Item #007237 The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card. Winston S. Churchill.
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card
The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card

The War Speeches, a full set of seven British first editions - Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning, Onwards to Victory, The Dawn of Liberation, Victory, and Secret Session Speeches, the final volume an author's presentation copy inscribed and dated by Churchill in 1947 and including a typed presentation letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery, the original envelope, and the author's printed "WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill" presentation card

London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1941-1946. First edition, first printings. Hardcover. This full, seven-volume set of British first edition, first printings of Winston Churchill’s Second World War speeches offers a vanishingly rare trifecta of virtues. First, the set as a whole is unequivocally the finest we have ever encountered. Second, the presentation volume therein – the seventh and final volume – is equally fine, magnificently well-preserved. Third, the presentation volume is not only signed by Churchill, but inscribed, dated, and accompanied by and signed presentation letter from Churchill, providing definitive and compelling provenance.

The presentation inscription, letter, envelopes, and cards

Secret Session Speeches is inscribed by Churchill in five lines on the half title: “To | Denny C. Stokes | from | Winston S. Churchill | Christmas 1947”. An accompanying typed letter signed by Churchill on his Hyde Park Gate stationery is dated “December 8, 1947” and reads: “Dear Mr. Stokes, | I have received the most handsome album THE | FIGHT FOR FREEOM which you have been good enough to send | me. I am very much obliged to you for this gesture of | goodwill, and for the all-too-kind remarks contained in your | letter. Thank you so much. | I am sending you a copy of my SECRET SESSION | SPEECHES, which I have signed for you, as an expression | of my pleasure in your gift.” The letter is signed by Churchill and accompanied by two original envelopes – one, in which the letter resides, featuring Stokes’s typed Ealing address but unfranked, consonant with its inclusion with the inscribed book. A second, slightly larger envelope (in which the first envelope now resides) features the printed House of Commons seal on the flap, is franked, and is hand-addressed to a different “Stokes” at the same address.

A further virtue of this inscribed presentation copy is inclusion of two quite rare original cards. Richard Langworth reports presentation copies of Secret Session Speeches “accompanied by a 2 1/4 x 3 3/4 in white card printed in black, 'WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF Winston S. Churchill' (name in script), surrounded by a light blue decorative border." Langworth also reports "a second card of the same size reading "The Reference to "American Authorities" in the Introduction refers to the United States Government and General Eisenhower" and surrounded by a thin light blue rule." (A Connoisseur’s Guide to the Books of Sir Winston Churchill, p.250) In addition to Churchill’s inscription, Churchill’s presentation letter, and the envelopes, this inscribed presentation copy features both presentation cards.

The recipient, Denny Stokes

The recipient of this inscribed book was Dennis “Denny” Crane Stokes (1900-1975). We know that Mr. Stokes resided for some time in Ealing, West London. While we do not know anything about the “most handsome album THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM” to which Churchill refers in his letter to Denny, we do know that Denny Stokes made bit of a name for himself building dioramas, predominantly historical and military in nature. Denny shared with Churchill a keen interest in history, in the minutiae of battle tactics, and in the use of miniatures to portray both.

Stokes and his dioramas were featured in a 1957 Pathé documentary film. (Pathé News was a UK producer of newsreels and documentaries from 1910 to 1970.) In the surviving video footage we can see several of Stokes’s dioramas and some of his compositional techniques. We also find correspondence with the Imperial War Museum about Stokes’s dioramas, including one of the landing of SS River Clyde at V Beach, Gallipoli, part of the First World War Dardanelles debacle for which Churchill was scapegoated and forced from the Cabinet. A more celebrated and salutary landing was also among Stokes’s later diorama subjects – one of the D-Day Normandy landings during Churchill’s Second World War premiership.

It appears that Stokes may have served at the end of the First World War with the Royal Scots Fusiliers and was wounded around the time the Allies breached the Hindenburg Line in September 1918 – another subject of Stokes’s known dioramas. Of note, Churchill served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers during the First World War. Certainly, it may be imagined that Stokes’s dioramas would have appealed to Churchill who, as a youth, arranged his own considerable collection of toy soldiers into elaborate battle scenes.

