“… the indiscriminating bullet settles everything”

We recently acquired a remarkable association copy of the first edition of Winston Churchill’s first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force.  This copy was owned by the bereaved family of Lieutenant-Colonel James Loughnan O’Bryen, whose death in action Churchill eloquently mourns within its pages. The book, noteworthy on its own merits for condition alone, not only has the association to O’Bryen’s family, but also came to us accompanied by a small archive including an original drawing of the Malakand Pass and five contemporary photographs depicting Colonel O’Bryen, his 30th Punjabi Regiment, and what appears to be a native militia.

At pages 245-7 of his first published book, Churchill wrote:

Meanwhile the 31st Punjaub Infantry, who had advanced under Colonel O’Bryen on the right, were exposed to a severe fire from a rocky ridge on their flank. Their attack was directed against a great mass of boulders, some of them of enormous size, which were tenaciously held by the enemy. The fighting soon became close. The two advanced companies were engaged at a distance of under 100 yards. Besides this the cross fire from their right flank added to their difficulties. In such a position the presence of Colonel O’Bryen was invaluable. Moving swiftly from point to point, he directed the fire and animated the spirit of the men, who were devoted to him. It was not long before the enemy’s marksmen began to take aim at this prominent figure. But for a considerable period, although bullets struck the ground everywhere around him, he remained unhurt. At last, however, he was shot through the body, and carried mortally wounded from the action.

I pause to consider for a moment the conditions, and circumstances, by which the pursuit of a military career differs from all others. In political life, in art, in engineering, the man with talents who behaves with wisdom may steadily improve his position in the world. If he makes no mistakes he will probably achieve success. But the soldier is more dependent upon external influences. The only way he can hope to rise above the others, is by risking his life in frequent campaigns. All his fortunes, whatever they may be, all his position and weight in the world, all his accumulated capital, as it were, must be staked afresh each time he goes into action. He may have seen twenty engagements, and be covered with decorations and medals. He may be marked as a rising soldier. And yet each time he comes under fire his chances of being killed are as great as, and perhaps greater than, those of the youngest subaltern, whose luck is fresh. The statesman, who has put his power to the test, and made a great miscalculation, may yet retrieve his fortunes. But the indiscriminating bullet settles everything. As the poet somewhat grimly has it:—

Stone-dead hath no better.

Colonel O’Bryen had been specially selected, while still a young man, for the command of a battalion. He had made several campaigns. Already he had passed through the drudgery of the lower ranks of the service, and all the bigger prizes of the military profession appeared in view: and though the death in action of a colonel at the head of his regiment is as fine an end as a soldier can desire, it is mournful to record the abrupt termination of an honourable career at a point when it might have been of much value to the State. 

Battlefield sentiment was not an abstract concept to Churchill. A combination of youthful exuberance, political ambition, sense of destiny, and need to prove his mettle – we leave to others the task of determining the exact proportions of each – put Churchill decisively in harm’s way on the same 1897 battlefields of the colonial northwest Indian frontier.  The fate of those, like O’Bryen, who faced the same risks on the same battlefields impressed upon Churchill the potentially dire cost of this particular type of ambition. 

Churchill’s memorial to O’Bryen is remarkable in several respects.  Like Thucydides long before him and many others writing in the intervening millennia, Churchill clearly regards the role of chance in warfare. Moreover, Churchill shows a deep respect for those who risk all in battle.  But below the eloquent philosophy and homage are manifest aspects of the self-focused, very young man Churchill was.  Clearly on display is the driving force of his as-yet unrealized political ambition – even in this memorial, Churchill cannot resist articulating the metaphor of “The statesman, who has put his power to the test, and made a great miscalculation” but “may yet retrieve his fortunes.”  The metaphor would, of course, prove particularly prophetic for Churchill… Also on display is the nascent, apparently instinctive Churchillian gift for nobly framing events and setting them in greater context.  But while Churchill’s talents and ambition are both clearly on display, so too are the limitations of his youth and experience.  The conclusion – “…it is mournful to record the abrupt termination of an honourable career at a point when it might have been of much value to the State.” – cannot help but strike this reader as thuddingly detached and unsympathetic.  O’Bryen left behind not only his “honourable career” and potential use to the State, but also a wife, a daughter, and the full measure of his own perspectives and passions.  Before winning the Nobel Prize in Literature more than half a century later “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.“, Churchill would risk, lose, achieve, and suffer much – and in the process learn to do better.

Churchill’s words about the unfortunate Lt. Colonel O’Bryen apparently reached his surviving wife and daughter.   The sole previous ownership mark in this copy is three lines, inked on the half title: “O’Bryen | 29 Ellerker Gardens | Richmond-Surrey”.  The ownership mark was almost certainly made by O’Bryen’s wife or daughter; the only other marks in the book are a folded upper corner at the p.245-6 leaf and faint pencil lines in the margins beside text giving Churchill’s account of O’Bryen’s death. The book is a beautifully clean copy of the first edition, only printing, its preservation thus substantiating the notion that it was a family memento of significance.  Confirming that supposition are the original drawing and five photographs of O’Bryen and his 30th Punjabi Regiment that accompanied this book.

An unsigned drawing depicting “Malakand Pass” is in black ink on a 4.5 x 7 inch piece of laid paper, folded once and spotted. The lower left of the drawing has what are presumably triangular representations of tents captioned “Dargai Camp”.  At the lower right, the drawing is captioned “Dotted line shows Malakand Pass”.  (The dotted line in question is at the right portion of the drawing 1.5 inches above the caption.)  Though we cannot confirm the identity of the drawing’s creator, it is certainly contemporary and has kept company all this time with the other personal effects of O’Bryen.

The five photographs are decisively those of Lt. Colonel O’Bryen, two of them depicting him and two of them the men of the regiments in which O’Bryen served.  There is a silver gelatin group portrait of the 30th Punjabi Infantry in uniform.  This is a very clean, high contrast image measuring 4.75 x 6.75 inches with a small piece missing from the lower left blank margin.  A penciled caption at the bottom of the photograph reads: “30th PUNJABI INFANTRY”.

Another, larger silver gelatin group portrait of the 30th Punjabi Infantry in uniform set against a different background. Though this group of soldiers is appreciably larger, some of the figures are recognizably the same, as are the uniforms. This photograph measures 6.5 x 8.125 inches is pencil captioned on the verso: “30th PUNJABI INFANTRY”.

The sole non-military silver gelatin photograph, measuring 6.25 x 8.125 inches, is a study in Victorian colonial casual archetype. Colonel O’Bryen in a suit is sprawling on porch stairs, hand in pocket, double-breasted waistcoat exposed, legs crossed, with a child leaning against him and two women in voluminous skirts seated in chairs on the porch above him to the left and right.   The photo is clean, though with irregular breaks to the brittle paper along the top and left edges, a triangular loss at the lower left corner, and a short, closed tear at the bottom edge.  

An 8.5 x 11.25 silver gelatin portrait of un-uniformed men and boys, some of the men visibly armed, is captioned in pencil “Central Group Young [illegible]”.  The final word, which we cannot definitively decipher, could plausibly be “Militia”.  This clean, high contrast image is affixed to a mount at the corners and has irregular breaks to the brittle paper along the bottom edge, not affecting the figures depicted therein.  This photograph is ink-stamped on the verso: “Gillmore T Carte | Dalhousie, Punjaub | photographer”.

A large, 9.25 x 11.25 inch albumen group portrait is arguably the standout piece of the collection, depicting four rows of native soldiers with their British officers intermixed, Colonel O’Bryen prominent among them.  The photograph is captioned in pencil at the bottom: “COL OBRYEN WHITE OFFICER 2 ROW THIRD FROM LEFT / 5th AND 30TH PUNJABI INFANTRY”.  The lower right is signed in the print “F. Winter”.  Winter was a photographer in Muree, Punjab.

Lieutenant-Colonel James Loughnan O’Bryen was born in Delhi, India on 8 January 1854.  His father was a decorated Colonel with the Indian Staff Corps who served in the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845-6.  James was evidently sent to England for his education as he was recorded in the 1871 UK census as a 17-year-old scholar in a London household and there is evidence that he attended the Downside school in Somerset.  His service papers in the National Archive indicate that he first entered into the Army at “20 1/12” years with the 11th Infantry Regiment in 1874 (the year Churchill was born) before joining the Indian Staff Corps in 1876.  In 1879 he served during the Afghan War with the Kandahar and Khyber Field Forces.  He also served in the Third Anglo-Burmese War, General Lockharts’s expedition against the Isazai tribes, and in the Chitral expedition.  In 1894 O’Bryen obtained his majority with the Indian Staff Corps and was placed second in command of the 30th Punjabis before he was appointed to command of the 31st Punjab Regiment of the Bengal Infantry on 5 August 1897.  Less than two months later he was killed in action.  

