Item #005771 The People's Rights. Winston S. Churchill.
The People's Rights
The People's Rights
The People's Rights
The People's Rights
The People's Rights
The People's Rights
The People's Rights

The People's Rights

London: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd., 1909. First edition. Hardcover. This is among the rarest Churchill first editions – the first edition, only printing of The People’s Rights in the hardcover binding – one of only 100 bound thus. Moreover, this copy is a compellingly clean, complete, and unrestored survivor.

Condition is very good plus, particularly for the edition, and quite elusive thus. The binding is square and tight with no warp or lean. The binding is surprisingly bright and unsullied, the spine color quite strong with only the slightest sunning, the gilt print on both front cover and spine vividly bright. Light wear is substantially confined to the corners, hinges, and spine ends. The contents were printed on cheap pulp paper which always browns and becomes brittle. These contents are toned, as usual, but less so than typical and notably clean. Moreover, we note none of the typical edge chipping, no spotting, no previous ownership marks, and no cracking at the gutters. The top edge gilt is still atypically bright given the pulp paper to which it was applied. Improbably, given the tiny number produced, there are two identified states of the hardcover issue of the first edition, differentiated only by whether p.71 is mispaginated as “1”. This copy does not have the p.71 mispagination, but does have a single Appendix and Index affiliated with first state wraps-bound copies, rather than the second state, wherein a second Appendix replaced the Index. The book is protected within a custom quarter leather solander case. Evoking both the wraps and hardcover issues of the first edition; the case features a chrome yellow morocco hubbed spine with maroon labels over burgundy cloth boards, the inside lined with complementary marbled paper.

In 1904, Churchill quit the Conservative Party and joined the Liberals, beginning a dynamic chapter in his political career that saw him champion progressive causes and be branded a traitor to his class. In late 1909 when The People's Rights was published, Winston Churchill was a powerful political force and a member of the Cabinet. From December 3-11, 1909 Churchill was on the campaign trail for the Liberals. The People's Rights is a distillation of these nine days of speeches, criticizing the House of Lords (which had rejected the Liberal Government's budget, thus precipitating the campaign) and championing Free Trade, a graduated income tax, luxury tax, and surtaxes on unearned income. Churchill's efforts were not wasted; the election gave the Liberals a slim majority and passage of their budget.

The first edition is not only an important work, but also the only edition published in Churchill's lifetime. Nearly all first edition copies were bound in bright, chrome yellow paper wraps (with a halftone photo of Churchill on the cover) and printed on cheap, pulp paper. For obvious reasons, they proved perishable; surviving copies are scarce and desirable, even when aged and worn. However, considerably scarcer is this publisher's original hardcover binding. As documented in Ronald Cohen's excellent Bibliography, "100 sets of sheets were bound on 20 December 1909". The hardcover issue is not only quite scarce, but was also bound "two weeks before the publication of the paper wrappers issue.” Cohen wrote that “The cloth copies may have been available in the last few days of 1909.” (Cohen, Volume I, page 177). Lacking evidence, Cohen left the official publication date as 1910. We have previously encountered a copy that settles the question, featuring an owner name and “Dec 1909” date. Hence, we date hardcover issues of the first edition to 1909.

Churchill's first bibliographer, Frederick Woods, was able to examine only a worn and faded copy and reported the binding color as "cherry-red cloth, flecked with pink". We have noted two slightly different cloth variants - a cherry red cloth as well as a deeper, burgundy-red. This copy is the deeper red cloth variant.

Reference: Cohen A31.1.b, Woods/ICS A16(a), Langworth p.97. Item #005771

Price: $10,000.00

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