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 vast expanse of cloth covers scuffs and soils, the leather spine labels faded and cracked, and the contents are 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 and minor, superficial scuffing to the lower rear cover. The binding is far better than typical. The contents are exceptional for the edition, bright with only an occasional, barely noticeable hint of spotting. The sole previous ownership mark is an illustrated bookplate featuring a Chaucer quote affixed to the front pastedown. We note offsetting to the same pastedown and facing front free endpaper recto from a slip of paper previously laid in. Gutter breaks are endemic to this edition. This copy is no exception; both the front and rear endpaper gutters show cracking, though the splitting of the endpapers appears largely cosmetic, the binding still firmly attached to the text block. Please anticipate the possibility of increased shipping costs for this oversize book.
Reference: Cohen A133, Woods D(a)5, Langworth p.243. Item #006664