O’Bryen was survived by his wife and one daughter, to whom this book and images ostensibly belonged.  After his death, O’Bryen’s body was recovered and moved to Peshawar, where he was buried with full honors and commemorated with a simple plaque reading: “In memory of Lieutenant Colonel James Loughnan O’Bryen, Commandant 31st PI who was killed in action at the head of his Regiment at Agrah in the Mamund Valley, Bajaur on 30th September 1897. Aged 43 years.  Deeply regretted by his brother officers by whom this tablet is erected.”

Churchill’s own story would be written quite differently. And, beginning with this book, substantially written by his own hand.

When this book was written and published, Churchill was a young cavalry officer still serving in India. While he had successfully applied his pen as a war correspondent – indeed the book is based on his dispatches to the Daily Telegraph and the Pioneer Mail – this was his first book-length work. The young Churchill was motivated by a combination of pique and ambition. He was vexed that his Daily Telegraph columns were to be published unsigned. On 25 October 1897 Churchill wrote to his mother: “…I had written them with the design… of bringing my personality before the electorate.” Two weeks later, his resolve to write a book firming, Churchill again wrote to his mother: “…It is a great undertaking but if carried out will yield substantial results in every way, financially, politically, and even, though do I care a damn, militarily.” Having invested his ambition in this first book, he clearly labored over it: “I have discovered a great power of application which I did not think I possessed. For two months I have worked not less than five hours a day.” The finished manuscript was sent to his mother on the last day of 1897 and published on 14 March of 1898. 

Publication was arranged by Churchill’s uncle while the author was still in India, resulting in numerous spelling and detail errors. Churchill was incensed by the errors and acted with haste to address them. Hence later states of the first edition bear errata slips. Home Issue copies also bear a 32-page Longmans, Green catalogue bound in at the back, which is dated either “12/97” or “3/98” at the foot of page 32. With only a little more than 1,900 copies bound, this first edition of Churchill’s first book is both desirable and elusive.  The O’Bryen copy is an early second state, featuring the tipped-in errata slip and a rear catalogue dated “12/97”.  

Apart from being an association copy, it is noteworthy for condition alone, approaching near fine.  The publisher’s green cloth binding remains square, tight, clean, and beautifully bright with no discernible color shift between the spine and covers.  We note only trivial wear to the hinges and corners and some minor wrinkling at the spine ends.  The gilt on both front cover and spine remains vividly bright.  

The contents are equally and notably clean for the edition, atypically bright.  Some incidental spotting is confined to the page edges, which are otherwise clean with only mild age-toning.  All maps are intact, including the folding maps at pages 1 and 146, as is the frontispiece and tissue guard.  The original black endpapers are present and intact, with none of the typical cracking or splitting.  While the mull is visible in the gutter following the endpapers and half title, this is strictly a cosmetic issue and in no way affects binding integrity.

Recent Discoveries!

Today we write about two exciting recent discoveries.

You’ve probably heard us praise Churchill’s bibliographer, Ron Cohen. That’s because Ron literally wrote the book on Churchill’s published works.  Nearly 25 years of exhaustive research went into his indispensable three-volume, 2,183-page Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill.  No less an authority than Sir Martin Gilbert effusively praised Ron’s work, calling it:  “…a high point – and surely a peak – of Churchill bibliographic research… adding not only to the bibliographer’s art, but to knowledge of Winston Churchill himself.” Published in 2006, Ron’s Bibliography seeks to detail every single edition, issue, state, printing, and variant of every printed work authored by, or with a contribution from, Winston S. Churchill.  It’s unequivocally the most thorough bibliography – for any author – that we work with in the bookselling trade.

But

Even Ron did not see it all.  In recent years, we have vexed poor Ron by sending him emendations to the Bibliography.  We wrote about a few of our discoveries in a blog post a year ago called The Hunt.

Recently, we made two more discoveries.  And they’re really cool.

The first discovery is a previously unrecorded dust jacket variant for the U.S. first edition, first printing of the first volume of The World Crisis (1923).  The second discovery is a previously unrecorded binding variant for the first edition, first printing of Churchill’s Thoughts and Adventures (1932).

The World Crisis: 1911-1914
 
The World Crisis – Churchill’s history of the First World War – was published in six volumes between 1923 and 1931.  The first volume, 1911-1914, covered the first four years Churchill spent as First Lord of the Admiralty, as well as the beginning of the war.  April 1923 publication of the U.S. edition by Charles Scribner’s Sons preceded its British counterpart (Thornton Butterworth Ltd.), making the U.S. the true first edition.  

The 5,000 first printing copies of the first volume of The World Crisis continued to be bound and issued by Scribner’s throughout 1924 (well after the October 1923 publication of the second volume, 1915), with a total of four known variations to the title page and the binding.  This much was already known.  What we didn’t know is that there were first printing variations of the dust jacket as well…

We know of only three surviving first printing, first issue dust jackets for the Scribner’s 1911-1914 volume (two of them with significant loss).  They look like this.

But no bibliographer has ever recorded and we have never seen this later issue first printing dust jacket.  As you can see from the images, these first printing jackets are quite different.

In many ways, the changes to the second issue jacket are a major aesthetic and contextual improvement, more concretely connecting the book beneath to both its title and to its place in The World Crisis as a series. The spine of the second issue jacket adds “1911-1914” below “The World Crisis”, clarifying that this is the first volume.  The front face also adds “1911-1914” and the text consists of six reviews.  The rear face contains reviews of the second volume, 1915, which was published in October 1923. 

The front flap features the same “$6.50” price as the first issue jacket, but adds a striking image of Churchill over excerpts from the Saturday Review.  The rear flap – blank on the first issue jacket – adds a blurb for the 1915 volume. 

Dust jackets of later printings – the 1928 second printing and the 1930 third and final printing – differ substantially, respectively advertising the 1916-1918 volumes (published 1927) and The Aftermath (published 1929). 

This jacket came to us wrapped around a gorgeously bright first edition, first printing binding variant that, as testified by condition, had clearly spent life jacketed.  While we can never be sure of singularity, it’s certainly plausible that this is the sole surviving example of this jacket.  

Please find another and prove us wrong!

In the meantime, this noteworthy jacket anchors a unique, fully jacketed set of The World Crisis listed HERE.

Thoughts and Adventures

The sixth and final volume of The World Crisis was published in 1931.  The next year, Churchill published something quite different – a stand-alone volume titled (in the UK) Thoughts and Adventures.

Which brings us to our second recent find. This one a variant binding, not a variant dust jacket.

Thoughts and Adventures is Churchill’s collection of 23 engaging essays on an incredibly wide variety of subjects was first published in 1932. It has been called “The broadest range of Churchill’s thought between two hard covers” and reflects the two qualities that so characterize Churchill’s life – a remarkable breadth of both mind and life experience. From the original front flap blurb: “Whether he is dealing with personal reminiscences, or telling us his views on any subject under the sun, Mr. Churchill stamps the page with his own vivid personality.” In a 31 May 1932 letter to his publisher about the book, Churchill characterized it thus: “…although there is no one single theme, it has some of the best things in it I have ever written.”

There were a total of four printings of the first edition (all in November & December 1932).  Unique to the first edition was a coarse-grained, khaki-colored cloth characterized by Ron Cohen as “Moderate olive brown embossed calico-texture cloth.”  Later first printings and all three subsequent printings were issued in a significantly darker “dark greyish green” cloth with a “dotted-line grain”.

What we recently discovered, beneath a gorgeous first printing dust jacket, is an entirely different original publisher’s binding.   

This previously unrecorded binding variant is a distinctly lighter, pale green/olive cloth in a tighter weave than the khaki cloth unique to the first printing.  

The differences between all three bindings are readily apparent.

There’s no question that pale green is the original cloth binding color.  This copy was discovered beneath a magnificent first printing dust jacket.  Despite a stain on the front cover – ostensibly from incidental moisture exposure or handling – the binding is bright and clean as only a jacketed copy can be.  The color is unequivocally original; we note absolutely no color difference between the spine, covers, and the cloth turn-ins bordering the pastedowns.  

We’ve never seen or heard of another bound thus. The logical speculation is that this cloth was used sparingly and very early in the first printing binding process, since it’s known that, at some point during the first printing, the khaki cloth yielded to the darker green, dotted-line grain cloth.  

This copy has just been listed for sale by us HERE.

The lesson of both of these finds is that even after so many years and such an impressively exhaustive bibliography, there are still discoveries to make.  

