Tolkien Fanzines from the S. Gary Hunnewell Collection: A Digital Critical Edition Project


Tolkien Fanzines

A Digital Critical Edition Project by


What is the Tolkien Fanzine Digital Critical Edition

The Tolkien Fanzine Digital Critical Edition is a project building upon the S. Gary Hunnewell Collection of mid-20th century fanzines focused on J.R.R. Tolkien and his most famous works: The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), with resources created by the Marquette University Special Collections and University Archives (Special Collections) and Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL).

Hunnewell, as well as Special Collections archivists and students scanned original fanzine pages in the Hunnewell collection, performed optical character recognition (OCR) on the scans, and uploaded them into the Tolkien Fanzines collection at Special Collections' Digitized Collections CONTENTdm site.


Special Collections and the DSL collaborated to develop FellowsHub: A Tolkien Fanzine Project. This project features a searchable and downloadable dataset for advanced text-mining over the breadth of the Hunnewell collection. Work was done by a group of archivists, librarians, and student employees.


This new project takes the work done in the previous stages and incorporates digital publishing techniques in order to create a streamlined digital reading experience for users, re-conceptualizing the original publications in a digital format. It seeks to capitalize on new and emerging digital scholarship methods such as content mapping and data visualization as well as text-mining and more.

Currently, the Digital Critical Edition comprises the complete run of the fanzine Entmoot, which was published by editor Greg Shaw in four issues between June 1965 and August 1966. All 110 pages imaged for the Special Collections' Tolkien Fanzine digital collection were uploaded as a book into a Scalar instance hosted by the DSL. Individual pages were then created within the interface for each article or part of the issue. Taking advantage of the digital format, we decided to follow in the tradition of early hypertext publishing and excise the text from the boundaries of the printed page format, while also adding in contextual information through a system of notes and tags.

The S. Gary Hunnewell Collection

The Hunnewell Collection at the Marquette University Raynor Libraries Special Collections and Archives includes an extensive collection of Tolkien-related fanzines gathered by Sumner Gary Hunnewell of Arnold, Missouri. Mr. Hunnewell began assembling the collection in the 1970s. A prominent Tolkien fan, Hunnewell has published and presented under the name Hildifons Took.

Hunnewell loaned his collection to Marquette for microfilming with the intention of donating the original paper copies at a later date. In 2018 Hunnewell began donating original paper copies. The collection will eventually encompass all the fanzines that Marquette has microfilmed as well as any additional fanzines that Hunnewell collected after 1994, when microfilming of the original collection ceased. Hunnewell then began creating digital scans of the fanzines, which serve as the basis for the Digitized Collection.


Scalar is an open-source digital publishing tool created by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture. Following the Resource Description Framework (RDF) model that lives as the foundation of the semantic web, and incorporating a variety of metadata schema (including Dublin Core), Scalar allows for the creation of media and content that can be read, annotated, visualized, and more through user-authored content and relationship networks.

We chose to use Scalar for this project for the potential it offers in creation editions of content that are digital, critical, and scholarly, inspired by other similar projects featured at the Scalar Showcase.

How to Cite the Project

When citing this project, please use the following format:

Maxwell Gray and Elizabeth Wawrzyniak, editors, Tolkien Fanzines from the S. Gary Hunnewell Collection: A Digital Critical Edition Project (Milwaukee, WI: Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University, 2023):

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