Contoocook, New Hampshire: Churchill Literary Foundation, 1994. Limited issue of the second edition. Full leather. The Dream is Churchill's revealing essay about a ghostly reunion with his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, in which Winston recounts world events that have transpired since his father's death - without revealing his own role in them. Here is a truly unique example of the most elusive and arguably most desirable version of this essay, signed by fourteen members of the Churchill family.
The Dream was first published in book form in a limited edition of 500 copies in 1987. A second, paperback, edition was issued in 1994. That 1994 second edition is comparatively unremarkable except for a "Commemorative Edition" specially bound in green leather with light green marbled endpapers and gilt page edges, with an extra sheet (comprising two leaves and four pages) inserted, including limitation information. The 75 copies of the Commmorative Edition were “bound in leather for the Churchill family, celebrating the 120th anniversary of Sir Winston’s birth at the Pinafore Room, Hotel Savoy, London on 30 November 1994.”
We have encountered some of these copies signed by a member or two of the Churchill family. This particular copy – hand-numbered “74” – is the only copy we’ve seen signed by fourteen members of the Churchill family. All fourteen signatures appear on the title page and the facing blank limitation page verso and include those of Mary Soames, Peregrine Churchill, Minnie S. Churchill, Nicholas Soames, Catherine Churchill, Charlotte Peel, Jeremy Soames, Julian Sandys, Edwina Sandys, Celia Sandys, Rupert Soames, Emma Soames, Randolph S. Churchill, and Winston S. Churchill (the prime minister’s namesake grandson). This book comes from the collection of British army veteran and noted Churchillian Major Alan Taylor-Smith (1928-2019) of Westerham, Kent, proximate to Churchill’s beloved country home, Chartwell.
Condition is good plus, sound and complete with modest superficial wear. The green leather binding is tight, clean, and unfaded with bright spine and front cover gilt, though scuffed at the spine and extremities and with a few faintly darkened spots likely from handling. The contents are tight and clean with no ownership marks, spotting, or soiling.
Winston Churchill's father, Lord Randolph, died in January 1895 at age 45 following the spectacular collapse of both his health and political career. His son Winston was 20 years old. Of course history and longevity would dramatically favor the son, but when Randolph died, Winston dwelt very much in his father's shadow, both emotionally and in terms of the political career to which he already aspired.
It is in this small, intimate piece of writing that we catch Churchill with that shadow on the eve of his 73rd birthday. According to Churchill, a "foggy afternoon in November 1947" found him in his "studio at the cottage down the hill at Chartwell" attempting to paint a copy of a damaged portrait of Lord Randolph when he turned around to find his father sitting in a red leather armchair, looking just as Churchill "had seen him in his prime." What ensued was a conversation about what had - and had not - changed since Randolph's time, ranging from trivialities and individual personalities to politics and the broad sweep of world affairs. Churchill, of course, never reveals his role in much of this history.
Churchill's summary observations and appraisals to his father make a worthwhile study in themselves. But these are perhaps overshadowed by the emotional overtones which psychologists and sentimentalists will doubtless continue to parse for years to come. His family called it "The Dream." Churchill titled it simply "Private Article." Though he was seldom stinting with his words or their publication, Churchill locked the essay in a box where it remained, willed to his wife. Churchill died on 24 January 1965 - the same day his father died seventy years before.
Reference: Cohen A288.3, Langworth p.358. Item #006385