We’ll keep looking.  And we’ll keep sharing with what we find!

Announcing Our Shiny New Catalogue

Q:        What features the signatures of 167 distinguished individuals, including Nobel prize winners, Pulitzer prize winners, prime ministers, presidents, a surfeit of sirs and other titular honorifics, generals, admirals, air marshals, sculptors, painters, novelists, cartoonists, historians, journalists, poets, composers, and architects?

A:         The 40 items in our new Extra Ink! Catalogue.

The items in which you will find these signatures are nearly as diverse as the signers.  This catalogue includes books, correspondence, and ephemera, the latter ranging from dinner menus to contract negotiations to encaenia programmes.

The commonality among the diverse items in our new catalogue is the “extra ink” – the indelible mark of a human hand beyond what was merely printed or typed.

Each item features at least one autograph signature, sometimes more than just one signature, and often more than just a signature – ranging from inscriptions to hand-corrections to holograph letters.

All 40 items are new to our inventory.  They span the breadth of the twentieth century, with publication dates from 1899 to 2007.  Given our specialty, of course Winston S. Churchill figures prominently, but he is in good company, both myriad and manifold.

Cheers and happy browsing!

A collector’s mania for Encaenia

English is a language rich in vocabulary, some words having almost peculiar specificity.  Among the most peculiar and specific known to this bookseller is “Encaenia”.

Perhaps you know the word.  I confess that “Encaenia” did not join my own vocabulary until this year.  Apropos, my Oxford English Dictionary tells me that it is “The annual commemoration of founders and benefactors at Oxford University”.

Among the 40 items in our forthcoming catalogue is a collection of Oxford Encaenia program(me)s rendered unique by the signatures of 53 distinguished honorees. The signatures include Prime Ministers Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, President Harry S. Truman, three Nobel Prize winners, House Speakers and Party Leaders, scholars and war heroes, poets and architects, and such quintessentially British figures as the first Director-General of the BBC, the editor of Punch, and the designer of the London’s iconic red phone booth.

These signatures were collected by Lewis Frewer, an Oxford autograph collector whose meticulously catalogued collection of personally acquired signatures of statesmen, sportsmen, and figures of the stage and screen totaled over 2,000 items. This portion of his collection includes 12 signed programs and 35 additional items chiefly comprising letters attesting to the provenance for many of the signatures.

As you might expect, the condition of the items varies.  Programs handled by a limited number of people, such as those signed by the Churchills and Truman, are in very good condition, bright and clean with minimal wear to the extremities. Others, such as the 22 June 1932 program, were clearly been sent back and forth through the mail in the process of collecting multiple signatures, and hence bear fold lines, attempted repairs, tears, and visible wear.

The Encaenia ceremony at Oxford has existed since the 16thcentury as a means of conferring honor upon, and obtaining favor from, the powerful and influential in the form of honorary degrees. This means of using honorary degrees to create alliances extended from the academic realm to the British Government by the 1930s when the Foreign Office reportedly came to regard the honor as a diplomatic tool and began to directly intervene in the selection of honorees.  Reflecting this practice, in this collection are the signatures – all collected in the years leading up to WWII – of foreign dignitaries such as Austrian Minister Baron Georg Franckenstein, French Prime Minister Édouard Herriot, and Belgian diplomat H. E. Baron de Cartier. This level of political calculation was interestingly juxtaposed with the infamous 1933 Oxford Union resolution stating that “this house will under no circumstances fight for its King and Country”, a resolution denounced by Winston Churchill as an “abject, squalid, shameless avowal”.

The “King and Country” resolution aside, in the first half of the 20thcentury, the honorary degrees awarded largely reflected the contributions of British and Allied leaders in the two World Wars, with nearly half of the honorees in 1946 being military figures. Military heroes present here include Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, who was ranked “with the greatest of British admirals”, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, who was credited with a crucial role in winning the Battle of Britain, Lieutenant General Lord Bernard Freyberg, whose lengthy military career which spanned beach landings at Gallipoli to the Battle of Greece prompted Churchill to nickname him “the Salamander” for his ability to pass unharmed through the fire, and Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, the chief military advisor to Churchill.

Of course, the figure central to Allied victory, Winston S. Churchill, is also present. However, the honor of Doctor of Civil Law was not placed on the wartime Prime Minister but on his wife, Clementine, whose signature nevertheless appears below her lauded husband and who is referred to in the program as only “Mrs. Churchill”.

President Harry S. Truman’s inclusion in the 1956 Encaenia was fraught with political controversies. In 1952 Oxford honored Dean Acheson, the US Secretary of State under Truman. Ostensibly, this was a politically safe pick.  However, 1952 was an election year, one tainted with anti-communist Cold War rhetoric.  After Senator Joseph McCarthy attacked Dean Acheson as soft on communism, Oxford’s decision seemed a miscalculation and was perceived by some as a gesture of support for the foreign policies of the Democratic Party. Two years later Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor proposed Truman’s nomination to Foreign Secretary Antony Eden, whose response was an explicit “no” as the US midterm elections were approaching and the nomination of another prominent Democrat might lend the appearance of intervention. There was additionally some discomfort at awarding an honorary degree to the individual who had given the order for the first atomic bomb to be dropped.

Immediately after the elections Truman’s name was resubmitted for 1955 and approved.  However, Truman would not be able to attend the ceremony until the following year. This again made more trouble for the Foreign Office, as 1956 was an election year, creating a conflict between the embarrassment of delaying the former President’s honor and the consequences of perceived favoritism in American elections. The solution was to include Truman in the 1956 ceremony while making it explicit that he was a holdover from the previous year. Truman’s inscription, that “it is a very great honor”, might be regarded as gracefully acknowledging the political maneuvering required to include him in the Encaenia.

Below you’ll find a full list of Encaenia and signatures, as well as additional images.

Cheers!

Churchill Book Collector

_______________________________________________________________________

 

Our collection of Encaenia and the signatures therein include the following:

 

Convocation, Conferment of Honorary Degrees, October 25, 1945

Field Marshal the Lord Alanbrooke

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Jack Tovey

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Tedder

Alexander Hore-Ruthven, First Earl of Gowrie

Unknown

 

English Versions of Encaenia Addresses, June 26, 1946

Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope

Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Somerville

Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding

 

Encaenia, June 22, 1932

the Earl of Athalone, Governor General South Africa and of Canada

Sir Arthur Salter, politician

E. Baron de Cartier, Belgian diplomat

Sir John Russell, British Ambassador

George Earl Buckle, writer, editor of the Times

Walter Wilson Greg, Shakespeare scholar

 

Encaenia, June 21, 1933

Front Cover:

Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister

Sir John Maitland Salmond, Marshal of the Royal Air Force

Laurence Binyon, English poet

Sir Owen Seaman, editor of Punch

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, architect, designer of the red phone box

Sir Warren Fisher, Head of the Home Civil Service

Frederick Craufurd Goodenough, chairman of Barclays Bank

Rear cover:

Viscount Buckmaster, Lord Chancellor

John Scott Haldane, physiologist

 

Encaenia, June 20, 1934

Cover:

Arnold Bax, composer

Colonel Sir Maurice Paschal Alers Hankey, Cabinet Secretary

Edward Stanley, the 19thEarl of Derby

Admiral Sir Ernle Chatfield

Interior:

The Archbishop of York, William Ebor

Captain Edward Algernon Fitzroy, M.P., Speaker of the House of Commons

Lord Tyrrell of Avon

Walter Runciman, M.P., President of the Board of Trade

Arthur Henderson, M.P., Nobel Peace Prize 1934

Sir Samuel John Gurney Hoare, Secretary of State for Air

Sir George Francis Hill, director of the British Museum

Sir Edwin L. Lutyens, British architect

Sir Henry Alexander Miers, mineralogist

John Buchan, Governor General of Canada, author of The Thirty-Nine Steps

John William Mackail, writer

Archibald Vivian Hill, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1922

 

Encaenia, June 26, 1935

Baron Georg Franckenstein, Austrian Minister to the Court of St. James

Albert Frederick Pollard, Tudor historian

Herbert Samuel, Home Secretary, Leader of the Liberal Party

Édouard Herriot, Prime Minister of France

Sir Charles Edward Mallet, historian, Financial Secretary to the War Office

Viscount Bledisloe of Sydney, Gevernor-General of New Zealand

Sir John Charles Walsham Reith, First Director-General of the BBC

 

Speeches by the Public Orator, October 25, 1945

Lt. Gen. Sir Bernard Freyberg, Victoria Cross, dubbed by Churchill “the Salamander”

 

Encaenia, June 26, 1946

Winston S. Churchill

Clementine Churchill

 

English Versions of Encaenia Addresses, June 26, 1946

Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, First Sea Lord, Governor-General of India

 

Encaenia, June 20, 1956

Harry S. Truman “It is a very great honor. Harry Truman

 

Admission and Installation of the Chancellor, April 30, 1960

Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister

 

Encaenia, June 27, 1984

Group Captain Leonard Cheshire (with tipped-in letter), Victoria Cross, philanthropist

A legion of signatures

Imagine a book so rich in signatures that Winston Churchill’s autograph is barely of note.