The accumulation of these notional connections may explain why Stokes received such a compellingly personalized letter and inscribed book from Churchill. Other books inscribed by Churchill at the time to those he did not know well typically featured a less personal inscription and were accompanied by a presentation letter from a secretary, rather than from Churchill himself.

Edition and condition

Few books are as emblematic of Churchill’s literary and leadership gifts as his war speeches volumes. Between 1941 and 1946, Churchill's war speeches were published in seven individual volumes. The British first editions are visually striking, but were printed on cheap wartime paper, bound in coarse cloth, and wrapped in bright, thin, fragile dust jackets. They proved highly susceptible to spotting, soiling, and fading, so the passage of time has been hard on most surviving first editions. A full, jacketed, bright, clean, and complete set of first printings is almost a chimera. Almost. This particular set is simply magnificent.

The inscribed copy is a jacketed copy of the British first edition, only printing, of the seventh and final volume of Churchill's war speeches, Secret Session Speeches. As the title implies, this slim volume contains five speeches Churchill made to the House of Commons sitting in Secret Session - those of 20 June and 17 September 1940, 25 June 1941, and 23 April and 10 December 1942. Condition is fine in a near fine dust jacket. The blue cloth binding is square, clean, tight, and unfaded, with sharp corners and bright gilt. The contents likewise are unusually bright with no spotting or previous ownership marks other than the author’s presentation inscription. The white dust jacket, so prone to spotting to soiling and spotting, is beautifully clean, bright, unclipped and complete, with only trivial wear and soiling to joints and extremities.

The first six volumes in the set accompanying the inscribed presentation volume are equally impressive examples, even if they lack their author’s signature. All six volumes feature truly fine volumes in near fine plus or better dust jackets. The blue cloth bindings are superlative – immaculately clean, bright, tight, and square with sharp corners, vivid spine gilt, and no appreciable wear. The first printing contents are likewise improbably clean. We find no previous ownership marks. Remarkably, we find no appreciable spotting, endemic to the “war economy standard” paper. Even the page edges are strikingly clean. Of note, Into Battle is not only first edition, but first state, denoted by the absence of pagination at pages 78 and 294, and is bound in the smoother, darker blue cloth we correlate exclusively to the first state. The Unrelenting Struggle is likewise first state, denoted by irregular pagination at page 281.

All seven first printing dust jackets are unclipped, retaining their original front flap prices and complete, with no appreciable loss. All seven jackets retain bright color, the vivid hues undimmed even on the jacket spines, rendering shelf presentation vividly compelling. None of the dust jackets show any color shift between the faces and spines. Wear and blemishes are truly trivial, substantially confined to joints and extremities. Even soiling is quite light, appreciable only on a few of the white rear panels.

The jackets are fitted with clear, removable, archival covers. All four volumes are housed together in a full, navy, Morocco goatskin case with dropback top and front, magnetic closure, ribbon pull tab, and silver title and author print.

Churchill’s war speeches

During his long public life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of note - Member of Parliament for more than half a century, soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, combative cold warrior, Nobel Prize winner, painter. But Churchill's preeminence as a historical figure owes most to his indispensable leadership during the Second World War, when his soaring and defiant oratory sustained his countrymen and inspired the free world. Of Churchill, Edward R. Murrow said: "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." When Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, it was partly “…for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”

Churchill's successor as Prime Minister and political opponent, Labor Party leader Clement Attlee, gave one of the most eloquent tributes to Churchill’s wartime oratory. On 16 August 1945, less than a month after his party defeated Churchill’s and Attlee took Churchill’s job at 10 Downing Street, Attlee praised Churchill in the House of Commons. "In the darkest and most dangerous hour of our history, this nation found... the man who expressed supremely the courage and determination never to yield which animated all the men and women of this country. In undying phrases he crystallized the unspoken feeling of all. ‘Words only,’ it might be said, but words at great moments of history are deeds."

Reference: Cohen A142.1.a, A172.1.a, A183.1.a, A194.1.a, A214.1.a, A223.1.b, A227.2.a; Woods/ICS A66(a.1), A89(a.1), A94(a.1), A101(a.1), A107(a.1), A112(ab), A114(b); Langworth pages 204, 213, 218, 223, 228, 234, 250. Item #007237

Price: $25,000.00

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