The Frewen collection features inscribed copies of Churchill’s books spanning more than half a century, from 1906 to 1958, and three generations of Churchill’s relatives on his mother’s side, including his Aunt Clara and her descendents. The collection is noteworthy not only for inscribed first editions, but also for accompanying correspondence and annotations.
The collection has remained in the Frewen family until now, providing both sterling provenance and a unique opportunity for collectors.
Individual family members to whom volumes are inscribed include the following:
- Churchill’s Aunt Clara. Clarita “Clara” Jerome Frewen (1851-1935) was the eldest of the three famous Jerome sisters. Clara married Moreton Frewen (1853-1924), who earned the family nickname “Mortal Ruin” for his lifetime of financial failures. Churchill collectors may also recognize Moreton as the famously slipshod editor of Churchill’s first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force. Clara’s sister Jeanette “Jennie” Jerome (1854-1921) became Lady Randolph Churchill and mother to Winston Churchill. Youngest sister Leonie Blanche Jerome (1859-1943) became Lady Leslie, wife of Sir John “Jack” Leslie, an Anglo-Irish baronet.
- Churchill’s first cousin Clare Sheridan. The tempestuous and talented sculptress and writer Clare Consuelo Frewen Sheridan (1885-1970) was “the nearest thing to a sister that Winston ever had.” Clare was the middle of three children born to Clara and Moreton. Clare was the only girl among the eight children born to the three famous Jerome sisters.
- Churchill’s first cousin Oswald Frewen. Career naval officer, sometime journalist, and prolific diarist Captain Oswald Moreton Frewen (1887-1958) was the youngest of three children born to Clara and Moreton. Oswald was present for every naval engagement in the North Sea during the First World War, helped the Admiralty prepare the official naval history of the First World War, and served as King’s Harbour Master at Scapa Flow during the Second World War.
- Lena Frewen, wife of Churchill’s first cousin Oswald Frewen. Lena Marson Spilman Frewen (1902-1988) married Oswald Frewen in 1945. They would spend the rest of Oswald’s life at his beloved home (“The Sheephouse”) in Brede, East Sussex.
- Roger Frewen, Churchill’s godson and first cousin once removed. Roger d’Hauteville Moreton Frewen (1914-1972) was the son of Churchill’s first cousin, Hugh Frewen (1883-1967) who was the eldest child of Clara and Moreton Frewen. Roger served the Foreign Office before, during, and after the Second World War.
Here are some highlights from the Frewen collection:
- Lord Randolph Churchill, the British first edition of Churchill’s biography of his father, inscribed in the year of publication to Churchill’s Aunt Clara in the first volume and signed in the second volume.
- The World Crisis, a full set of six British first editions, each inscribed in the year of publication to Churchill’s Aunt Clara, and having passed in turn to Clara’s son and Churchill’s first cousin Captain Oswald Frewen, bearing his quite extensive and highly critical annotations on Churchill’s interpretation of the Battle of Jutland and naval leadership, including Admiral Jellicoe.
- My Early Life, the British first edition, first printing of Churchill’s autobiography, inscribed and dated to Churchill’s Aunt Clara six days prior to publication.
- My Early Life, the British first edition, first printing of Churchill’s autobiography, inscribed and dated in the year of publication to Churchill’s godson, Roger Frewen.
- The Gathering Storm, the U.S. first edition (and true first edition, preceding the British) of the first volume of Churchill’s history of The Second World War, inscribed and dated less than a month after publication to Churchill’s first cousin Clare Sheridan.
- The Second World War, full set of British first editions, each inscribed and dated by Churchill to Oswald, bearing several instances of correspondence between Oswald and Jock Colville referencing Oswald’s suggested corrections to the text of several volumes (included as annotations in the volumes which he cheekily sent to Churchill for signature and then received back, inscribed).
- A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the British first edition, first printing of Churchill’s sweeping four-volume history and last great work, signed by Churchill in the first two volumes with correspondence from both Churchill and Churchill’s Private Secretary to Oswald Frewen, Churchill’s first cousin, as well as a gift inscription to Oswald from his wife.
- Painting as a Pastime, the U.S. first edition, first printing, inscribed by Churchill to his first cousin Oswald’s wife, Lena.
- Winston S. Churchill: Youth, 1874-1900, the British first edition, first printing of Churchill’s Official biography, inscribed by the author Randolph S. Churchill to Roger Frewen.
- My Early Life and Great Contemporaries, finely bound marriage gifts from Churchill to Roger Frewen inscribed and dated to him “on his marriage.”
We will be offering items from this singular collection over the next several months; watch for our forthcoming emails. If you are not on our confidential contact list, now would be a good time to join. Click HERE.
Please note that a number of items from the Frewen collection will also be featured by us at the Pasadena Book Fair held on January 31 and February 1 at The Pasadena Center in Pasadena, California. If you are able to attend, please ask us for complimentary tickets.
We look forward to making this wonderful collection available to Churchill enthusiasts, collectors, and scholars for the first time.