CHURCHILL, WINSTON. (1874-1965). British statesman and author; Prime Minister from 1940-45, and 1951-55. TLS. (“Winston S. Churchill”). 1p. 4to. London, March 12, 1952. Written as Prime Minister on his 10 Downing Street stationery. To book editor and noted bibliophile DESMOND FLOWER (1907-1997).
“I see it is said in the paper that the price of the reprints of my Memoirs has been raised to thirty shillings. You did not mention this to me. What price do you propose to charge for Volume V? Of course I have no financial interest in the matter but this might easily be assumed by the public. Pray let me know how matters stand. It seems hard on people who have agreed to buy all the Volumes that they should now have to pay an increased charge. I presume there are reasons for this common to all publications at the present time. When do you propose to bring out the British edition of Volume V? I have told Randolph to begin collecting the Speeches for another volume. There are quite a lot of important ones to include. Please let me know whether you would wish to continue the series, and, if so, communicate with Randolph...”
Churchill was a distinguished soldier, author and statesman, rising to the height of fame as Britain’s prime minister during World War II. From 1945, when the Labor party regained power, until 1951, when a Conservative victory again made him prime minister, Churchill continued to write and champion the cause of British security and world peace. It was during these years that he began his six-volume memoir, The Second World War published by Cassell. The fifth volume, Closing the Ring, is mentioned in our letter.
Cassell’s published several volumes that gathered Churchill’s speeches including Onwards to Victory: War Speeches, 1943: War Speeches by the Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill in 1944 and Victory: War Speeches by the Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill in 1946. In 1951, Cassell’s published The War Speeches of the Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill and reprinted the three-volume set in 1952. Two additional volumes of speeches were published prior to Churchill’s death: Great War Speeches in 1959 and War Speeches, 1940-1945 in 1965.
Our letter mentions Churchill’s son Randolph Churchill (1911-1968), who held a seat in the House of Commons from 1940-1945. On several occasions the elder Churchill declined a peerage on the grounds that it might jeopardize his son’s political career, which ended, nevertheless, in 1945. Randolph assisted his father with many of his publishing ventures including penning a preface to the 1941 Blood, Sweat, and Tears and editing such works as Arms and Covenant: Speeches published in 1938 and Post-War Speeches: Part II: Europe Unite: Speeches, 1947 and 1948 published in 1950.
Despite contemplating a career in the antiquarian book world, Flower followed in his father’s footsteps, joining the venerable publishing firm of Cassell’s in 1930. “Almost the last thing that Flower did before joining the Army in 1940 was to prepare the first volume of Churchill’s wartime speeches,” (“Obituary: Desmond Flower,” The Independent, March 31, 1997). After the war, Flower returned to rebuild Cassell’s. “In this, Churchill’s six-volume history The Second World War (1948-54) was a gigantic asset,” (ibid.) and for this work, Churchill won the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Folded with a single file hole in the upper left corner of each page. With a holograph salutation and closing and one minor handwritten correction. Several typed words extend up to the edge of the right margin. In very fine condition. [indexhistory]