Q:        What would it take to secure the signatures of 85 leading lights in British literature and the arts, as well as four prime ministers, in a single volume?

A:         It took a World War and a future King of England.

The First World War is often eclipsed by the conflagrations of the latter part of the twentieth century, notably the Second World War and Cold War.  But it was the First World War that truly stunned civilization, ushering an age of inconceivable carnage and industrialized brutality.  When war came in August 1914, prevailing sentiment held that the conflict would be decisive and short.  “You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees,” Kaiser Wilhelm assured his troops leaving for the front.  More than four extraordinarily bloody years followed, lasting until the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.  In his own history of WWI, Winston Churchill wrote: “Overwhelming populations, unlimited resources, measureless sacrifice… could not prevail for fifty months…”

The British Empire alone suffered more than 900,000 dead and two million wounded.  At the end of WWI, the pension for a totally disabled man was only 30 shillings a week and no claim could be made seven years after discharge.  In May 1921 several ex-servicemen’s organizations were amalgamated to form the Royal British Legion.  Thereafter, the Legion actively involved itself with employment and pensions for both able and disabled ex-servicemen or their dependents.

The Legion Book was commissioned by the Legion’s patron, H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII and, after abdication, the Duke of Windsor).  Sale proceeds were dedicated to the Legion.  The dozens of contributing artists and writers were among the most talented British subjects in their fields, including Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling, P.G. Wodehouse, Aldous Huxley, Vita Sackville-West, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Augustus John, Eric Kennington, and John Nash. The book was edited by James Humphrey Cotton Minchin (1894-1966), a WWI veteran of the Cameronians and the Royal Flying Corps.  Trade editions ran to multiple printings.  There was also a 600 copy limited edition.  500 of these were signed by the editor and bound similarly to trade editions.  But “the first 100 were reserved for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, sponsor of the volume, in his gift.”

These hundred were simply magnificent – printed in red and black by The Curwen Press on larger, hand-made paper, profusely illustrated, extravagantly bound in elaborate blind and gilt-tooled white pigskin.  Massive volumes, they measure 13 x 10 x 2 inches and weigh 6.6 pounds. Each copy was hand-numbered.

As impressive as the aesthetics are, more impressive still are the signatures.  These 100 magnificently bound copies were signed by a simply remarkable list of 85 writers and illustrators, as well as four prime ministers (three British Prime Ministers – David Lloyd George, Stanley Baldwin, and Ramsay MacDonald – and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau), and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.  The tally is five prime ministers if you count Churchill, who signed as a contributor, but became prime minister in 1940.

So many are the signatures that they span 8 pages.  As stated at the end of the contents: “There are five pages of contributors’ signatures following the Dedication, one page opposite Collotype No. 3 and one page opposite Collotype No. 20.”  The Prince of Wales signed on the blank verso of the Dedication.

The list of signatures includes the following:

Winifred Austen

Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin

Edward Bawden

Max Beerbohn

Hilaire Belloc

Arnold Bennett

Reginald Berkeley

Laurence Binyon

Edmund Blunden

Muirhead Bone

Robert Bridges

Arthur Briscoe

Sir D. Y. Cameron

Bliss Carman

K. Chesterton

Winston S. Churchill

Sir George Clausen

Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau

Sir Arthur Cope

E. Coppard

Edward Gordon Craig

Hamilton Crawford

Eric Fitch Daglish

H. Davies

Walter de la Mare

John Drinkwater

H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII and, after abdication, the Duke of Windsor)

Jacob Epstein

J.R.G. Exley

John Galsworthy

David Garnett

Mark Gertler

Eric Gill

Stephen Gooden

Lee Hankey

Aldous Huxley

Storm Jameson

Augustus John

Sheila Kaye-Smith

Margaret Kennedy

Eric Kennington

Rudyard Kipling

Dame Laura Knight

Charles Lamb

Sir John Lavery

K. Lawrence

Clare Leighton

Sir William Llewellyn

Prime Minister David Lloyd George

David Low

Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald

James McBey

C. McNeile

Sarah Gertrude Millin

Gilbert Murray

John Nash

Paul Nash

Henry Newbolt

William Nicholson

Sir William Orpen

Sir Bernard Partridge

Poy

Charles Ricketts

Eric Rivilious

David Robertson

Heath Robinson

William Rothenstein

Albert Rutherston

Vita Sackville-West

Randolph Schwabe

Eric A. Shepherd

Sir Frank Short

Edith Sitwell

Snaffles

Sir Stanley Spencer

C. Squire

W. Steer

Strube

F. Tennyson Jesse

Henry Tonks

Edward Wadsworth

William Walcot

Edger Wallace

Hugh Walpole

Rebecca West

G. Wodehouse

Humbert Wolfe

We will soon be pleased to offer an unusually fine example, copy “68”, hand-numbered thus on the limitation page.  The binding and contents are nearly flawless.

Superlative condition owes to the presence of the original felt-lined cloth clamshell case, with a discreet, inked “No.68” on the upper front cover.

Laid in the case is an original description of this book by noted New York bookseller Philip C. Duschnes, who died in 1970.  His tiny gilt sticker is affixed to the lower rear pastedown.

This is another installment in our preview of hoarded treasures being reserved for our forthcoming “Extra Ink” catalogue.  Expect the catalogue in  final weeks of 2018.  During the coming months our blog posts will provide a sneak peek at some of the catalogue items!

“How Lucky I was…”

This is another installment in our preview of hoarded treasures being reserved for our forthcoming “Extra Ink” catalogue.  Expect the catalogue late in 2018.  During the coming months our blog posts will give you a sneak peek at some of the catalogue items.

Today, a first trade edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdomrendered special by a poignant inscription by Eric Kennington, the man who created thirty-one of the illustrations within its pages.  Inked in blue in four lines on the half title, Kennington wrote: “How lucky I was to meet | & know this man for 14 years | Eric Kennington | August 1954”.

A gift inscription “For Phyllis” dated “Christmas 1935” is inked on the front free endpaper above the illustrated book plate of “PM Jackson”.

A five-line inked notation on the front free endpaper verso that appears to be signed by Christopher Kennington (Eric Kennington’s son) reads: “Phyllis Jackson gave this book to | her brother, Francis Jackson. | On his death in 1980, his son Richard | gave it to me.”

Eric Henri Kennington (1888-1960) was known as a painter, print maker, and sculptor and, most notably, as “a born painter of the nameless heroes of the rank and file” whom he portrayed during both the First and Second World War.

Badly wounded on the Western Front in 1915, during his convalescence he produced The Kensingtons at Laventie, a portrait of a group of infantrymen. When exhibited in the spring of 1916 its portrayal of exhausted soldiers created a sensation. Kennington finished the war employed as a war artist by the Ministry of Information. After the war, he met T. E. Lawrence at an exhibition of Kennington’s war art.

In 1921, Kennington traveled to the Middle East with Lawrence where, Lawrence approvingly wrote of his work, “instinctively he drew the men of the desert.” Kennington served as art editor for Lawrence’s legendary 1926 Subscribers’ Edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdomand produced many of the drawings therein.

That same year he produced a bust of Lawrence – an image of which is the frontispiece of this book.  On 15 February 1927, Lawrence wrote to Kennington praising the bust as “magnificent”. Lawrence said “It represents not me, but my top-moments, those few seconds in which I succeed in thinking myself right out of things.”  In 1935, Kennington served as one of Lawrence’s pallbearers.

In 1936 his second, memorial bust of Lawrence was installed in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Kennington was again an official war artist for the British government during the Second World War (Ministry of Information and Air Ministry), producing a large number of portraits of individual soldiers in addition to military scenes.  Kennington died a member of the Royal Academy six years after writing the inscription in this book.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom, with which Kennington became integrally linked, is the story of T. E. Lawrence’s (1888-1935) remarkable odyssey as instigator, organizer, hero, and tragic figure of the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, which he began as an eccentric junior intelligence officer and ended as “Lawrence of Arabia.” This time defined Lawrence with indelible experience and celebrity which he would spend the rest of his famously short life struggling to reconcile and reject, to recount and repress.  Kennington first produced illustrations for the 1926 “Subscribers’ Edition” of which fewer than 200 complete copies were produced.

