Tolkien Gateway

Book of the Foxrook

A manuscript page from the Book of the Foxrook.

The Book of the Foxrook is a manuscript by J.R.R. Tolkien, likely composed around 10 June 1909 (this date was added to the title-page).[1]

It consists of a 16-page notebook containing "the key to a secret code consisting of a rune-like phonetic alphabet and a sizable number of ideographic symbols".[2] The invented script is called Privata Kodo Skauta ("Private Scout Code").[3] The book also contains comments on Esperanto.[2]

The existence of this manuscript was apparently first mentioned by Humphrey Carpenter in his J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (p. 37).[2] A page from the Book of the Foxrook was reproduced in the exhibition catalogue Tolkien: Life and Legend. An analysis and transcription of the same page appeared in the article "Tolkien and Esperanto" (cf. pp. 29-34), published in SEVEN, Volume 17.

The Book of the Foxrook is kept at the Bodleian Library (Family papers 1/29(3), fol. 1r).[2]


  1. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 15
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Arden R. Smith, Patrick Wynne, "Tolkien and Esperanto", in SEVEN, Volume 17, p. 29
  3. Arden R. Smith, "Writing Systems", (accessed 27 December 2016)