Item #006940 The publisher's original mockup for the U.S. first edition of Amid These Storms. Winston S. Churchill.
The publisher's original mockup for the U.S. first edition of Amid These Storms
The publisher's original mockup for the U.S. first edition of Amid These Storms
The publisher's original mockup for the U.S. first edition of Amid These Storms

The publisher's original mockup for the U.S. first edition of Amid These Storms

London & New York: Thornton Butterworth Limited / Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932. Paperback. This item comes to us from the personal collection of Churchill's bibliographer, Ronald I. Cohen. This compelling physical artifact is the publisher’s original mockup of the U.S. first edition of Amid These Storms, prepared in haste in November 1932 from proofs of its British counterpart, Thoughts and Adventures. This is not to be confused with a conventional advance review or proof copy, but rather appears to be the first, rough, working reference prepared for the American publisher and printer.

Scribner prepared the U.S. edition with such speed that they “referred to their achievement as a ‘record breaking job’”. The British first edition was published on 10 November 1932. The U.S. first edition followed only 15 days later, on 25 November 1932.

We can speculate that this mockup was created swiftly on or after 4 November 1932. On 10 October, Scribner still lacked “page-proof” of three chapters and the introduction. “Finally, proofs of the Butterworth edition were forwarded to Scribner, who acknowledged their arrival on 4 November” and “worked very quickly from that point… sending off an advance copy of the book to Churchill on 17 November…” (Cohen, Vol. I, A95.2, p.389)

Ostensibly, the first thing Scribner did with the full set of British proofs was prepare this mockup. The significant thickness of the text block – nearly two inches - owes to the fact that this mockup was printed with blank versos and facing rectos in each gathering, resulting in significantly more leaves than necessitated by the 320 numbered pages. The binding is plain brown wraps. On the front cover, in pencil, is written “Mr. Wilson”. Below, in three lines inked in a different hand, is written “Publication Date - | November 25 | Price $3.50”. The mockup of the U.S. first edition title page is hand-written onto a blank sheet pasted over and obscuring the British title page. In seven lines, this hand-written title page mockup reads: “AMID THESE STORMS | Thoughts and Adventures | by | The Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill, | C.H., M.P. | Charles Scribner’s Sons | New York”. The only other mark noted in the volume is that of a previous owner - the small, printed bookplate of “James B. Meriwether | Columbia South Carolina” affixed to the front cover verso. James B. Meriwether (1928-2007) was a noted Faulkner scholar who long held the McClintock Chair in Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina.

Condition is good plus overall. The brown wraps spine is chipped at the ends and the front cover is detached. The binding is otherwise complete, albeit a bit soiled, stained with wear to extremities. This was a working copy and looks the part. The text block is square, tight, and clean, the page edges mildly age-toned, the top edge showing some stains and soiling. The binding is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival mylar cover.

Churchill's collection of 23 engaging essays on an incredibly wide variety of subjects has been called "The broadest range of Churchill's thought between hard covers". In a 31 May 1932 letter to his publisher about the book, Churchill characterized his book thus: "...although there is no one single theme, it has some of the best things in it I have ever written."

As for the difference in respective British and U.S. titles, in a 1 June 1932 cable to Scribner, Churchill himself proposed the title for the American edition: “WHAT ABOUT TITLE AMID THESE STORMS”. Two days later, Scribner cabled his approval. Nonetheless, there was ongoing concern that “the title would seem to imply that the book deals with these present depressing days…” Nonetheless, Scribner did not like Thoughts and Adventures, which he regarded as “rather weak and commonplace” and serving to underscore “the miscellaneous character of the contents.” In the end, Scribner settled: “I still believe that ‘Amid These storms”’, with ‘Thoughts and Adventures’ as a subtitle, is best choice, provided you have no definite objection.” (Scribner to Churchill, 26 August 1932). Item #006940

Price: $7,750.00

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