Letter from the British statesman, Nobel Prize Winner and Author, Sending his Editor Corrections for “Their Finest Hour”

Signed by Winston Churchill

Item: 18149
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CHURCHILL, WINSTON. (1874-1965). British statesman, Nobel Prize winner and author; Prime Minister from 1940-45 and 1951-55. TLS. (“Winston S. Churchill”). With a minor correction and twenty words in his hand. 1½ pp. 4to. Chartwell, February 7, 1949. Written on Chartwell stationery to book editor and noted bibliophile DESMOND FLOWER (1907-1997) and marked “Private.”

“I send you herewith the final copy of Volume II. I have myself checked Wood’s various corrections and given my ruling upon them in red ink. When the book has been set up I wish to see it to make sure that no further mistakes have arisen in inserting these numerous corrections, but I shall not keep it for more than two or three days. There are one or two general changes and rules which I hope you will adopt – (1) first, the footnotes are too small in print. It would be much better to print them the same size as the quotations type. (2) “Via” should be Roman throughout. I am looking forward to receiving the Index, and I should like to have it in its present form before any alterations necessitated by repagination are inserted. This will enable you to go ahead all the quicker. Certainly the larger type makes the book easier to read than Volume I. I hope you will not forget to insert a blank page at the beginning. It is usual in all publications. [In holograph:] I am sending all corrections, not purely typographical, to Houghton Mifflin & am sure they will insert them. Yours sincerely, Winston Churchill”

Churchill distinguished himself as a soldier, author and statesman, rising to the height of fame as England’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 history, The Second World War published by Cassell beginning in 1948. Our letter discusses Volume II, Their Finest Hour, the American edition of which was published in March 1949 by Houghton Mifflin, while the British first edition was published three months later in June.

Winston Churchill at his writing desk

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 war-torn Cassell’s. “In this, Churchill’s six-volume history The Second World War (1948-54) was a gigantic asset,” (ibid.). For The Second World War Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, after which he continued his collaboration with Cassell’s works.

Lightly docketed in red pencil in the upper right corner of the first page. Folded into quarters with a file hole in both upper left corners; in fine condition.

Letter from the British statesman, Nobel Prize Winner and Author, Sending his Editor Corrections for “Their Finest Hour”

Signed by Winston Churchill

$2600 • item #18149

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