sic] bodice ... Auntie Gracie [Grace Mountain née Tolkien] has been to see us I walk every day and only ride in my mailcart a little bit ... your loving Ronald."
― J.R.R. Tolkien


  1. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 3
  2. Judith Priestman, Tolkien: Life and Legend, p. 11