Long-lost first edition Tolkien books returned to OBU

By Jacob Factor, News Editor

After 47 years, three first-edition “Lord of The Rings” trilogy books have returned to OBU’s library.

Originally published in 1962 and 1963, the books were apparently stolen and replaced in 1972 by an anonymous thief.

The stolen books were first American unrevised editions, thirteenth printings of “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King” and were replaced with first revised editions of the books.

Last month though, the thief mailed the books back to OBU.

In a letter included with the books, the thief expressed remorse for stealing them and said, “I have no excuse for my action, other than a desire to have one of the unrevised editions in my collection.”

The stolen books were probably worth around ten dollars each in 1972, but now are worth over 300 dollars, he said.

The director of library services, Julie Rankin, said it is unknown how the Library first got “The Lord of the Rings” books, but she is excited to have the books back at OBU after so long.

They are now being added to the Library’s special collections.

The special collections, housed in the basement of the Mabee Center, includes old books unable to be checked out because of their condition, gifts from various donors and more.

One of the goals of the Mabee Center, Rankin said, is to get all of the special collections archived online, but for now, not all of them are cataloged.

As it stands now though, anyone can browse and read the books in the special collections with a librarian’s supervision.

In the collection, several aisles are dedicated to the collection of Alan Day, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Edmond and vice-chair of OBU’s board of trustees.

In 2011, Day was killed when his motorcycle hit a patch of sand on an off-ramp, the Oklahoman reported.

Day’s collection is mostly comprised of theology and Christian books.

Former president Mark Brister also donated some books to OBU’s Special Collections.

In the J.W. Storer collection, works such as 1909 editions of Shakespeare’s plays and Adolf Hitler’s autobiography “Mein Kampf” are included.

Every “Life Magazine” from 1937 to when the magazine ended in 2000 is also available to be viewed.

“Anyone can find something interesting to them down here,” Rankin said

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