Another of Lawrence’s friends, Winston Churchill, wrote: “It ranks with the greatest books ever written in the English language.  If Lawrence had never done anything except write this book as a mere work of the imagination his fame would last… But it is fact, not fiction… An epic, a prodigy, a tale of torment, and in the heart of it – A Man.”

It was only in the summer of 1935, in the weeks following Lawrence’s death, that the text of the Subscribers’ Edition text was finally published for circulation to the general public in the form of a British first trade edition. This copy inscribed by Kennington is the first printing of this British first trade edition. Condition is good, showing the aesthetic flaws of age and wear, but sound.  The khaki cloth binding is square and tight with wear to extremities, overall soiling and staining, and considerable scuffing to the rear cover. The contents are clean with toning to the page edges.  A tiny Colchester bookseller sticker is affixed to the lower rear pastedown.

Look for this and dozens of other signed or inscribed items in our “Extra Ink” catalogue late in 2018!

Churchill and Karsh in 1941

This is another installment in our preview of hoarded treasures being reserved for our forthcoming “Extra Ink” catalogue.  Expect the catalogue late in 2018.  Over the coming months we will give you a sneak peek at some of the catalogue items in our blog posts.

Today, Yousuf Karsh, Winston Churchill, and CBC’s hometown of San Diego.

We are pleased to offer a special copy of one of the most famous photographic portraits of the twentieth century by one of the world’s most famous portrait photographers.

This is Karsh’s famous portrait of Winston S. Churchill, taken on 30 December 1941 in Ottawa, Canada.  Moment, time, photographer, and subject converged to create both an incredible image and an incredible story to match.

But first, a little local pride in the form of provenance.  As you may know, Churchill Book Collector’s library makes its home in sunny San Diego, California.  And this particular signed Karsh photo has San Diego history.

The photo itself is signed by Karsh in black in two lines on the lower left margin of the photo “© Y Karsh | Ottawa.” But in addition to Karsh’s signature, this photo comes with a presentation letter from Karsh typed on his Ottawa studio stationery and signed “Yousuf Karsh.”  The letter is dated “September 15, 1967” and addressed: “Mrs. Betty Churchill, Secretary to Mr. William Wagner, Vice President, Public Relations, Ryan Aeronautical Corporation, Lindbergh Field, San Diego, California.”

Karsh’s presentation letter reads: “Dear Mrs. Churchill: I could not resist the temptation of sending you one of my favourite photographs of a great man who also bears your name.  It was good to meet you, and to receive so many courtesies while I was in San Diego. With my very good wishes, Sincerely, Yousuf Karsh”.

The story of Ryan Aeronautical Corporation was important not only to San Diego, but to both the history of aviation and the Second World War.

Tubal Claude Ryan (1898-1982) bought his first airplane, a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, in San Diego in 1922, and began his aeronautical enterprises by charging for rides. By the late 1920s his aviation ventures included the nation’s first year-round regularly scheduled daily airline passenger service.  In 1927, Ryan’s namesake company was tasked with building a single-engine plane that would be called The Spirit of St. Louis for a fellow named Charles Lindbergh.

After Lindberg’s historic solo flight, in 1928 Ryan founded The Ryan Aeronautical Corporation. This company, among many accomplishments, built the preeminent trainer aircraft used though the Second World War, the first jet-plus-propeller aircraft for the Navy, and the first successful vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, as well as pioneering remotely piloted vehicles and jet drones, Doppler systems, and lunar landing radar.

The Ryan Aeronautical Corporation occupied a portion of what is now the San Diego International Airport – formally known as Lindbergh Field. On that site, the company’s assembly-line built airplanes during the Second World War.

In 1969, just a few years after this photograph was signed and presented by Karsh, Ryan Aeronautical became Teledyne Ryan, a subsidiary of Teledyne, at an acquisition price of $128 million.  Teledyne Ryan became, in turn, part of Northrop Grumman in 1999.

Ryan himself reportedly died at the age of eighty-four while sketching a rough design concept for a plane with simplified controls.  (information sourced from the National Aviation Hall of Fame, www.ryanaero.org and http://www.charleslindbergh.com/plane/ryan.asp)

We are tickled about this photograph’s connection to both San Diego and to aviation history, not to mention a Churchill namesake.  That said, we should not let San Diego exuberance overshadow the image itself.

The subject, photographer, and moment

In the days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States formally entered the Second World War, marking the end of Britain’s solitary stand against Hitler’s Germany, which it had sustained since the fall of France. Churchill immediately decided to travel to North America, and on December 12, 1941 he boarded the battleship Duke of York and began the 10-day trip across the Atlantic – a perilous journey at a time when German U-Boats plagued the North Atlantic.

Churchill’s speech of December 26, 1941 to a joint session of the U.S. Congress was sober, resolved, and eloquently defiant, but of course also featured the sparkle of Churchillian wit, which was irrepressible even in the dark hours of the war: “I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British, instead of the other way around, I might have got here on my own.” His speech was also an important personal introduction to the elected leaders he needed to embrace the alliance so vital to his nation. A few days later, in his famous “Some chicken, some neck!” speech of December 30 to both houses of the Canadian Parliament, Churchill was characteristically defiant: “When I warned them that Britain would fight alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet ‘In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.’ Some chicken; some neck.”

Injected into the middle of this historic moment was 33-year-old Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002).  It was following his speech to the Canadian Parliament that Churchill was ushered to the Speaker’s Chamber, where Karsh had set up his camera and lighting equipment the night before.

Born in Armenian Turkey, Karsh had fled on foot with his family to Syria before immigrating to Canada in 1924 as a refugee.  After apprenticing with the celebrity portrait photographer John H. Garo, Karsh moved to Ottawa, where he opened a portrait studio with the intent of photographing “people of consequence.”  His breakthrough came in 1936 when he photographed the meeting between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. After that assignment Karsh became a regular photographer with the Canadian government.  But it was Karsh’s photo of Churchill on 30 December 1941 that brought him his first international fame.

“…I approached Winston Churchill in 1941 with awe… But as a photographer I had a job to be done and it must be done far too fast.  Mr. Churchill… was in no mood for portraiture and two minutes were all he would allow me… two niggardly minutes in which I must try to put on film a man who filled the world with his fame, and me, on this occasion, with dread.  He marched in scowling, and regarded my camera as he might regard the German enemy.  His expression suited me perfectly, if I could capture it, but the cigar thrust between his teeth seemed somehow incompatible with such a solemn and formal occasion.  Instinctively I removed the cigar.  At this the Churchillian scowl deepened, the head was thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed on the hip in an attitude of anger.  So he stands in my portrait in what always seemed to me the image of England in those years, defiant and unconquerable.  With a swift change of mood, he came towards me when I was finished, extending his hand and saying, ‘Well, you can certainly make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed.’” (Karsh, Faces of our Time, p.38)

Karsh titled the image “The Roaring Lion.”  It appeared on the cover of Life magazine and established Karsh’s international reputation. In some ways, the image also can be said to have helped make Churchill; more than any other image, Karsh’s portrait of Churchill stands as the definitive portrayal of his character.

Karsh went on to photograph an incredible array of the world’s most prominent personalities, including royalty, statesmen, artists, and writers.  His portraits have come to represent the public images of major figures of twentieth century politics, science, and culture.  Karsh also published numerous books as portfolios of his portrait photographs.  He did not close his Ottawa studio until June 1992, at the age of 83.

The Photograph

This silver gelatin photograph was printed by Karsh’s studio on bright, lustrous paper and mounted by the studio on heavy stock stamped by Karsh’s studio on the verso. A plate mark impressed by Karsh’s studio surrounding the image gives the image further depth. The sheet measures 13.5 x 11.56 inches (34.3 x 26.9 cm), the image 9.43 x 7.5 inches (24 x 19 cm).

Printing date is established by the letter and the fact that Karsh stopped signing his photos with “Ottawa” in the late 1960s. The image verso bears the studio stamp of Karsh’s Ottawa studio reading “COPYRIGHT | the following copyright must be used | © Karsh, Ottawa” as well as a penciled “P of G” notation referring to the image’s inclusion in Karsh’s book Portraits of Greatness(1959).

We deliberately chose not to frame in the conventional manner, with the photo matted and framed beside the letter.  The photo is simply too striking an image to warrant the aesthetic distraction of the letter right beside it.  Instead, we commissioned a custom, double-sided frame using museum quality, archival materials. The solid walnut frame is stained dark black with a thick 8-ply rag board mat for added depth and richness and is glazed with UV filtering acrylic. On the reverse the letter has also been matted and glazed. The framed piece measures 17.375 x 15.375 inches (44.1 x 39 cm).

