9 East 40th Street, New York: TIME, Incorporated, 1923. First edition. Periodical. This is a complete collection of each of Winston S. Churchill's seven appearances on the cover of TIME Magazine, spanning 14 April 1923 to 5 November 1951, including the scarce 1923 and 1925 issues. In the 1920s, TIME was a new publication with small circulation, having published its first issue on 3 March 1923, just over a month before Churchill’s first cover appearance. The complete collection of TIME issues featuring Churchill highlights nearly three decades of the incredible arc of his singular political life, the major events he faced, and the world he shaped.
Churchill’s appearance on the 14 April 1923 issue was prompted by publication of the first volume of his history of the First World War, in which he had famously served as First Lord of the Admiralty until he was scapegoated for the Dardanelles Disaster and forced from the Cabinet in mid-1915. 1923 was one of the few years in a 64-year span that Churchill was not serving in Parliament, having lost his seat in the electoral rout of his Liberal Party in 1922. The review begins “Now on the outside of politics, Winston Churchill gives full vent to his literary genius.”
By the time Churchill appeared on the cover of the 11 May 1925 issue, he had returned to Parliament, to the Conservative Party, and to the Cabinet as the powerful Chancellor of the Exchequer. The article on pages 7-8 of the 11 May 1925 issue discusses Churchill "battling for his maiden budget" and championing Britain's return to the gold standard, which was restored in April 1925, earning Churchill the voluble opposition of dissenters such as John Maynard Keynes.
The 4 September 1939 issue was published on the day after Churchill returned to the Cabinet at the outbreak of the Second World War, reprising his First World War role as First Lord of the Admiralty.
The 30 September 1940 issue featured Churchill less than five months into his fraught first year as wartime Prime Minister which saw, among other near-calamities, the Battle of the Atlantic, the fall of France, evacuation at Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, and the very real threat of German invasion of England. Weeks before this issue was published, the Luftwaffe commenced the Blitz.
The 6 January 1941 issue announced Churchill as TIME’s “Man of the Year” above the caption “Blood, toil, tears, sweat – and untold courage.” The “Foreign News” piece on Churchill celebrates Churchill’s 1940 defiance of “the small men of Britain” and quotes the famous peroration of his 18 June 1940 “Finest Hour” speech.
When Churchill again appeared on TIME’s cover, for the 2 January 1950 issue, it was as “MAN OF THE HALF-CENTURY”. In the context of “Shock after shock” in the first half of the century that “threw civilization into confusion”, Churchill is presented thus: “…his chief contribution was to warn of rocks ahead, and to lead the rescue parties… That a free world survived in 1950, with a hope of more progress and less calamity, was due in large measure to his exertions.”
Churchill’s final cover appearance is the 5 November 1951 issue. Days earlier, on 26 October Churchill had returned to 10 Downing Street for his second and final premiership. His cover image, clearly showing the weight of years and experience, features his famous “V” symbol in the background and is captioned “PRIME MINISTER CHURCHILL Another opportunity for greatness.”
All seven issues are in respectable condition, all suitable for display of the Churchill covers. The two rarities – the 1923 and 1925 issues – are fully intact, both with a faint vertical crease, the 1923 issue with a tiny chip to the lower spine. The five 1939, 1940, 1941, 1950, and 1951 issues all remain bright with only modest edge wear. The 1939 issue is impressively clean, but the covers are loose from the original binding staples. The 1941 issue is soiled along the red fore edge margin, with a discrete “2” in pencil on the upper front cover, and an address label at the lower right. The 1951 issue has an address label at the lower left. Item #006528