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Father Christmas Letters to be displayed at the Bodleian

The first Father Christmas Letter, sent in 1920. © The Tolkien Estate Ltd 1976
The Bodleian Library has confirmed that, as part of its Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Father Christmas Letters will be put on display.

The Father Christmas Letters were produced by Tolkien from 1920 to 1943, and told the story of Father Christmas and his adventures with the North Polar Bear, and the goblins and elves of the North Pole. Each was hand-drawn and designed by Tolkien and presented to his children around Christmas Day/Christmas Eve each year.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth will take place at the Bodleian Library in Oxford from 1 June to 28 October 2018, but one of the letters is currently displayed as part of the Bodleian Treasures in the Weston Library.

The Christmas letters are probably my favourite things in the whole collection. They really show you another side of Tolkien, as a loving family man. There’s something so touching about the image of him, no matter how many demands there were on his time in the university or in his writing, finding the time to sit down in his study and produce these wonderful letters, so detailed and beautifully illustrated.” – Catherine McIlwaine, Tolkien archivist at the Bodleian

About the Author: Shaun Gunner

Shaun is the current Chair of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2013, Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien’s works whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time can be found in the cinema, playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter.