Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2017 Issue

Winston Churchill and the Second World War from Peter Harrington

Winston Churchill and the Second World War.

Peter Harrington of London has published a catalogue of Winston Churchill and the Second World War. I initially misinterpreted this title, thinking it much more restrictive than it is. It does not cover only Winston Churchill's role during the Second World War. Rather, it covers all of Churchill's career plus the Second World War, including much material from the war not directly connected to Churchill. Indeed, it includes items pertaining to the other allies, Germany, and even far off theaters in Asia. What's more, the Second World War is not limited to half a dozen years. It also covers events leading up to the war, sometimes almost two decades earlier, to the changes that arose from the war in the years thereafter. That is far more ground than I at first thought. Here are a few of the items pertaining to these two subjects found in this new catalogue.


Most collectors have to painstakingly build their collections over years. For those looking to build a Churchill collection instantaneously, Harrington has an amazing opportunity. Not only is this an almost complete collection, it is likely as fine a collection as you will ever see. It was compiled by collector and bookseller Mark Weber, doing business as "The Churchill Book Specialist" from his home in an unlikely place I doubt Churchill ever visited – Tucson, Arizona. Weber, who died in 2016, was in business almost 30 years and handled one of the world's largest inventories of Churchill books. He kept the best copies for himself. This collection includes all but two "elusively rare" items from the primary texts of a Churchill corpus (Mr. Brodrick's Army and For Free Trade). There are 22 titles in 50 volumes. All are in original cloth and have original dust jackets where issued except The River War. Photographic plates and maps are all present, and they are mostly in "exceptional condition." The collection includes one of only two known copies of Lord Randolph Churchill in the dust jacket, one of only three such copies for Liberalism and the Social Problem. Titles range from a first edition, first state of Churchill's first book, The Story of the Malakind Field Force (1898), to A History of the English Speaking People (1956-58). Harrington quite accurately describes this as "a once-in-a-generation collecting opportunity." Item 1. Priced at £110,000 (British pounds, or approximately $141,145 U.S. dollars.


The Centenary Limited Edition of Churchill's The First Collected Works (with The Collected Essays), published posthumously 1973-76, is also offered. Item 2. £17,500 (US $22,460).


Next we have what must be Churchill's most unusual book, and not because this copy is a French translation. The title is Savrola (same as in English), unusual as it was Churchill's one foray into fiction (of course his opponents undoubtedly thought some of his political works were fiction too). Additionally, it is unusual in that it is a notably artistic book for Churchill, featuring illustrations by André Collot. It is one of just 12 copies of this second French edition (1950) to contain two inserted original illustrations. Despite its elegance, the edition is often overlooked by English-speaking collectors because it is in French. Savrola is the story of a revolutionary in the mythical country of Laurania. The dictator, suspicious of Savrola, sends his wife to seduce Savrola so he can learn more. Really? Wouldn't he just kill the man? Anyway, you can guess what happens next. Hopefully, Churchill didn't telegraph his war plans as much as he did the plot of this story. The two fall in love, the dictator is overthrown, but Savrola is forced to flee anyway when his friends turn on him. Some believed Churchill saw himself in this heroic but wronged protagonist (the book was originally published in 1900 when he was a young man). Churchill was happy to see this early work forgotten later on, writing, "I have consistently urged my friends to abstain from reading it." Item 7. £1,500 (US $1,928).


Item 18 is a signed typescript with extensive handwritten annotations of an article written by Churchill almost a century ago, that is as timely today as it was then. Written in 1931, it is titled The United States of Europe. It was written for the Hearst newspapers in the U.S. Churchill argues for European unity, noting that while the states of the Old World "don't want to have it," Europe has been united in the past, such as during the Roman Empire. Perhaps, he surmises, Europeans will look at the unity of the United Sates and be envious. He felt that free trade and interaction between borders would be healthy for Europe, and the interconnectedness good for peace. However, he incorrectly believed that "the horrors of Armageddon are our present guarantee of peace." Churchill was seriously wrong on that one, which made him an even stronger advocate of European unity after the war to preserve the peace. However, he did not see Britain as part of the European union, seeing the English instead being more closely tied to the English-speaking word, which at the time included not only North America and Australia, but the British Commonwealth as well. Today we wonder whether that union Churchill so strongly advocated to preserve European peace is about to disintegrate. £30,000 (US $38,550).


Next we have General (later President) Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1948 look at the war effort he commanded, Crusade in Europe. This first edition was printed in 1,426 copies, but this is one of just 35 copies bound for presentation. Eisenhower has inscribed it "For The Prime Minister of Great Britain and Mrs. Atlee." Oops. Eisenhower misspelled Clement Attlee's last name. Unusually, Eisenhower inscribed this copy on behalf of himself and his wife, Mamie. Attlee had served in the British Army during the First World War during a campaign strategized by Churchill, so despite being the leader of the opposition Labour Party, they worked well together during the unity government of the war. Attlee was Deputy Prime Minister. However, in the election of 1945 after the war ended, Churchill's Conservatives were surprisingly defeated and Attlee took over as Prime Minister. While Attlee's party promoted a far greater social role for government than would have appealed to Eisenhower, they were in lockstep on foreign policy, Eisenhower's primary concern. Attlee was strongly anti-Communist and a major supporter of the new NATO alliance. Item 67. £18,750 (US $24,050).


