Virginia: Trustees of Colonial Williamsburg, 1957. First edition. Hardcover. This is a striking archive of publications and documents commemorating the presentation of the first Williamsburg Award to Winston Churchill at Drapers' Hall, London, on 7 December 1955.
This archive includes two publications of the Proceedings of the Presentation. One, the commonly seen trade edition, features gray paper-covered boards. The other, bound in full black Morocco leather with all gilt edges, is one of only 36 copies thus. Both volumes contain identical content, which includes an explanation of the award, the Award presentation speech, and Churchill’s response (at pages 19-21), followed by a number of Appendices. The contents are profusely illustrated, including numerous images of Churchill. The trade edition is in near fine condition. The black Morocco issue is very good, with superficial scuffing to the hinges and extremities.
Also included is the actual program given to attendees of the event. This program is bound in beautiful, mould-made white card wraps adorned with an elaborate gilt crest of Colonial Williamsburg and purple ribbon on the front cover. The program contents include an explanation of the award, the menu and toasts, and the list of guests. Condition of the program approaches very good plus, marred only by some soiling, chiefly to the blank rear cover.
A typed, signed letter dated “May 22, 1957” on the elaborate stationery of the “Office of the President” of Colonial Williamsburg is addressed to “The Honourable Lewis W. Douglas” and signed by Kenneth Chorley. The letter reads, in part: “Believing that you might like to have a memento of the occasion it gives me great pleasure to send you the enclosed copy of the “Proceedings of the Presentation”. There are only 36 copies bound in Morocco leather, of which this is one.” The letter is date-stamped “MAY 24 1957” – ostensibly when it was received – and is accompanied by the original “Colonial Williamsburg” envelope.
A final document is a printed presentation card measuring 4.3125 x 3.125 inches (10.95 x 7.94 cm). The card reads “The Trustees of Colonial Williamsburg take pleasure in sending you the Proceedings of the Presentation of the Williamsburg Award to the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston S. Churchill at Drapers’ Hall, London, December 7, 1955.”
Kenneth Chorley (1893-1974), who emigrated from England at the age of seven, was a leader of many preservation, conservation, education, historical, museum and religious organizations. (NYT, 22 March 1974) Most notably, Chorley successfully steered John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s multimillion-dollar campaign to restore Colonial Williamsburg and served as President of Colonial Williamsburg from 1935 to 1958. Chorley was “the intense, determined and sometimes charming spur who prodded the army of architects, builders, historians and archaeologists needed to give that vision historically convincing physical form.” (Daily Press, 17 October 2017)
Lewis William Douglas (1894-1974), who attended the ceremony and received this finely bound Proceedings of the Presentation, was an American politician, diplomat, businessman, and academic. Douglas was a First World War veteran who served as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Director of the Bureau of the Budget under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and U.S. Ambassador to Britain under President Harry S. Truman.
Just eight months before Churchill received The Williamsburg Award memorialized in this archive, he had finally and irrevocably relinquished the reins of power when he resigned his second and final premiership on 5 April 1955 at the age of 80. Having turned 81 just days before receiving the Award, Churchill was entering the final decade of his life, which he would spend as “a living national memorial" of the time he had lived and the Nation, Empire, and free world he had served.
Bibliographic reference (For the Proceedings publications): Zoller A187. Item #006951