Item #004946 My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe. Winston S. Churchill.
My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe
My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe
My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe
My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe
My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe
My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe
My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe
My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe

My African Journey, signed and dated by Churchill the day after publication to Churchill's fellow Cabinet member and then-Colonial Secretary Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe

London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1908. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This rare prize is the British first edition of My African Journey, signed and dated by Winston S. Churchill upon publication. Three lines in black ink on the front free endpaper read: “From | Winston S. Churchill | 1 Dec 1908”. Publication was 30 November 1908. An armorial bookplate affixed to the front pastedown testifies that this copy belonged to the Marquess of Crewe, Churchill’s fellow Cabinet member when this copy was signed.

Condition of this copy would be noteworthy even without the inscription. The distinctive illustrated red cloth binding remains square and tight with sharp corners and only trivial hints of shelf wear to extremities. We note minor overall soiling. Shelf presentation is impressive for the edition, with only slight spine toning. The contents are bright with a crisp feel. Modest spotting is intermittent, primarily confined to blank inner margins, heavier only to first and final leaves. All 61 photographs and three maps are intact, including the frontispiece and tissue cover. Confirming the age and originality of the bookplate, the ghosted outline of the bookplate is clearly visible amid transfer browning to the signed front free endpaper.

Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (1858-1945) both inherited his father’s title and “shared his father’s Liberalism”. His father’s death in 1885 put him in the House of Lords as Baron Houghton, where he was made a Liberal whip. The death of his first wife in 1887 sidelined his political career. Like Churchill, he supported Home Rule, which led to his 1892 return to politics as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In 1894, a year before the Liberals fell from power, the third Baron Crewe died and Baron Houghton succeeded to the Crewe estates and became Earl of Crewe. From the beginning of Campbell-Bannerman’s premiership, “Crewe became a pivotal figure in Liberal governments from 1905-1916”. Crewe enjoyed the trust of both Campbell-Bannerman and his successor, Asquith, to whom Crewe was “principal political aide and confidant… during the eight years of his premiership”. Crewe thus served in Cabinets alongside a young Winston Churchill, who first joined the Cabinet in 1908, the same year that he published My African Journey.

Fittingly, in 1908 Crewe succeeded Lord Elgin as Colonial Secretary; Churchill wrote his travelogue on Britain's possessions in East Africa while he was serving as Elgin’s Undersecretary of State for the Colonies. Crewe was made a Marquess in 1911. Though Asquith’s departure from office “virtually ended his career as a national politician” Crewe later served as ambassador to France, spent ten weeks in the Cabinet of Ramsay MacDonald, and led independent Liberals in the House of Lords from 1936 to the end of 1944.

In the summer of 1907 Churchill left England for five months, making his way after working stops in southern Europe to Africa for "a tour of the east African domains." In early November, Churchill would kill a rhinoceros, the basis of the striking illustration on the front cover of the British first edition of his eventual book. By now a seasoned and financially shrewd author, Churchill arranged to profit doubly from the trip, first by serializing articles in The Strand Magazine and then by publishing a book based substantially upon them. 

In November 1908 Hodder and Stoughton published My African Journey as a book, which was a substantial 10,000 words longer than the serialized articles. The British first edition is striking, with a vivid red binding and a prominent front cover bearing a woodcut illustration in blue, grey, and black of Churchill with his bagged white rhinoceros. The red cloth spine proved exceptionally vulnerable to sunning and the lovely books seem to have attracted handling, making wear and soiling the norm. Spotting is also endemic. Bright and clean copies are scarce, contemporary signed copies exceptionally scarce.

Reference: Cohen A27.1, Woods/ICS A12(aa), Langworth p.81. Item #004946

Price: $18,000.00

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