Churchill in Word and Image As Collected By Carolyn L. Smith

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Churchill in Word and Image As Collected By Carolyn L. Smith

AT: Which other poets does your husband collect?

CLS: Frost, Dylan Thomas, Austen, Stevens.

AT: Which collection did you start first?

CLS: I think I started with Dickens. Churchill started later, I believe.

AT: Can you tell me and our readers why Churchill is relevant in these times?

CLS: [Long pause]. Why Churchill is relevant in these times? I think that World War II was won as much by his oratory, as by his military plans and preparations. He was extremely well grounded in English history (witness Marlborough and The History of the English Speaking Peoples). He drew from his knowledge and put it into his speeches.

I actually believe that one reason Churchill was such an eloquent writer and speaker is that he took 4th form three times. He sometimes said that this gave him a solid grounding in the structure of the English language – and he did his homework.

AT: What would you say to people who suggest that Churchill material isn’t Americana?

CLS: Well, first of all his mother was American. Also his books sold well in the US. He wrote articles for many American populations. He had an admiration for FDR, and he worked hard to get American support for Allied positions.

AT: Ever since I got into this business (some 15 years ago) I have heard this old canard that there are few women book collectors. I myself don’t believe this, and think it’s predominantly a myth. What’s your opinion about the number of female book collectors that exist today, and have you ever experienced any obstacles as a female collector in what many perceive is a male-dominated arena? And have you observed any different patterns in which male and female collectors collect?

CLS: First of all, I want to say strongly that I feel it’s a myth that the majority of book collectors are male. I think that in some ways this dates back to the time that it was thought that women “didn’t think about serious things.” I would hate to make a generalization about the habits of male versus female collectors. All of us collectors, male and female, started as children. We collect according to our interests. In terms of how women collect, I would hate to make generalizations.

I will say, however, that there was a time when men had resources to put together collections more so than women. Women had to inherit wealth and they had to have