Today In History: Tolkien Publishes The Hobbit

Today In History: Tolkien Publishes The Hobbit


Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien's critically acclaimed children's book, The Hobbit, Or There and Back Again, was published on September 21st, 1937? Never out of print, this classic work tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, whose race resembles very short humans with feet of fur and leather. He and his companions, a troop of dwarves, are encouraged by Gandalf, the wise, benevolent wizard, to undertake a journey to reclaim their stolen treasure from Smaug, the sly dragon, and are met by hungry trolls, elves, goblins, and other mythical and fantastic creatures along the way. While being an underground dweller (those that prefer the comfort of their cozy pastoral homes in The Shire), the loyal, honorable hobbit stands apart by adventure and bravery: he maintains his common sense, courage, and desire to serve in the face of danger, greed, and adversity. Central to the book is the development of a common person into a hero, with good versus evil being in continuous tension.


The Hobbit was so successful that J.R.R. Tolkien, English writer, scholar, and former professor of Old and Middle English at the University of Leeds and the University of Oxford, published over the coming decades a fantasy series that built upon its themes: The Fellowship of the Ring (1954); The Two Towers (1954); and Return of the King (1955) which explore Christianity, mythology, and philology. Tolkien's works has been adapted to popular film and stage, most notably by New Zealand director Peter Jackson.


The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

























  • Special News Slide, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries




Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context. Be sure to check additional Cafe News postings on the library blog.

  • Learning at the Library
  • News Cafe
Back to skip to quick links