A fight at CBC!

There’s been a fight among staff here at CBC.

We’ve been hoarding a trove of signed and inscribed material.  Some of us want to hold on until the end of the year for our forthcoming “Extra Ink” catalogue.  Some of us don’t want to make our customers wait.  Since we’re poor pugilists, we’ve compromised.  We’ll reserve roughly 40 signed or inscribed items for the catalogue.  But, over the coming months we will give you a sneak peek at some of these hoarded treasures in our blog posts.

Today, we start early – 13 January 1906 to be precise – with a first edition presentation set of Lord Randolph Churchill inscribed to the man who guided Churchill’s successful first campaign as a Liberal.

This copy of Churchill’s biography of his father features a remarkable eight-line inscription in black ink on the front free endpaper:

 

F. Burn

from

Winston S. Churchill

As a memento of the great

Free Trade victory won in

Manchester 13 Jan 1906, &

in recognition of his share

in that good work.

The recipient, Fred Burn (1860-1930) signed the Volume II front free endpaper and further inked “Fred Burn | from the author” on the blank recto preceding the half title.

The set’s virtue resides in testifying to the associations and machinations of Churchill’s early Parliamentary career. The volumes have aesthetic flaws endemic to the edition, but are nonetheless unrestored and sound.  Each volume is housed in a blue cloth chemise nested within a custom quarter leather slipcase.

You probably have not heard of Fred Burn for a reason; he was the kind of behind-the-scenes political figure who pins the hinges of electoral power but remains substantially out of the limelight and out of the history books.

Burn was a particularly influential figure in Manchester Liberal politics.  His obituary remembered him as “one of the most successful, as he was one of the most agreeable, personalities among the professional party workers in the North of England.”  If anything, it is possible that his obituary understated Burn’s influence.  “Mr. Burn’s experience of political activity included the organization of the Liberal campaign against Mr. Winston Churchill when he was Conservative candidate at Oldham.[1]  Churchill lost the July 1899 Oldham by-election – his first attempt at Parliament. Half a decade later, Churchill turned for help to the very same, shrewd Liberal party fixer who had thwarted him.

In 1903, The Manchester Liberal Federation (M.L.F.) “wanted ‘a superior man’”.[2]  Burn was named Secretary of the Manchester Liberal Federation (MLF) and immediately “under him the staff was re-organised.”  His £500 salary was “at the top end of the scale”, reflecting both his efficacy and the importance of his constituency.[3]  Burn would more than earn his salary.  A 24 March 1904 publication of the MLF lamented the death of the Liberal candidate for North-West Manchester and noted that “it is hoped that in the immediate future another name be put before the North-West Division.

That name was one familiar to Burn – Winston Churchill.

On 31 May 1904 Churchill left his father’s Conservative Party, crossing the aisle to become a Liberal, beginning a dynamic chapter in his political career that saw him champion progressive causes and branded a traitor to his class.  On 2 January 1906 Churchill published his two-volume biography of his father.  Immediately thereafter, he campaigned for eight days in North-West Manchester, hoping to win his first election as a Liberal.

Churchill’s defection from the Conservative Party was much on the minds of the voters.  His father’s history was much on his own mind.  To the charge of being a political turncoat, Churchill replied: “I admit I have changed my Party.  I don’t deny it.  I am proud of it.  When I think of all of the labours Lord Randolph Churchill gave to the fortunes of the Conservative Party and the ungrateful way he was treated by them when they obtained the power they would never have had but for him, I am delighted that circumstances have enabled me to break with them while I am still young, and still have the best energies of my life to give to the popular cause.[4]

Burn helped balance the electoral scales in Churchill’s favor, guiding both local party organization and Churchill himself.  The Churchill Archives Centre houses dozens of letters from Burn to Churchill, spanning the weeks before Churchill’s defection from the Conservative Party to the death of Churchill’s mother in 1921. During Churchill’s initial transition to the Liberal Party, Burn was a constant source of information and guidance, some of which was minutely prescriptive.  Burn’s counsel was not unsolicited, but rather deliberately sought. Many of Burn’s letters are responses to direct inquiries from Churchill.  In a three-page, 15 July 1904 letter, Burn explained the constitution and organization of the Manchester Liberal Federation and how it functioned in relation to Liberal Party politics, including Party organization, political propaganda, and finance.  Burn advised Churchill in all three categories in granular detail.

A number of Burn’s letters to Churchill consist of detailed schedules for Churchill – whom he should meet, where he will speak, and even what he will speak about.  In a 17 March 1905 letter, Burn wrote to Churchill: “I have seen Mr Smith, the organizer of the Heyrod Street Hall Concert, and he has named 7.30 as the hour of meeting, half an hour earlier than is customary.  He hopes that you will speak for about twenty minutes and that you will say something about your experiences in South Africa as he wants the audience to carry away something that they will remember and which will stick by them.  A personal reminiscence of this character connected with your exploits there he thinks is just the thing… Mr Smith is anxious that not the slightest allusion, directly or indirectly, to anything political shall be made at Heyrod Street, Party politics are tabooed there, although outside he will be an active worker in your behalf.”  Burn was careful to direct Churchill to the Jewish community that made up a large portion of North-West Manchester population, setting up meetings with Rabbis and visits to Jewish clubs.  Burn also advised Churchill on the organizations with which he should associate.  On 31 October 1904, Burn wrote “with reference to your inquiries – I have spoken to one or two of our people privately about this and their opinion is that it might be useful to you in your campaign to be associated with a body so influential as the Oddfellows.”

“Political propaganda” was a major function of Burn’s MLF, with a reported half a million political leaflets and cartoons delivered to Manchester houses in 1903.  A 23 January 1905 letter from Burn to Churchill reveals the complex calculations Burn and the MLF made in the design of materials.  “The Free Trade League people are a bit afraid that if we announce you by poster for St John’s Meeting, it will detract from theirs in the Free Trade Hall, which is quite close… what I suggest is that we should put out an ordinary poster but without your name, and that we should notify by circular our St John’s friends that you will be present.

Money being integral to political calculus, the subject comprised a significant portion of Burn’s writing to Churchill.  Burn’s recommendations of organizations that should receive a subscription under Churchill’s name were remarkably detailed. The Welsh Women’s Temperance Association were made of “splendid workers in every good cause, including liberalism”.  Thus Churchill was to give them a small subscription (letter of 14 April 1905).  The Royal Army Medical Corps of Manchester should get two guineas (letter of 8 May 1906) while Burn remarked about the Hightown A.F.C. “you can let this application ‘slide’, it is a very small affair” (8 August 1906).  One charmingly detailed letter of 12 April 1906 to Churchill’s secretary reads “I have your letter regarding the appeal from the Manchester Grammar School.  I think it would be well for Mr Churchill to give a small subscription as there are about a thousand boys in the school representing a great number of families in the Division.  Besides that, the boys are very keen on politics at the present moment and have had mock Elections in which, by the way, one precocious youth posed as the Member for North-West Manchester [Churchill].  I notice they suggest a guinea as a first prize that I think should be sufficient.

Burn’s correspondence with Churchill makes apparent the importance of the individual voter in these community elections, which were often decided by hundreds of votes.  Much of Burn’s counsel was truly inside information – which community members to meet, clubs to visit, churches and dinners and teas and garden parties to attend.  A 14 April 1905 letter to Churchill’s secretary provided characteristically informed and specific advice: “I hope Mr Churchill will pardon me mentioning that a letter from him expressing his regret at hearing of Mr Eward’s illness would be appreciated.

Burn was a lynchpin to Churchill’s success.  And Churchill’s success was critical to the Liberals.  On 13 January 1906 Churchill won the traditionally Conservative seat by a majority of 1,241 in an electorate of 10,000.  His fellow Liberal campaigners became beneficiaries.  “His efforts in and around Manchester helped six other Liberal candidates to overturn Conservative seats.”  His cousin Ivor Guest wrote to him: “You have given the pendulum such a swing as will be felt throughout the whole country.[5]  The Liberals won 377 seats in an electoral landslide.

North-West Manchester would prove a brief and fraught interlude in Churchill’s six-decade Parliamentary career, his shortest relationship among the five constituencies he ultimately held.  In 1908 when Churchill was appointed to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade, custom required that he submit to re-election. His by-election became a test of confidence in the Liberal government.  Forced to defend the Government’s policies, targeted by vengeful Conservatives, and hounded on the hustings by Suffragettes, Churchill was narrowly defeated by the Conservative candidate.