Here is a remarkable account by a remarkable man, Jan Karski: The Mass Extermination of the Jews in German Occupied Poland. Note Addressed to the Governments of the United Nations on December 10th, 1942... published in 1943. Karski had served in the Polish military and diplomatic corps when he was captured by the Soviets in 1939, when the Soviet Union and Germany were still cooperating to carve up Poland. In an exchange, he was being transferred from Soviet to German captivity by train when he escaped. He then went to work for the Polish underground, using disguises to find out what was really going on. He did, smuggling out information to England and then the United States. He was perhaps the first to let the world know about the mass exterminations taking place in the Nazi concentration camps. He met with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and numerous Americans, including President Roosevelt. What he met with was mainly indifference, disbelief, or the view that nothing could be done about it. In later years, he condemned the inaction of both government and church authorities (he was himself a Catholic), noting that many of the Jews who survived did so because of courageous actions by individual European citizens, not governments or churches. Item 104. £2,500 (US $3,208).


Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

    Valuable Books and Manuscripts
    London auction
    13 December
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    Christie’s, Explore now
    TREW, Christoph Jacob (1695–1769). Plantae Selectae quarum imagines ad exemplaria naturalia Londini in hortus curiosorum. [Nuremberg: 1750–1773]. £30,000–40,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623–88). Liber Organicus Astronomiae Europaeae apud Sinas restituate. [Beijing: Board of Astronomy, 1674]. £250,000–350,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ALICE & NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT. Master of Jean Rolin (active 1445–65). Book of Hours, use of Paris, in Latin and French, [Paris, c.1450–1460]. £120,000–180,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    A SILVER MICROSCOPE. Probably by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723), c.1700. £150,000–250,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    C.1311. £100,000–150,000
  • Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Roberts (David) & Croly (George). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumae, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia. Lond. 1842 - 1843 [-49]. First Edn. €10,000 to €15,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Incunabula: O'Fihily (Maurice). Duns Scotus Joannes: O'Fihely, Maurice Abp… Venice, 20th November 1497. €8,000 to €12,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: An important file of documents with provenance to G.A. Newsom, manager of the Jacob’s Factory in Dublin, occupied by insurgents during Easter Week 1916. €6,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: WILDE (Oscar), 1854-1900, playwright, aesthete and wit. A lock of Wilde’s Hair, presented by his son to the distinguished Irish actor Mícheál MacLiammóir. €6,000 to €8,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Heaney (Seamus). Bog Poems, London, 1975. Special Limited Edition, No. 33 of 150 Copies, Signed by Author. Illus. by Barrie Cooke. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Binding: Burke, Thomas O.P. (de Burgo). Hibernia Dominicana, Sive Historia Provinciae Hiberniae Ordinis Praedicatorum, ... 1762. First Edition. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: COLLINS, Michael. An important TL, 29 July 1922, addressed to GOVERNMENT on ‘suggested Proclamation warning all concerned that troops have orders to shoot prisoners found sniping, ambushing etc.’. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Scott Fitzgerald (F.) The Great Gatsby, New York (Charles Scribner's Sons) 1925, First Edn. €2,000 to €3,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Yeats (W.B.) The Poems of W.B. Yeats, 2 vols. Lond. (MacMillan & Co.) 1949. Limited Edition, No. 46 of 375 Copies Only, Signed by W.B. Yeats. €1,500 to €2,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of the Russian Empire, Description in English and French, Lg. folio London (S. Gosnell) 1803. First Edn. €1,000 to €1,500.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of Turkey, Illustrated by a Series of Engravings. Lg. folio Lond.(T. Bensley) 1802. First Edn. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Mason (Geo. Henry). The Costume of China, Illustrated with Sixty Engravings. Lg. folio London (for W. Miller) 1800. First Edn. €1,400 to €1,800
  • Sotheby’s
    Fine Books and Manuscripts
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane] — Isaac D'Israeli. Jane Austen's copy of Curiosities of Literature. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane]. A handsome first edition in boards of the author's debut novel. 70,000 - 100,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Brontë, Charlotte. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me..." 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Eliot, George. The author's magnum opus. 25,000 - 35,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Whitman, Walt. Manuscript written upon the Death of Lincoln, 1865. 60,000 - 80,000 USD
  • Sotheby’s
    Important Modern Literature from the Library of an American Filmmaker
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Kerouac, Jack. Typescript scroll of The Dharma Bums. Typed by Kerouac in Orlando, Florida, 1957, published by Viking in 1958. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. The autograph manuscript of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." [Key West, finished April 1936]. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Miller, Henry. Typescript of The Last Book, a working title for Tropic of Cancer, written circa 1931–1932. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Ruscha, Ed. Twentysix Gasoline Stations, with a lengthy inscription to Joe Goode. 40,000 - 60,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. in our time, first edition of Hemingway’s second book. 30,000 - 50,000 USD
  • Swann
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: Samuel Augustus Mitchell, A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining, Philadelphia, 1846. $3,500 to $5,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: 17th–19th-century case maps of various locations. $1,500 to $2,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Andreas Cellarius, Haemisphaerium Stellatum Boreale Cum Subiecto Haemisphaerio Terrestri, celestial chart, Amsterdam, 1708. $2,500 to $3,500.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: Vincenzo Coronelli, Set of engraved gores for Coronelli’s monumental 42-inch terrestrial globe, Venice, circa 1688–97. $18,000 to $22,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer, group of four navigational charts, Antwerp, 1580s. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Thomas Bros, Block Book of Berkeley, Oakland, 1920s. $800 to $1,200.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Nieuhoff & John Ogilby, An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, map of China, plan of Canton, London, 1673. $1,200 to $1,800.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Frederick Sander, Reichenbachia, St. Albans, 1888-1894. $5,000 to $7,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Two early illustrated works on horsemanship and breeding, Nuremberg, early 18th century. $700 to $800.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Gould, A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans. Supplement to the First Edition, London, 1834; 1855. $40,000 to $60,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Pinkerton, A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World, London, 1808–14. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Oakley Hoopes Bailey, Hackensack, New Jersey, Boston, 1896. $800 to $1,200.

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