September 21, 1937: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, is first published by Allen and Unwin with a limited run of 1,500 copies. It sold out in under three months, featuring a color dust cover and story illustrations in black and white by the Professor himself.

Wikipedia has a wonderful breakdown of more-than-you-want-to-know re: The Hobbit. Meanwhile, happy birthday! 85 years is far too short a time to spend amongst such excellent and admirable authorship. Thank you to Tolkien and his children, to Stanley and Rayner Unwin, and all who provided influence, feedback, and audience for Tolkien’s first published fantasy novel.

Roads go ever, ever on… and wither then? I cannot say.