My Early Life: A Roving Commission, a wartime reprint with interesting provenance and inscription. Winston S. Churchill.
My Early Life: A Roving Commission, a wartime reprint with interesting provenance and inscription
My Early Life: A Roving Commission, a wartime reprint with interesting provenance and inscription
My Early Life: A Roving Commission, a wartime reprint with interesting provenance and inscription
My Early Life: A Roving Commission, a wartime reprint with interesting provenance and inscription
My Early Life: A Roving Commission, a wartime reprint with interesting provenance and inscription
My Early Life: A Roving Commission, a wartime reprint with interesting provenance and inscription

My Early Life: A Roving Commission, a wartime reprint with interesting provenance and inscription

London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1942. Hardcover. This is Churchill's extremely popular autobiography, spanning his birth to his first few years in Parliament. First published in 1930, this is a 1942 reprint (from first edition plates) by Macmillan, London. This particular copy is made more compelling by interesting wartime provenance. Per an elaborate printed grey plate affixed to the front pastedown, it was a gift from British industrialist Alexander Duckham in 1943. The presentation plate reads: “Written when he certainly had no conception of becoming 'Pater Patrice' I feel that Mr. Churchill’s autobiography up to 1901 will be an appropriate and acceptable token of goodwill to our customers on our 44th birthday anniversary, November 1943.” The plate is facsimile signed "Alexander Duckham". While we have encountered such copies before, two things render this copy of particular note. First, nearly all copies we have encountered with such a plate are 1943 third printings, rather than this 1942 second printing. Even more significant, this is only the second copy we have encountered with a personal inscription from Duckham. On the front free endpaper (opposite the presentation plate) in four lines Duckham wrote: “S. L. B. | with all good | wishes from | A. D. | x 11.43” Additionally, we found laid in an unused stationery envelope with a note penned reading “Dear Maurice / This was Sydney’s favorite book. It was given to him personally by Sir Alexander Duckham – as a token of their friendship over many years beginning with World War I. As you will see he even sighed it SLB from AD. Hope you like to have it as a memory of Syd. PB.” Regrettably, the identities of “SLB”, “Maurice”, and “PB” are all unknown. Alexander Duckham (1877-1945) was an English chemist, businessman, and early aviation pioneer who in 1899 founded Alexander Duckham & Co. A blender of oils, Duckhams was the second largest of the independent UK blenders after Castrol. By the mid-1930s it was sold in over thirty countries, mainly in Europe and British overseas territories. After the Second World War and Duckham’s death, motoring for the masses became a reality and Duckham's became a household name for engine oil. (Wagner, The Duckham's Story: A Century of Fighting Friction) Condition of this copy is good plus, the blue cloth binding sound but with modest wear to extremities and light scuffing to the boards. The contents remain clean. Light spotting appears confined to the endpapers and page edges. The binding has a very slight forward lean and a little tenderness to the front hinge, which is nonetheless fully intact. Regarding this particular wartime edition of Churchill’s autobiography, Macmillan acquired the rights to several Churchill books after the original publisher, Thornton Butterworth, went under in 1940. During the war years, these desirable reprints were published by Macmillan. Hence this edition, reprinted from the first edition Thornton Butterworth plates. One can imagine how compelling a read My Early Life made during the years of Churchill’s wartime premiership. One can hardly ask for more adventurous content, which included Churchill’s formative early experiences as a war correspondent and cavalry officer in theatres as varied as Cuba, northwest India, and sub-Saharan and southern Africa. This time contained a wide range of experiences in Churchill’s life. Not only was he developing as an author, publishing his first books, and making his first lecture tour of North America, but this was also the time of his capture and daring escape during the Boer War, which made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career. Churchill would take his first seat in Parliament only weeks after the end of Queen Victoria's reign. My Early Life remains one of the most popular and widely read of all Churchill's books. Reference: Cohen A91.6.b, Woods/ICS A37(d.2), Langworth p.139. Item #005973

Price: $180.00

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