"I HAVE DONE AND WILL DO MY UTMOST TO MAKE THE BOOK… ONE WHICH WILL HAVE ITS PLACE IN OUR LITERATURE": RARE AND IMPORTANT SIGNED LIMITED EDITION OF CHURCHILL'S SCARCE MARLBOROUGH, "THE MOST DESIRABLE OF FIRST EDITIONS"—PUBLISHER GEORGE HARRAP'S COPY, TOGETHER WITH AN EXCEPTIONAL ARCHIVE OF SIX LETTERS SIGNED BY CHURCHILL TO HARRAP REGARDING MARLBOROUGH'S COMPOSITION AND PUBLICATION
CHURCHILL, Winston. Marlborough: His Life and Times. WITH: Six letters signed by Churchill to the publisher, George Harrap. London: George G. Harrap, (1933-38). Four volumes, plus portfolio of letters. Octavo, original publisher's deluxe full russet morocco, raised bands, gilt Marlborough coat-of-arms on front boards, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, original slipcases with printed paper labels. WITH: Six Churchill letters housed in custom portfolio, chemise and half morocco slipcase. $55,000.
Signed limited first edition, number 18 of 155 sets signed by Churchill in Volume I, with hundreds of maps and plans (many folding), plates and document facsimiles, in handsome publisher’s deluxe morocco—the only signed edition of all Churchill’s works. The copy of publisher George Harrap, with his bookplate in Volume I and II, and with a trove of six signed letters from Churchill to Harrap regarding the composition and publication of Marlborough.
Churchill wrote this history of his famous ancestor to refute earlier criticisms of Marlborough by Macaulay. "Though it was a commissioned work, Churchill would not have invested nearly a million words and ten years had it not had special significance for him. For he wrote about a man who was not only his ancestor, an invincible general, the first of what became the Spencer-Churchill dukes of Marlborough, and a maker of modern Britain, but also a supreme example of heroism in the two vocations which mainly interested Churchill and in which ultimate triumph seemed to have eluded him—politics and war making" (Wiedhorn, 110). "It may be his greatest book. To understand the Churchill of the Second World War, the majestic blending of his commanding English with historical precedent, one has to read Marlborough. Only in its pages can one glean an understanding of the root of the speeches which inspired Britain to stand when she had little to stand with" (Langworth, 164).
The correspondence included with this signed limited edition of Marlborough includes four typed letters signed "Winston S. Churchill" or "W. Churchill," two with autograph postscripts, to George Harrap, February 1, 1931, through May 6, 1936, three on one leaf each of Chartwell, Westerham, Kent letterhead, and one on two leaves; an autograph note initialed, and signed "Winston S. Churchill" to Harrap, with Harrap's autograph note, January 19 [no year], on one leaf of Blenheim Palace letterhead; a typed letter with autograph postscript signed "W" to General Sir Bindon Blood, June 15, 1934, on one leaf of Chartwell, Westerham, Kent letterhead; along with an Associated Press black-and-white photograph of Churchill at lunch with Harrap, 8 by 6 inches.
"I GRUDGE THESE SPEECHES WHICH MAKE SUCH INROADS ON MY TIME"
1. Typed letter signed, "W. Churchill," to Harrap, February 1, 1931, Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, seven lines with a one-line autograph note. Churchill thanks Harrap for proofs "exactly in the form I like" and refers to "a week of enormous pressure, which is not yet over, as I have to speak on Monday at Liverpool… I grudge these speeches which make such inroads on my time." In autograph: "I am happiest in the 18th Century."
"I WILL DO MY UTMOST TO MAKE THE BOOK… ONE WHICH WILL HAVE ITS PLACE IN OUR LITERATURE"
2. Typed letter signed, "Winston S. Churchill," to Harrap, September 27, 1933, Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, ten lines, with a two-line autograph postscript. Churchill addresses his relationship with the firm: "I too am sorry that finance has to play so solid a part in our work. I can only say that I have done and will do my utmost to make the book which your long established firm is producing, one which will have its place in our literature." With an autograph postscript.
"THE DRAMA… SHOULD MAKE THAT THE BEST VOLUME YET"
3. Typed letter signed, "Winston S. Churchill," to Harrap, September 16, 1934, Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, one-and-a-half pages on two leaves. Churchill asks "now that volume two has finally gone to press, and my part is done," for a check for £3000, "less whatever I owe for excess proof corrections," as "I am going yachting in the Mediterranean for a month on the 25th instant, and ought to settle various accounts before I go." He asks for the sheets to sign if they have decided on a deluxe edition, and describes the probable contents of Volume III in some detail: "the drama… should make that volume the best. The scale of events is larger; the armies on both sides are doubled… the personal relations of Anne and Sarah and of Anne and Marlborough, the extraordinary political struggles between the Whigs and the Tories, and the three great battles of Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet, should give us a very good story… I shall have to be very careful to keep within two hundred thousand words."
"THE MYSTERIES OF PRINTING AND PUBLISHING"
4. Typed letter signed, "Winston S. Churchill," to Harrap, May 6, 1936, Chartwell, Westerham, Kent, seven lines. Churchill thanks Harrap for inviting "my youngest daughter to investigate 'the mysteries of printing and publishing' in which I am sure she will be very much interested."
5. Autograph letter in red ink signed, "WSC 19.I" and signed, later, in black ink, "Winston S. Churchill," Blenheim Palace, to Harrap, eight lines, with Harrap's explanatory autograph note in black ink beneath, four lines. Churchill announces, "herewith a first assembly of the material passages in chapters IV and V" and asks for six copies of the finished product "on the big square paper sheets of which I sent a specimen." Harrap's note read, "This was handed to me by Mr. Churchill at Blenheim and the MS was the first installment of Marlborough. Earlier chapters were completed later."
"DING-DONG ON THE INDIA FRONT!"
6. Typed letter initialed, "W," to Sir Bindon Blood, June 15, 1934, Chartwell, Kent, six lines with a three-line autograph postscript. Churchill asks Blood to loan a portrait of General Holcroft Blood for reproduction in Marlborough. The postscript reads, "I hope you are enjoying yr usual health. All good wishes. Ding-dong on the India front! Yours always, W." With General Blood's autograph letter on the verso to Harrap, noting that he has written to "my old friend Mr. Winston Churchill" of an old engraving hanging in his dining room which he is delighted to place at Churchill's disposal. Churchill served under General Sir Bindon Blood on the Northwest Frontier while preparing the dispatches he sent to the Daily Telegraph and Allahabad Pioneer. When collecting that material for his first book, Malakand Field Force, he decided to dedicate the volume to Blood, and include his portrait as a frontispiece. Marlborough is "the only signed… edition in the Churchill canon and one of only two publisher's leatherbound first editions… clearly this is the most desirable of first editions" (Langworth, 168-69). Issued simultaneously with the trade edition. Errata slips present in Volumes I-III, as called for. Cohen A97.1.a. Woods A40a. The copy of publisher George Harrap, with his bookplates in Volumes I and II.
Interiors generally clean, spines sunned, light wear to slipcases, often not present. Letters fine. An exceptionally desirable signed association copy, with important extensive correspondence from Churchill.