Toronto: William Briggs, 1909. First Canadian edition. Hardcover. Here is a rare prize. This first and only Canadian issue of My African Journey is among the scarcest English language first editions of Churchill's book-length works. We have seen only a precious few on the market over many years. My African Journey is Churchill's travelogue on Britain's possessions in East Africa, written while he was serving as Undersecretary of State for the Colonies. This book is notable, among other things, for being the only one of his many books to contain photographs apparently taken by the author. 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 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. Both the Canadian and British first editions are striking, with a vivid red binding and a pictorial front cover bearing a woodcut illustration of Churchill with his bagged white rhinoceros depicted in blue, grey, and black. This Canadian edition is distinguished by the publisher "BRIGGS" on the lower spine, in lieu of the British edition's "Hodder & Stoughton". This Canadian edition also bears a unique title page.
As with the British edition, the red cloth spine of this Canadian proved exceptionally vulnerable to sunning and the 61 photographs were tipped in rather than bound, so copies should be carefully checked to ensure the presence of all illustrations and maps. This Canadian edition is not only extravagantly rare, but also in quite respectable condition, approaching very good overall. The original, unrestored red cloth binding is square and tight. Spine presentation is better than decent for the edition, modestly sunned and scuffed with minor fraying to the spine ends, but with the red color still distinct and the gilt spine print clearly legible despite some dulling. The illustrated front cover remains bright and clean with a single, trivial scratch spanning “FRICAN” in the title and minor wear to the corners. The plain rear cover likewise is unmarred save for a light horizontal scratch and minor wear to the corners. The contents are surprisingly bright, crisp, and clean for the edition, with no spotting. The sole previous ownership mark we find is the curiously inked words “Mother Dear.” on the front free endpaper recto. All maps and illustrations are present, as is the protective tissue guard at the frontispiece.
Reference: Cohen A27.7, Woods/ICS A12(ac), Langworth p.85. Item #005772