San Francisco: Ransohoffs (printed by Grabhorn Press), 1940. 1st Edition. Hardcover. This is a collector-worthy copy of an unusual, scarce, and striking wartime edition of Churchill's speeches. It contains seven of Churchill's speeches from 1940, including "Blood Toil Tears and Sweat" and "The Few". This is the first appearance in volume form of these speeches, later published in "Into Battle". Included are Churchill's speeches to the House of Commons of 13 May (excerpts), 19 May, 18 June, 20 August, 11 September, and 8 October. Also included is Churchill's speech of 21 October to the French nation.
This edition was published for Ransohoff's, a San Francisco department store, by Grabhorn Press in a limited edition of 250 copies. It is a large and striking production, measuring 15.75 x 10.75 inches, bound in red cloth covered boards with a quarter linen spine and a leather spine label stamped in gilt. The contents are printed on lavish, handmade paper and printed in red and black. Two similar editions were published by Ransohoff's - the edition offered here and another in blue cloth containing six of Churchill's speeches from 1940-1941. Both are quite scarce, but this earlier red edition is even more elusive than the blue.
While these publications are beautiful, they are notably fragile. The linen spines soiled easily, the leather spine labels faded and cracked, the cloth was prone to wear, and the contents prone to spotting. Finally, as noted in Langworth, (p.243), because of the way these were bound, "these books almost always have one or two gutterbreaks". Here is a lovely copy, free of most of the typical faults. The binding is remarkably clean, the linen almost immaculate and the leather spine label pristine. The boards show light wear to the corners, which nonetheless remain sharp. The contents are a treat. There is no sign of the gutterbreaks endemic to this edition. Moreover, we find no spotting whatsoever and no previous ownership marks of any kind. A terrific example of this scarce edition.
Reference: Cohen A133, Woods D(a)5, Langworth p.243. Item #001973