Winnipeg: Universal Life Assurance and Annuity Company, 1940. 1st Edition. Paperback. This is an exceedingly rare wartime speech pamphlet featuring Churchill's Address to the Italian People of 23rd December 1940. Broadcasting from the Cabinet War Rooms, Churchill sought to assure the Italians of Britain's historic friendship with Italy and place blame for the conflict on Mussolini. Churchill's speech is published here with two others - King George VI's Christmas Day Message of 25th December 1940 and Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King's Christmas Day message to the Canadian Army.
This speech pamphlet is unusual in several respects - its publication, its survival, and its superlative condition. Per Churchill Bibliographer Ronald Cohen (pages 530-532) the publisher - Universal Life Assurance and Annuity Company - was in business from 1902 to 1942. In an exuberant surge of patriotism, the company published over 40 booklets in the "Universal Life for Victory Series", a few of which were speeches by Churchill. Apparently, there were copyright concerns in the office of the Prime Minister, as well as with his British and Canadian publishers. Prickly correspondence was exchanged, but also some correspondence recognizing the propaganda value of Universal Life's efforts. Eventually the matter was closed.
This copy, a remarkable survivor, is in truly outstanding, fine condition. The pamphlet is bound in wire stitched paper wraps, measures 6 inches x 3.5 inches, and is 14 pages in length. Churchill's speech occupies all of pages 8 through 14. The pamphlet is pristine inside and out - crisp, clean, and bright with no wear or markings of any kind. Searching for flaws, we note that one of the two binding staples (both still perfectly tight) shows just a trivial hint of rust, but not even enough to stain the adjacent paper. It is hard to imagine many copies of this perishable and unusual wartime publication still exist; a superior example is improbable. The pamphlet is protected in a removable, archival quality mylar sleeve.
Reference: Cohen D77, unknown to Woods. Item #000956