With the recent digital release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Season 5 of Game of Thrones just around the corner, there couldn’t be a better time for this bit of news: In a mix of two literature greats, Texas A&M University has just received an extremely rare first-edition copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) from none other than the master of Westeros himself, George R.R. Martin.
The novel donated by Martin, which marks the five millionth volume acquired by the university, will accompany the first American edition (1938) and the second British edition (1951) in the Cushing Library collection at the Southern University. Considering only 1,500 of this particular edition–which features art by Tolkien himself–were published, this is a real Dwarvish treasure for the library.
While the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives’ Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection (whew!) houses one of the largest collections of Sci-Fi and Fantasy literature in the world–the largest being the Eaton Collection located at the University of California, Riverside–that wasn’t the only reason the author chose to donate his prized copy to the location. Martin’s relationship with the university actually began back in the ’70s when he began attending AggieCon science fiction conventions.
He noted, “During one of those visits, I was given a tour of the special collections and saw not only the books and manuscripts and other items that were on deposit there but also the physical facility itself which was very impressive”. He went on to reveal that he considers the collection to be among the top three nationwide, and top ten in the world. So, when it was time for him to put his own personal papers on display, he immediately thought of Texas A&M.
On the donation, Dean of University Libraries David Carlson remarked, “Over the last two decades, the A&M Libraries has become one of the top 10 publicly-supported research libraries in this country [Association of Research Libraries (ARL) ranking] and this five millionth volume symbolizes that maturity as well as the depth our collections”.
According to a post on A&M Univerity’s website, Martin’s book will be on display for a short period of time before it joins the newer editions of Tolkien’s masterpiece.
[HT: Texas A&M Today]
Is this rare gem something you would climb the Misty Mountains to see? What is your favorite moment from the novel or the recently released trilogy of films? Let us know in the comments below.