Sunday, March 6, 2022

Priscilla Tolkien dies

So, I was very sorry to hear about the death of Priscilla Tolkien, the last of JRRT's children, at the age of ninety-two. I have warm memories of two meetings, one in the eighties (1987?) when I was invited out to her house in Summertown where I was served a tisane for the first and only time in my life. The second time (2007) was when she allowed me to treat her to high tea at The Old Parsonage in St. Giles in Oxford, * where she generously helped me work out who were some of the people (family friends) who received author's copies of THE HOBBIT directly from Tolkien himself.

 Whereas most of the Tolkiens valued their privacy, Priscilla Tolkien made herself  the face and voice of the family. It's my understanding that she was the guiding force behind the Tolkien Trust, which gave generously to a multiple of Good Works over many years. At any rate that she was very active in its ministrations. 

And on a personal note, it meant a lot to me to hear that she read, enjoyed, and agreed with my piece on her father's lifelong support of women's education.**

A sad day. A sense of loss even from those who only meet her briefly at an Oxenmoot or similar event. 

Sad too in that she was the last survivor from those who formed the original audience of THE HOBBIT.

--John R.

*I met Walter Hooper at the same spot for tea that afternoon, then rounded off the day by walking up to the Kilns and kindly being shown around by the residents.

**"The Missing Women" in PERILOUS & FAIR, ed Croft & Donovan (2015)

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