San Francisco: Ransohoffs (printed by Grabhorn Press), 1940. First edition. Hardcover. This is 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 an impressively large 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 notoriously 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".
This is a very good copy, free of some of the typical faults. The oversize binding is square, clean, bright, and tight, with the original leather spine label intact and only trivial wear to extremities. The chief defect that leads us to rate this copy as only "very good" is spotting to the otherwise clean quarter linen spine. The contents are exceptional for the edition. There is no sign of the gutterbreaks endemic to this edition and we find no previous ownership marks. The sole reportable defect is spotting confined to a single page, the blank front free endpaper recto. Please anticipate the possibility of increased shipping costs for this oversize book.
Reference: Cohen A133, Woods D(a)5, Langworth p.243. Item #005881