The British Library is set to preserve a recording of Tolkien’s voice from 1929 as part of its “Save our Sounds” project.
The British Library aims to “preserve as much as possible of the nation’s rare and unique sound recordings” which are under threat “both from physical degradation and as the means of playing them disappear from production”.
The recording in question was made for the Linguaphone Conversational Course in English, and features both Prof A. Lloyd James and Prof J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien introduces the piece, discussing the topic of a London Tobacconist’s and is later joined by James in a short dialogue replicating the interaction between a Tobacconist and his customer.
Tolkien scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull dated the recording as June 1930 in their J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, but have since corrected it to July 1929 in line with the data provided on the British Library’s website.