Priscilla Tolkien has died at the age of 92. She passed away peacefully on 28 February 2022 after a short illness.
The Tolkien Society sends its deepest condolences to the Tolkien family and all Society members who knew Priscilla.
Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel Tolkien was born at 22 Northmoor Road in Oxford on 18 June 1929. She was the fourth and youngest child, and only daughter, of J.R.R. and Edith Tolkien.
She studied English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, 1948–51. In the early 1950s, she took secretarial work in Bristol and Birmingham, where she observed urban poverty that led her into a career in social work. After studying social sciences at the London School of Economics in the late 1950s, she worked as a probation officer in Oxford.
Priscilla later returned to academia, teaching social work at the University of Oxford and later at High Wycombe College. She taught English at Beechlawn Tutorial College and tutored literature classes from her home 1982–2005.
Tolkien readers will be familiar with Priscilla as a recipient of the Father Christmas letters. Together with her brother John, she published The Tolkien Family Album in 1992.
As a trustee of the Tolkien Estate and the Tolkien Trust, Priscilla was an active participant in her father’s legacy.
She became Vice President of The Tolkien Society in 1986 and regularly attended Oxonmoots.
Tolkien Society Chair, Shaun Gunner, said:
This is a very sad day indeed. Those who knew Priscilla will remember her as a kind and warm person who was incredibly generous with her time. As Vice President of the Society no one knew Society members and Tolkien fans better, where she would even invite members round her house during our Oxonmoot events. Those gatherings are cherished memories by attendees, just as for her publications like Mr. Bliss and The Letters from Father Christmas were delightful memories of her childhood and her father’s love and creativity. It is the end of an era, and we send our condolences to all those who knew and loved her.
The Tolkien Society will be making no further comment.