Stamford Connecticut: The Overbrook Press, 1943. Limited Edition. Hardcover. This handsome and scarce limited edition of Churchill's 19 May 1943 address to the U.S. Congress was produced for Members of Congress by Frank Altschul’s Overbrook Press. This was Churchill's second address to Congress, seventeen long months of war having passed in the interval since his first, just after Pearl Harbor. Churchill's address came days after the Allies' critical victory in North Africa. Condition is very good minus. The black paper-covered boards are only lightly scuffed and blemished. The red front cover label remains bright, clean, and fully intact. The contents show almost no spotting and no previous ownership marks. We note customary transfer browning to the endsheets from the pastedown glue. A faint, unobtrusive moisture stain affects a maximum area of roughly 3 inches wide by .75 inches deep of the upper left margins through p.12. Light spotting appears confined to the inner blank margins at p.12-13
Churchill departed for the United States aboard the Queen Mary on 6 May. From the 11th on, Churchill was with Roosevelt in Washington and at "Shangri-La", the President's Allegheny mountains retreat, discussing, debating, and planning the course of the war. Nonetheless, Churchill took considerable time to prepare his address to Congress. Biographer Sir Martin Gilbert tells us that "Churchill spent most of May 18 preparing the speech for the United States Congress. Beginning that morning at 9:30, he dictated until 4:30 in the afternoon" with “further dictation from midnight until 2:30 in the morning: a total of nine and a half hours dictation." (Gilbert, Volume VII, pages 408-409)
Churchill's task was to continue to reinforce common cause, unified strategy, and mutual resolve. "I do not intend to be responsible for any suggestion that the war is won or will soon be over." Churchill cautioned, invoking, for his American audience, the grim memory of the prolonged outcome of the U.S. Civil War. "No one after Gettysburg doubted which way the dread balance of war would incline. Yet far more blood was shed after the Union victory at Gettysburg than in all the fighting which went before." Churchill concluded: "By singleness of purpose, by steadfastness of conduct, by tenacity and endurance, such as we have so far displayed, by these, and only by these, can we discharge our duty to the future of the world and to the destiny of man."
This beautiful limited edition of Churchill's 19 May 1943 address to Congress was limited to 600 copies, published in September 1943. The Overbrook Press had previously issued a limited edition of 1000 copies of Churchill's first address to Congress (26 December 1941). This edition of Churchill's second address to Congress is both scarcer and more elaborate. The binding is black paper-covered boards with a deep red inset label on the front cover stamped in gilt. The binding measures a substantial 10.5 x 7.5 inches (26.7 x 19.1 cm). The contents are in large type printed in red and black on heavy stock. The two-page Colophon Note also includes excerpts from Churchill's 8 June 1943 address to the House of Commons upon his return from Washington. This is the first volume appearance of that speech. The colophon states: "For the members of the Congress, facing vast new responsibilities, the speech of the Prime Minister is now reprinted at the Overbrook Press in Stamford, Connecticut / Six hundred copies - September, 1943".
A successful financier, Frank Altschul (1887-1981) had a keen interest in books, public affairs, and philanthropy. Altschul improbably established Overbrook Press in an abandoned pigpen on his 450-acre Connecticut estate. From such humble origins, Overbrook Press specialized in exquisitely printed and illustrated limited edition books for collectors, with a reputation among bibliophiles for fine typography and careful bookmaking.
Reference: Cohen A181.4, Woods A93(b). Item #007414