The American artist Edwin Davis French was New York's most in-demand bookplate designer at the turn of the 19th Century, with commissions that included the Grolier Club and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. French created bookplates for the museum's library and even designed the Met's invitation for the inauguration of its new Fifth Avenue building. He would engrave over 300 bookplates in his career, including this one for the New York Yacht Club.
Through the good graces of our longtime friend, Richard Rudick, we recently acquired a quantity of newly deaccessioned books from the Yacht Club library, each of them bearing French's marvelous bookplate, which captures the prow-like majesty of the Yacht Club building itself.
Winston Churchill appears in the pages of a number of these volumes as First Lord of the Admiralty during either world war. The book most directly linked to him is THE WORLD CRISIS BY WINSTON CHURCHILL: A Criticism, a rather notorious (and rare) refutation written by various members of the British military establishment in 1928 attacking Churchill’s version of events in his history of the First World War.
THE NAVAL MEMOIRS OF ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET SIR ROGER KEYES touches on Churchill considerably. As the World War I memoirs of Admiral Sir Roger Keyes (1872-1945), whom Churchill appointed Chief of Staff Eastern Mediterranean in 1915, Volume I contains extensive chapters on Gallipoli.
THE DARDANELLES EXPEDITION is a strikingly handsome volume and an excellent reconstruction of the campaign that almost ended Churchill's career, written by a U.S. Naval officer in 1926, with detailed maps of troop movements.
NUMBER THIRTEEN is the autobiography of Rear-Admiral Gordon Campbell, Britain’s most successful sinker of U-Boats during the First World War as a Q Ship commander. Campbell (1886-1953) was awarded the Victoria Cross before going on to become an MP, as well as Aide-de-Camp to George V. There are scattered references to Winston Churchill throughout his memoirs.
SONS OF ADMIRALTY: A Short History of the Naval War 1914-1918 is a nicely written 1919 study that covers Churchill’s first term as First Lord of the Admiralty, including the Royal Navy’s actions at Gallipoli. The intaglio artistry of its cover design is quite something to behold.
There are 25 more books in our Yacht Club library cache. All pertain to either the First or Second World War. Churchill's name does not appear in every one of them, but the Yacht Club bookplate does. It provides a lovely grace note to some fascinating historical naval writings.
CLICK HERE for a complete list or just drop by for a look.