Item #007321 A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes. Winston S. Churchill.
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the printer's specially bound presentation set of the U.S. first edition, complete in four volumes

New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1956. First U.S. edition, printer's special presentation binding. Full leather. This magnificent set is the printer’s special presentation binding of the U.S. first edition of Churchill's sweeping history and last great work. This one of only two such set we have encountered, and is unrecorded by Churchill’s bibliographers.

The work was issued in four volumes between 1956 and 1958. This U.S. first edition was printed by Kingsport Press for the U.S. Publisher, Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc. There were publisher presentation sets of the first edition, so noted on the copyright pages, but such sets were not specially bound.

This set is simply magnificent in both the quality and aesthetic effect of the full navy Morocco goatskin bindings. The bindings feature gilt print and gilt and red decoration on the spines and front covers, a gilt lion rampant within a gilt-framed red shield on each front cover. The first printing contents feature gilt top edges and are bound with red and gold silk head and tail bands, navy silk ribbon markers, and pale blue endpapers framed by double gilt rule turn-ins. The bottom turn-in of each rear pastedown features the gilt-stamped signature “BOUND BY KINGSPORT PRESS”. Each volume is housed in an undecorated, heavy card slipcase covered in the same pale blue paper as the endpapers.

Condition of the set is better than near fine, the contents immaculate, the lovely bindings bright and clean with only trivial scuffs and blemishes. The original slipcases are clean and fully intact with little wear, though the blue paper in which they are covered has grayed. More pronounced toning to the slipcase spines explains the splendid condition of the books; we infer that the books were conscientiously long-stored with the book spines facing protectively in on the shelf, allowing the slipcase spines to absorb any sun exposure.

This sole previous ownership artefact in this set is the small, printed bookplate of “Harold H. Horton” affixed to the blank recto of the leaf preceding the half title in each volume. The identity of Horton is unknown to us, but we can speculate that he was well-regarded by senior staff at Kingsport Press; we have also encountered a specially bound presentation set of Churchill’s The Second World War (also printed by Kingsport) gifted to Mr. Horton in 1954 by Kingsport Press Vice President “Mr. C. Wilhelm”. That set was one of just seven, the others distributed to Churchill himself (2 sets), the Presidents of Houghton Mifflin and the Book-of-the-Month Club, the Rutgers University Library, and Mr. Wilhelm.

Established in 1922, for more than half a century Kingsport Press was a powerful Tennessee-based presence in the publishing world. Founded by bankers who had financed the Clinchfield Railway and the Kingsport town site, Kingsport Press became “an integral component in fulfilling the interlocking concept of industry upon which Kingsport’s founders created the planned industrial community” and “served as a catalyst for the development and expansion of related industries such as Mead Paper Company.” Printing major works by someone with Churchill’s global stature in the 1950s would have been not only a commercial coup, but also a matter of reputational prestige – which may help explain why the printer undertook this special binding.

Churchill's four volume epic, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, was published between 1956 and 1958, after the author finished his second and final premiership and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The work traces a great historical arc from Roman Britain through the end of the Nineteenth Century, ending with the death of Queen Victoria. The work itself was two decades in the making. The Churchillian conceptions that underpinned it were lifelong. The cultural commonality and vitality of English-speaking peoples animated Churchill throughout his life, from his Victorian youth in an ascendant British Empire to his twilight in the midst of the American century.

Reference: Cohen A267.3, Woods/ICS A138(ab), Langworth p.318. Item #007321

Price: $4,500.00

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