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{portrait painted by Michael Gilbert}

It’s the end of an era, the end of a dynasty. Priscilla Tolkien, the youngest child and only daughter of Professor J. R. R. Tolkien and his wife Edith has passed away at the age of 92. The Tolkien Society, of which she was vice-president announced that she passed away peacefully on 28 February 2022 after a short illness.

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. Her brothers were John Francis Tolkien (1917-2003), Michael Hilary Tolkien (1920-1984), and Christopher John Tolkien (1934-2020). She was the last of her generation.

She studied English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, 1948–51. Lady Margaret Hall was the first college in Oxford University to admit female students, starting in 1879. 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.

An announcement from Oxford University described her as “of the generation of women who, after the Second World War, pioneered the entry of women into the professions, along with so many of her LMH contemporaries.”

Christopher, Priscilla, Michael, Edith, and the professor himself, family holiday, 1940 {from The Tolkien Family Album, 1992}

Like her older brother, Christopher, she was an avid champion of her father’s work. Professor John Ronald Reul Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as several poems and short stories. He also translated Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. As a teenager, Priscilla typed some of the early chapters of The Lord of the Rings. Together with her brother John, she published The Tolkien Family Album in 1992.

Secretary, social worker, educator, literary guardian, Priscilla Tolkien had a long and full life. She is survived by her nieces and nephews. Deepest condolences to her friends and family.

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Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

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