Nonetheless, the 13 January 1906 election and Churchill’s brief time as M.P. for North-West Manchester made all things possible for him. At 31 years old, “Churchill was now a Junior Minister in a Government furnished with far greater authority than it had expected.”  Disraeli’s biographer wrote to congratulate Churchill “both on his book and the beginning of his official career”.[6]  Two years later, in 1908, Churchill would marry and be appointed to his first Cabinet post.  As a powerful Liberal Cabinet Minister during the First World War, Churchill would experience a cycle of political ruin and rehabilitation echoing – and preparing him for – the ostracism of the 1930s that preceded his vindicated role as Prime Minister during the Second World War.  Churchill would ultimately hold six different Cabinet posts under two Liberal prime ministers and would remain a Liberal until 1924, following the electoral destruction of the Liberal Party.

All this was as yet unseen when he won his first seat as a Liberal in North-West Manchester on 13 January 1906.  Nonetheless, we can reasonably speculate that the importance of the victory was not lost upon Churchill.  Churchill’s biography of his father had helped place Lord Randolph in historical context.  We can also speculate that Churchill’s electoral victory as a Liberal in North-West Manchester helped Churchill put the specter of Lord Randolph’s failed political career behind him.  Perhaps all of this was in Churchill’s mind – or perhaps he was simply grateful – when he paused to warmly inscribe this first edition of his newly published book to the man who helped him achieve success.  Irrespective, this presentation set testifies to the remarkable convergences of a pivotal moment in the life of both ascending Winstons – the literary and the political.

This item – and dozens of other signed, inscribed, or handwritten treasures – will appear in our “Extra Ink” catalogue to be printed at the end of this year.  Special thanks to our resourceful and indefatigable Churchill Book Collector colleague Elise, for much of the research for this post.

[1]The Berwick Advertiser, 14 August 1930

[2]Peter Clarke, Lancashire and the New Liberalism, p.207

[3]Kathryn Rix, “Hidden Workers of the Party”, Journal of Liberal History, 52 (2006), p.12

[4]Gilbert, A Life, p.175

[5]Gilbert, A Life, pp. 175-6

[6]Gilbert, A Life, pp. 175-6

A unique copy of The Hinge of Fate and the Hemingway character who threatened to sue Churchill

A book can be a counterintuitive object.  An array of tidy print between two covers neatly gilt-stamped with a proprietary author’s name belies the messy process of planning, writing, re-writing, emending, and further revising that actually makes any body of writing worth reading.  Precious few authors accomplish the tasks alone.  A veritable legion may be involved in publishing a book, including researchers, editors, agents, designers, lawyers, publishers, printers, and publicists.  Moreover, the effort may continue long after initial publication.

All of this is particularly true of a monumental work like Churchill’s The Second World War.  A recent find, a copy of The Hinge of Fate from the Cassell and Company archives, helps pulls back the curtain to reveal the ongoing time and labor that goes into publication. It also reveals a little-known story from Churchill’s second Premiership about a real-life Hemingway character who threatened to sue Churchill for libel.

Cassell served as Churchill’s primary publisher for the final quarter century of his life, from 1941 on. As early as 1939 – before he was even Prime Minister – Churchill was courted by publishers for the enticingly lucrative rights to publish any post-war memoirs. When Newman Flower of Cassell secured publication rights to Churchill’s war memoirs, it was “perhaps the greatest coup of twentieth century publishing.” Churchill’s post-war literary output, particularly the six volumes of The Second World War, proved the essential asset to Cassell’s postwar recovery.

Publication of the first volume, The Gathering Storm, was held up with constant corrections – despite which the first edition contained a number of errors. Among the most embarrassing was a description of the French Army as the “poop” rather than the “prop” of France (rendered doubly problematic by proximity to truth). Although a capable team of proofreaders was engaged for the subsequent volumes, their efforts were not exhaustive, as evidenced by the number of corrections marked in this copy of the fourth volume.

This volume, stamped “Editorial”on the front free endpaper and top edge, was a part of the Cassell and Company archives and features 55 handwritten emendations.  Accompanying the volume are 14 oversized, single sided galley sheets, as well as a loose copyright page with corrections for the “Fourth edition, third impression August 1977”.  This copy of the first edition was used in Cassell’s editorial department until at least 25 May 1977. We have confirmed that handwritten corrections made within this particular volume were incorporated into later printings and editions. The edits range from simple corrections of letter cases to fixing misspellings to rewording sentences.

One particular edit merits a highlight. At page 416 a typewritten sheet is laid in bearing additional copy for a footnote added in later editions. The story of this footnote involves a Second World War General fired by Churchill.

Eric Edward Dorman-Smith (1895-1969) served in the First World War with distinction, wounded three times and awarded the Military Cross for his efforts in the trenches of YpresDorman-Smith was nicknamed “Chink” due to his resemblance to the Chinkara antelope mascot of his WWI regiment.  On Armistice Day in Milan, Chink met Ernest Hemingway, who had been wounded on the Italian Front while serving with the Red Cross.  Chink’s wartime heroics, coupled with his chivalrous demeanor and immaculately dressed image, encapsulated Hemingway’s conceptions of war and honor.  They became friends, and Hemingway would later use Chink as the basis for the character Colonel Richard Cantwell, the hero of Hemingway’s novel Across the River and Into the Trees.

After the war Chink split the 1920s between Paris – where Hemingway introduced him to James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and the rest of the city’s literary intelligentsia – and instructing at Sandhurst and Staff College Camberley. At Camberley, Chink scored 1000 out of 1000 on his tactics entrance paper, a record.  At the onset of the Second World War, he was positioned as the director of military training in India and was soon transferred to the Middle East Staff College in Haifa. Despite a position that he derided as a “schoolmaster’s role”, Chink’s tactical advice played a key role in Italy’s defeat at Beda Fomm.

1942 Auchinleck assumed command of the Eighth Army, and Dorman-Smith was promoted to acting major-general. He would hold the position for only three months. In August 1942 Winston Churchill ordered the “Cairo purge” – a complete restructuring of the Middle East command. Montgomery replaced Auchinleck and Dorman-Smith was given command of a brigade in Italy before being dismissed and involuntarily retiring in 1944. Disgraced and disillusioned, Dorman-Smith returned to his home in Ireland and changed his name to “O’Gowan”.  He would implausibly transition from British General to Irish nationalist and IRA supporter.

In 1953 O’Gowan’s solicitor sent a letter to 10 Downing Street claiming that the Prime Minister’s book The Hinge of Fate was libelous.  Despite only one reference to Dorman-Smith by name in the book, the letter claimed that Churchill had made “very grave charges that our client was incompetent and perhaps worse and that he was fired for incompetency.” Churchill’s offense was mentioning “General Dorman-Smith to be relieved a Deputy C.G.S.” in the general context of “disasters… in the Western Desert…”

O’Gowan né Dorman-Smith apparently employed his lawyers “all over the place, sent out for everything from slight disappointments in newspaper articles, to local affairs, such as destruction of heritage sites and water pollution in Cootehill.”  Nonetheless, Churchill was advised by Sir Hartley Shawcross (the lead British prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal) that the cited passages could plausibly be read as defamatory.  Defending a libel case might require making sensitive documents public.  Shawcross arranged for Alanbrooke and Montgomery to testify against O’Gowan.

The need never manifested; the trial never went to court.  In early 1954, O’Gowan suddenly backed down from his demands. O’Gowan’s biographer claimed Churchill’s advisor called on O’Gowan’s sense of chivalry by informing him of the Prime Minister’s stroke in 1953 and warning that the affair may cause a second, fatal stroke. The matter was settled by the inclusion of a footnote in future editions of the book – the typed manuscript of which is laid in this volume.

This unique copy of The Hinge of Fate may be viewed HERE.

Jeeping with ‘Pete’ – a remarkable and truly singular portrait of Europe in August 1945

The broad sweep of history is something Winston Churchill comprehended and communicated with extraordinary facility. The proverbial “big picture”. Naturally, we value the commanding views of the few great figures who conspicuously shape events.  But the voices of the many who are quietly living history are often lost.  When we are able to hear them, such voices can impart a more intimate and richly textured human scale.

Which brings me to the subject of this post.

With genuine excitement, we have just catalogued a unique, handmade book in which the writer, photographer, and compiler, Dalton Newfield (1918-1982) chronicled – in words and photos – the impromptu, unsanctioned, and rather remarkable European tour by jeep in the days immediately following the surrender of Japan in August 1945.

