Rare Book of the Month: Churchill’s The World Crisis

Image of World Crisis Set spinesGraham Library has a significant collection of textual materials by and about Churchill, including a number of important first editions, as well as a trove of memorabilia. The bulk of our Churchill collection came from the personal collection of the late F. Bartlett Watt through assistance by Lucienne Watt, Fred and Anne Stinson, and members of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy (Toronto).

We recently received some additional gems to add to the Churchill collection from a private donor, including this set of The World Crisis. This book might not appear that notable from the cover, but the provenance history makes it more interesting. While signed items by Churchill are not that uncommon, the copy has both his signature on the front fly-leaf, and contains a letter from Donald Fergusson, private secretary to Churchill while the latter was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1924-1929. As seen in the letter embossed with the coat-of-arms of the office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Fergusson writes to Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King on November 16th, 1926 that Churchill requested the return of the signed volumes to King and that he hopes to send a copy of the third volume when published.

Letter from Fergusson to King. Select image to view larger size.


The date of this exchange occurred not long after a number of tumultuous events in King’s career, including the King-Byng Affair, or Constitutional Crisis of 1926.

Letter from Fergusson to King, next to flyleaf with Churchill’s signature. Select image to view larger size.



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