Call for Reminiscences: The Earliest Academic Conferences on Tolkien


Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2010
I'm working on a series of articles for Beyond Bree: The Newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest Group of North American Mensa. My topic for these articles is the first academic conferences devoted to The Lord of the Rings etc. The conferences appear to be:

1.The Tolkien Festival at Mankato State College (Minnesota), Oct. 28 and 29, 1966, which led to the "Tolkien Papers" edition of Mankato Studies in English, Feb. 1967

2.The Humanities Conference at Gordon College, Wenham, Mass., Feb. 20-23, 1968, highlighting Prof. Clyde S. Kilby of Wheaton College, who had spent the summer of 1966 with Tolkien

3.The Secondary Universe conference at the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, May 10 and 11, 1968 -- though this was not by any means exclusively devoted to Tolkien

4.Conference at Belknap College, Oct. 1968, popularly known as Flycon

I have submitted a 4,500-word article on the Mankato do, and it is scheduled for the December issue of Beyond Bree. The Gordon College article is coming along nicely and should appear in the January issue; it will probably be around 1,000 words.

I would like to hear from anyone who attended any of these colloquia if he or she has memories to share. These gatherings were an important part of the "Hobbit Craze" of the late 1960s.

Here is information about Beyond Bree, which I recommend very highly for people interested in things Tolkienian. The 'zine has appeared monthly since 1981. It is a good bargain at the price.
I may have to invest in this next month. Which reminds me... I may have asked this once before, Dale, but if you wouldn't mind, would you send me a list of things which you would consider either "essential" or among the best in Tolkien scholarship that I might look into? It doesn't have to be books, but articles or journals which I might be able to have access to through ILL. I'd like to look some of this up when I get to my rereading of Tolkien in the (I hope) near future....

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