It so happens that Dalton Newfield was later the world’s first Churchill-specialist bookseller.  He also became the senior editor of the International Churchill Society’s journal, Finest Hour.  But while this earns him our enduring respect and appreciation, it has little to do with why we are writing about Dalton today.

Dalton’s unpublished, previously unknown, and strikingly interesting little book, Jeeping with ‘Pete’ is 67 pages of often dense typed narrative illustrated with 87 original photos and 13 European postcards of the era.  It is bound in thick brown leather, which Dalton meticulously incised with the title on the front cover and bound with a metal strip.

During the Second World War, Dalton Newfield served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.  After the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, Dalton decided to see Europe for himself in the war’s immediate aftermath.  Newfield took with him a lighter he engraved for every country he visited and the title’s eponymous “Pete” – his friend Peter Luppen.  His book records what he saw and how he saw it during an epic and improbable road trip.

Dalton’s prose is neither polished nor deliberatively philosophical, evidently typed as he went along and peppered with spelling, typing, and grammatical errors.  But there is pith and thoughtful observation evident in both his words and his photographs. Dalton’s photography is better than amateur and can be truly moving.

His images capture a diverse range of subjects.  Nuns in Paris.  Turbaned Moroccan soldiers posing with lederhosen-clad children in Austria.  Men excavating the rubble of a bombed town.  Allied edicts posted along the German border.  Abandoned vehicles on the Autobahn.  Boats laying quietly out of the water in a fishing port.  A disheveled little girl, small and barefoot in the bright sun with a shadowed stone wall and a darkened, bomb-damaged church in the background.

This was neither an official nor a sanctioned adventure. As Dalton observed: “Our orders are a bit questionable, as mine only carry me to Paris definitely and Petes don’t carry him to any particular place.”  Dalton explains “…we talked over our choice between going like hell and seeing a little bit of a lot of different places, and taking it easy and seeing a lot of a few… we chose the former…”  Dalton and Pete made a remarkable dash of a trek, crossing through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.

Starting off in Cherbourg, France on 19 August 1945, the duo began their journey south to Paris. Along the way Dalton gives an affecting depiction of the ways in which life in small towns in France simultaneously showed the scars of the War’s technological assault and retained their nearly pre-industrial ways of life.  Photographs depict a liberation parade with revelers riding donkeys and floats pulled by horses.  A pair of fisherman bait their lines and coil them into baskets.  A town crier beats a drum to summon townsfolk, before delivering news. 

“…at the very end of the main street we found the town crier.  He was very shabbily dressed in remnants of what may have been great glory in the past.  Perhaps in peacetime he will recoup.  He had on a faded blue shirt and old, dirty, black trousers.  On his head a jaunty, if dusty, pillbox hat.  Across his chest a leather strap… at the end of which hung a snare drum…  I approached him and asked him for a picture.  He instantaneously assumed a proud position and posed nicely, for which I gave him one of my last two cigarettes.  Then he made a ruffle on the drums for about ten seconds, waited a half minute while the townspeople rolled out of the doors, and then announced something in rapid French…”

Dalton described post-liberation Parisian diversions; Dalton and Pete navigated a black market currency exchange in a “disreputable café”, attended a burlesque show in Pigalle (capturing two images of the topless and feathered dancers), saw an Agatha Christie play (“Ten Little Niggers”), and witnessed a fire dancer at an Officer’s Club.

Continuing east, Dalton paints a vivid picture of the devastation left behind by the war. “Following the coast line we began to see names that we had seen many times in the papers after D Day.  Trouville, Villerville, Deauville.”  He becomes a discerning connoisseur of carnage: “There are differences in wreckage.  The wreckage of bombing seems almost gentler than that by shelling… You can see that Caen was shelled.

While exploring a bombed church in Alsace-Lorraine, Dalton and Pete encountered a German-speaking priest, “a burly character with a days growth of beard too many…

“… he told us all about the battle there… He took us into his backyard and showed us the foxholes the Americans had used.  I felt quite humble as he picked up some cartridge cases, cases that had been fired against Germans.  A gas mask lay by the field a Sherman tank lay blasted…  Digging into the past he told us this was also the scene for a battle of the Franco-Prussian war… Then he showed us where a B17 had come down… But most of all, he told us of the late battle there and it was quite vivid… he showed us his garden, warning us away from one spot where two mines still lay… I gave him some cigars… and he was most grateful.  He was growing a row of “tabac” in the garden, he was so low.  Coming out into the reality of the time again, we found our jeep surrounded by kids and so passed out, one at a time, our last roll of Life Savers.  At the end of the line I found old grandma, who wanted her’s too.  The children cried “Merci” but grandmother said “Donkeshane”… we climbed into the jeep and slowly drove away… caught between two countries whose fate has been one war after another.”

They continued through Belgium and Luxembourg. Dalton’s comments show him curious and observant, but also clearly marked by the bitter sentiments of a soldier who has lost time, hearth, and comrades to an unforgiven foe.  Passing into Germany Dalton notes “we didn’t pause here, and to celebrate the new country for my lighter, I merely spat out the window.” In Germany, Dalton observed the devastation one would expect to find in August 1945: “The route from Homburg to Ludwigshaved is so littered with the wreckage of armored armies that it is nigh indescribable.  Almost bumper to bumper, and in many places several deep, the carcases of trucks, cars, and tanks line the way.”  Later, observing “burned-out tanks, Bren gun carriers, trucks, etc., all along way” Dalton says – perhaps inadvertently laconic and symbolic – “Occasionally they had been gathered into piles for salvage, but for the most part they lay as they died.  The farmers carefully plowed around them.

In Austria, while changing a particularly stubborn flat with help from the locals, Dalton observed: “I had a good chance to talk to these people.  We talked, of course, mostly about the war, and I found that what others are finding is true: it is always someone else to blame, never the person you are talking to.  The Fraulein had lost a brother at Stalingrad and her fiancée in France and was quite sorry. Her father she had not heard from since March.  I found myself sympathizing with her until I caught myself and started questioning her about Hitler.

A more philosophically unforgiving Dalton also observes of the Austrians: “They had only the choice of accepting or being killed or put in a concentration camp, so that they made the best of a bad thing… I left but in leaving thought: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet that it must be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?”

Where there are glints of sympathy for the volk, there is none for those who led them to war.  Crossing into Italy via the Brenner Pass, Dalton noted: “Someone casually mentioned that this was the room where Hitler met Musso, and so, sure enough, after questions we found that where we ate C rations with impunity, H and M talked and ate.  Hope their food stuck in their craws – ours didn’t.”

Despite the hardened perspectives that understandably informed and colored what Dalton saw, it is clear from his images and prose that the journey was affecting.  In the final pages of his narrative, Dalton enigmatically writes: “…so good that we are thinking – just thinking – that maybe – well, we shall see.

The book opens with Dalton’s carefully printed and signed title page and dedication:

JEEPING WITH ‘PETE’

WORDS AND MUSIC BY DALTON (NMI)

NEWFIELD

LIMITED EDITION

 

DEDICATED TO PETER LUPPEN, HIMSELF.  A MAN WITH

A HOE, BUT NO AXE TO GRIND.  THE GOOD COM-

PANION, COMPLETE WITH JEEP AND AN IN-

FINITE PATIENCE WITH CAMERA BUGS

 

11 SEPTEMBER 1945

 

Below the date is Dalton’s autograph.

At the end of Dalton’s narrative, below the word “FIN”, Dalton typed a postscript:

From ATC Hq., Place Vendrome, from where I start on the bus which leads to the plane which leads to England.

Just below that postscript, a second postscript, in different type evidently added later: 

“and my Eleanor ….who

retravelled this book in 1978

as my darling wife…

Dalton Newfield took from wartime Europe not only an abiding respect for Churchill, but also an English bride.  The final page of the book is a holograph postscript in the hand Dalton’s wife, Eleanor:

Peter Luppen died in 1974

of polio, leaving widow & two

young son.  Pete was history

Professor, Stanford University.

Lt Col Dalton Dalton Newfield died

March 23 1982 – leaving wife

Eleanor (Clauson) Newfield.

Their son (Rand) Randolph

Charles Dalton-Newfield

July 25 1950 – died Jan 4th1959

of cancer.

Dalton known around the world

as an expert on Winston S. Churchill.

We also include two additional photographs, of Dalton Newfield and Peter Luppen, which were found laid into the book, as well as eleven pages of what appears to be a later, unfinished, type-written attempt by Newfield to fictionalize the narrative.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege for us to review, relive, and relate the singular perspective and experiences compiled in this singular little book.  We look forward to relinquishing “Jeeping with Pete” to the stewardship of a new collector, ensuring the preservation and continued appreciation of the vivid and intimate vignettes therein.