After attending a conference at Wheaton College for work, my wife and I visited the Marion E. Wade Center on the campus.

The Marion E. Wade Center promotes cultural engagement and spiritual formation by offering a collection of resources available nowhere else in the world. We emphasize the ongoing relevance of seven British Christian authors who provide a distinctive blend of intellect, imagination, and faith: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy L. Sayers, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams.


If you have been reading my blog for long or spend time with me for any length, you will quickly learn I am passionate about the Inklings, especially J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The Hobbit and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are two of my favorite books of all time. Middle Earth and Narnia are my two favorite fantasy worlds. So when I read that the desk that The Hobbit was written upon and the wardrobe that inspired The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe were at this center, I had to go see them for myself.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s desk where he wrote The Hobbit and parts of the other Middle Earth books.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s desk where he wrote The Hobbit and parts of the other Middle Earth books.

The Center has beautiful displays devoted to the various authors associated with the Inklings, including artifacts owned by each. My daughter, Rachel, has been working on a Dorothy Sayers research project, so we spent some time reading elements of the displays associated with her and picked up a research book for her on the writings of Sayers. For those not able to travel to the Wheaton area, they do provide a small Virtual Tour of the Center.

The wardrobe that inspired part of C.S. Lewis’ book The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The wardrobe that inspired part of C.S. Lewis’ book The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I have been blessed to be able to travel to Oxford where the Inklings taught, visit the Eagle & Child where the Inklings often met and socialized, walk the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, which inspired Tolkien (especially Treebeard), participate in the Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends, present at the Lewis & Friends Colloquium, and now visit the Marion E. Wade Center. What side trips have you taken to see, experience, and learn about the lives of your favorite authors?

Side Trip: Marion E. Wade Center

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