Tolkien Gateway

Letter to "My Dear People"

People 6 April 1963.png

On 6 May 1963, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to "My Dear People".[1]

  • Subject: Edith's health, discussion of a "disastrous holiday", greetings.
  • Comments: Tolkien appears to have met the couple on a holiday with his wife in 1963.[1]
  • Publication: None.
  • Description: Handwritten letter signed by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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It describes a holiday Tolkien and his wife took in 1963, although not a happy one he talks about his delight at meeting the couple, who he addresses "My Dear People". Tolkien goes on to describe his and his wife's health, a 'disastrous holiday' and to thank the recipients for their 'company and kindness'. Accompanying the letter is a Christmas card with photograph of Tolkien flanked by his holiday companions, Wilfrid and Nora.

"I meant to send this letter to welcome you home," writes the Hobbit author. "But both of us have been feeling ill. I am better now, but I am afraid Edith is not - a v. nasty throat. We thought of you yesterday, and hoped your journey home would be less unpleasant than our icy winds and snow have foreboded. Rather a disastrous and costly 'holiday'? But for us it was at any rate made memorable by your company and kindness. Love to you both, from Ronald and Edith Tolkien."

Adrian Rathbone, an associate at Richard Winterton's, said the letter had been found unexpectedly by the seller. "It dropped out of a book they had," he said. "It wasn't even a Tolkien book, we've brought in several experts who say it is real. "The former owners brought it in to a valuation day that we held having found it at home. Letters like this do sell, but I have to say I thought the maximum it would fetch was GBP300-400, not GBP1,700. "It's a complete mystery how it turned up, the letter was addressed to a couple Tolkien had met on holiday, but it wasn't the seller's family."


  1. 1.0 1.1 "JRR Tolkien's grumpy holiday letter sells for £1,700" dated 30 January 2012, The Telegraph (accessed 19 March 2012)