A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive
A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive

A unique collection of Oxford University Encaenia programmes spanning 1932 to 1984 and signed by 53 distinguished honorees including Prime Ministers Winston S. Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, and President Harry S. Truman, with accompanying correspondence archive

Oxford: Oxford University, Various. This remarkable, truly unique collection of Oxford Encaenia programs features signatures of 53 distinguished honorees collected over half a century spanning 1932 to 1984. Signatures include those of Prime Ministers Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Harold Macmillan, President Harry S. Truman, three Nobel Prize winners, House Speakers and Party Leaders, scholars and war heroes, poets and architects, and such quintessentially British figures as the first Director-General of the BBC, the editor of Punch, and the designer of London’s iconic red phone booth. These signatures were collected by Lewis Frewer, a meticulous collector who was noted in 1946 for “probably the finest collection of modern autographs in Oxford.” This Oxford Encaenia portion of his collection includes 12 signed programs and 35 additional items, chiefly correspondence from signatories or their staff related to securing many of the signatures herein. Condition of the signed Encaenia varies from near fine to only fair. Programs handled by a limited number of people, such as those signed by the Churchills and Harry Truman, are in very good condition, bright and clean with minimal wear to the extremities. Others, such as the 22 June 1932 program, were clearly sent back and forth through the mail as multiple signatures were collected, and hence bear fold lines, tears, and visible wear. A full list of the Encaenia, signatures, and accompanying correspondence is available upon request. The Encaenia ceremony at Oxford has existed since the 16th century as a means of conferring honor upon, and obtaining favor from, the powerful and influential in the form of honorary degrees. By the 1930s, the British Foreign Office came to regard the honor as a diplomatic tool and began directly intervening in the selection of honorees. This is reflected in this collection by the presence of foreign dignitaries such as Austrian Minister Baron Georg Franckenstein, French Prime Minister Édouard Herriot, and Belgian diplomat H. E. Baron de Cartier, all collected in the years leading up to WWII, and is perhaps most notable in the calculations and anxieties surrounding the post-war signature of former President Harry S. Truman. Post-WWII signatures clearly reflect political paeans and alliances, with nearly half of the honorees in 1946 being military figures. Signatures of WWII worthies include Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, ranked “with the greatest of British admirals”, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, credited with helping win the Battle of Britain, Lieutenant General Lord Bernard Freyberg, whose lengthy military career prompted Churchill to nickname him “the Salamander” for his ability to pass unharmed through the fire, and Churchill’s foremost wartime military advisor, Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke. Churchill himself is also present (1946), but it was his wife, Clementine, receiving the honor of Doctor of Civil Law, even though he signed above her and she is referred to in the program as only “Mrs. Churchill”. Former president Harry S. Truman’s inclusion in the 1956 Encaenia is an archetype of complex political calculus influencing Encaenia. In 1952, Oxford honored Truman’s Secretary of State, Dean Acheson. Election year politics and the ascendance of McCarthyism led this to be viewed as partisan. Hence British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden rejected Oxford’s 1954 proposal to honor Truman. Approval came in 1955, but Truman was not able to attend until 1956, which was a U.S. election year, creating another conundrum for the Foreign Office, which had to decide between the embarrassment of delaying the former President and the appearance of election year favoritism. The solution was to include Truman in the 1956 ceremony while making it explicit that he was a holdover from the previous year. Truman’s inscription - “It is a very great honor. Harry S. Truman” - seems to acknowledge the fraught political calculus required to include him in the Encaenia. Item #004731

Price: $6,750.00