Texas A&M University Libraries Acquires 5 Millionth Volume, First Ed. of The Hobbit Donated By George R.R. Martin
[Last Friday] Texas A&M University Libraries acquired its five millionth volume, a rare first-edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 classic The Hobbit—a gift from award-winning sci-fi/fantasy author George R.R. Martin, creator of the best-selling book series “Game of Thrones.”
Only 1,500 published first-editions of The Hobbit exist. The volume features a striking dust jacket complete with the publisher’s hand-corrected spelling error on the inside flap. The first-edition will be shelved in Cushing alongside an array of later editions including the first American edition (1938) and the second British edition (1951).
The Tolkien volume was funded by and presented to the university at a ceremony in Rudder Auditorium by Martin, whose “Game of Thrones” book series is the basis for a hit HBO show.
The volume of The Hobbit was donated to the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives’ Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection, one of the largest of its kind in the world, which houses Martin’s personal collection of manuscripts, books and associated memorabilia.
Martin has past noted that he chose Texas A&M to store his personal collection due to its top-of-the-line library facilities and archival systems.
University Libraries acquired its one millionth volume in 1976, coinciding with Texas A&M’s centennial. The millionth volume was C.C. Slaughter’s Prose and poetry of the livestock industry of the United States (1905),donated by Mary Frances “Chan” Driscoll, Sterling C. Evans ’21, and Sara & John Lindsey ’44. At the time, the book was considered to be the biggest and rarest book in the historiography of the cattle trade
The two millionth volume was A voyage to the islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica (1707-25) by Sir Hans Sloane, one of the first and most important natural histories of the new world. The two-volume set, acquired in 1992, was a gift from the aforementioned Lindseys and Driscoll, and Eugene Butler in honor of Sterling C. Evans ’21.
For its three millionth volume in 2004, the Libraries received Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855) from the Lindseys, in its original green cloth binding and including the firststate of the engraved frontispiece portrait of Whitman.
And the four millionth volume, acquired in 2008, was Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha, parts I and II (1617), also a gift from the Lindseys, an extremely rare work as it’s the earliest complete Quixote edition still obtainable; no other American university owns a complete copy — even the copies at the Library of Congress and the British Library are incomplete.
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Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.