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-Presentation Leatherbound First English Edition Initial Signed by Winston Churchill-


First English Edition [1 of 3,537 copies]

By: Winston S. Churchill

Hodder & Stoughton [London]

Biblio: (Cohen A29.1.a) (Woods A15a)

8vo (438 pages)

Hardcover [Blue leather]

Item Number: 204628

Collector's Guide

Liberalism and the Social Problem was Winston Churchill’s first widely-published hardcover collection of political speeches, an expression of “radical” liberal views that were quite advanced for his time, prefiguring the modern social safety net that Churchill and David Lloyd George would soon set in motion. Though the burgundy clothbound English edition was handsomely produced, with Churchill’s signature in gilt across the front board, the American edition, similarly bound but without the gilt signature, is rarer. However, it is increasingly scarce in either edition.


This handsome leatherbound First English edition is initial signed in ink on the front free endpaper: “WSC,” “For Col. Frank W. Clarke” [In ink, in what appears to be a different hand.]

COLONEL FRANK CLARKE famously hosted Winston and Clementine Churchill at his Miami Beach home in January and February 1946 prior to Churchill’s March appearance at Fulton College, Missouri, to deliver what would come to be known as his “Iron Curtain” speech. This book was part of a signed leatherbound set of his works that Churchill sent to Clarke by way of thanks. Winston Churchill only signed with his initials for intimates.

The two men had known each other since the General Strike of 1926, when the Quebec-born Clarke, whose family owned paper mills in Canada, worked for Churchill on the staff of The British Gazette. The Churchills later stayed at Clarke’s lakeside cabin for two days of rest following the Quebec Conference. Clarke was a shipowner, whose vessels served in Allied operations throughout the war as hospital, supply and troop ships.

The binding, by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, is three-quarter blue crushed morocco leather over blue cloth, with gilded top edges, gilt titles on the spine with raised bands in six compartments, and marbled endpapers. The leather binding has faded a bit along the spine and exhibits considerable wear to the cloth. The book has been trimmed for binding. The contents are fine, with tanning to the endpaper edges and very light scattered foxing.

An interesting and quite surprising feature of this book is that many pages throughout have been extensively and professionally blue-penciled, with numerous ink edits, including the numbering and renumbering of paragraphs. It is difficult to decipher the purpose of this editing but it clearly would seem to have come from Churchill, not Clarke, as the book has remained in the Clarke family’s possession since it was received. Perhaps Churchill’s staff inadvertently turned over a proof or copy-editor’s copy of LIBERALISM in assembling this gift set.

A most significant association copy, in any event, that comes by direct descent from the Clarke family.

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