London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1934. First edition, only printing. Paperback. This pamphlet publishes Churchill's tribute to his first cousin and "oldest and dearest friend" Charles Richard John, IXth Duke of Marlborough. The string-bound pamphlet in blue-grey card covers measures 7.25 x 5.25 inches (18.4 x 13.3 cm) and is 20 pages in length. Pages 5-11 contain Churchill's tribute and pages 12-18 that of C.C. Martindale (Jesuit author, scholar, and Oxford philosopher). This first edition, only printing is a near fine copy, clean and complete with sharp corners. We note only a hint of wear to the spine ends and a tiny blemish to the lower rear cover that shows also on the rear cover verso and facing verso (blank apart from the name of the printer at the foot of the page). The contents are otherwise clean and bright with neither spotting nor previous ownership marks.
Winston met his cousin, the future Duke of Marlborough, in late 1893, and wrote to his mother on 30 December 1893, “I am particularly glad to have made Sunny’s acquaintance”. They made good on this beginning. “Winston’s friendship with his cousin became a firm and lasting one, and it remained constant, despite family quarrels of the past and political differences, over the next forty years.” (R. Churchill, Vol. I, p.230)
Charles Richard John “Sunny”, Earl of Sunderland (1871-1934) became the 9th Duke of Marlborough in 1892. Similar to Winston, he served as both a soldier and a politician. In addition, he labored to restore – with the dowry of his first wife, a Vanderbilt – Blenheim Palace, originally built for the 1st Duke of Marlborough. In addition to being the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim is where Winston S. Churchill was born.
Winston and Sunny both served in the Boer War, where, after Winston’s famous capture and escape, Winston had the opportunity of “galloping over the veldt with his cousin and boon companion…” (ODNB) It was Sunny who supplied Winston with his first bachelor flat. And it was at Sunny’s Blenheim Palace that Winston proposed to his future wife – and was saved by the deft intercession of his cousin when Winston slept in, missing his own planned proposal. (Roberts, Walking with Destiny, p.123) Such was their relationship and Winston’s regard that when Sunny died in 1934, Churchill wrote and published this lengthy, gracious tribute to his first cousin, “his oldest and dearest friend”.
The Duke's nickname "Sunny", used by Churchill and all of the Duke's closest friends, "came from his title, Earl of Sunderland, the courtesy title of the eldest son of the Marquess of Blandford, whom he succeeded in 1892." Churchill's tribute was originally published in The Times on 2 July 1934 and subsequently in his Collected Essays, Volume III, pages 120-23.
Reference: Cohen A98, Woods B23. Item #007351