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Early AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED by Winston Churchill — His Very First to Max Aitken (soon-to-be Lord Beaverbrook)

“...I shall look forward to availing myself of your powerful aid in the not distant future.”


1 sheet written on both sides (5 x 8 inches)

Item Number: 207537


The first letter in a correspondence that would continue for half a century; a personal note, all in Churchill’s hand, on rarely-seen Blenheim Palace letterhead, dated 5 May 1911, to Max Aitken before he became Lord Beaverbrook:

My dear Aitkin, [misspelled]
It is with v[er]y great reluctance that I have come to the conclusion that our Canadian project must stand over till next year. I am v[er]y much indebted to you for the kindness with wh[ich] you have offered to smooth my path. I shall look forward to availing myself of your powerful aid in the not distant future.
I hope you will come & dine on Tuesday night to meet Louis Botha. I hope LG may be there too.
Yours sincerely
Winston S. Churchill

The 36-year-old Churchill had just been introduced to the 31-year-old William Maxwell Aitken by their mutual friend F.E. Smith. Newly-arrived that year from Canada, Aitken was a self-made millionaire whose feel for politics would soon lead to his launching his fellow Canadian, Andrew Bonar Law’s, ascendancy as Prime Minister. Aitken had proposed that Churchill, as Home Secretary, visit Canada, under Aitken’s auspices, to push for a Canadian contribution to Imperial defence. In this letter, Churchill gently demures. (“LG,” of course, is then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George.)

As Lord Beaverbrook, Max Aitken would remain Churchill’s close friend (and, as a conservative newspaper baron, his frequent antagonist) for the rest of Churchill’s life, serving most vitally as Minister of Aircraft Production in 1940 when the new Prime Minister needed him most.

This letter is quoted in full by Randolph Churchill in Volume II of the Official Biography, but misdated there as 5 May 1912. It is in very good condition, a single sheet, written on both sides, with the ink unevenly faded on the recto.