So, the previous post on Tolkien's brief correspondence with the great folklorist Katharine Briggs reminded me of something I'd come across a while back about Tolkien's connection with Briggs.
In Scull & Hammond's excellent CHRONOLOGY, they give an entry mentioning a list of people Tolkien wanted sent an author's complementary copy of SMITH OF WOOTTON MAJOR (ten in England and three more in America), then move on to give a second list of ten names "to whom future publications should be sent, since he owes them 'a considerable amount for help, encouragement, and gifts . . .'
Austin and Katharine Farrar
the Reverend Mother Prioress of Oulton Abbey
K. M. Briggs
Professor P. N. U. Harting of Amsterday
the Earl of Halsbury,
Professor Clyde Kilby
and W. H. Auden"
It was just their bad luck that Tolkien published v. little during those final years, but the list remains a marker that he held a high opinion of each of these ten --some of them names familiar to any Tolkien scholar, some I confess to never having heard of before (the Reverend Mother and the Dutch Professor).
--current reading: A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA.