The Second World War, with tipped-in note by Winston Churchill, First Editions, Six Volume Set, 1948-1954

Churchill, Winston, The Second World War. London, 1948-1954: Cassell & Co. Ltd. First editions, 6 vols. Bound by in full navy Moroccan leather with raised bands, gilt titles, and tooling to spines. Tipped in signed and inscribed thank you note from Winston Churchill.

Presented is a first edition set of The Second World War from 1948-1954. This is Winston S. Churchill’s complete six-volume classic history of the Second World War and includes: “The Gathering Storm,” “Their Finest Hour,” “The Grand Alliance,” “The Hinge of Fate,” “Closing the Ring,” and “Triumph and Tragedy.” The books were published by Cassell & Co. Ltd. out of Great Britain and are presented bound in matching navy Moroccan leather with gilt titles and spines.

The Second World War is a definitive history of the period from the end of World War I to July 1945. The book was largely responsible for Churchill being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. Churchill wrote the book, with a team of assistants, using both his own notes and privileged access to official documents while still working as a politician. The text was vetted by the Cabinet Secretary. Churchill was largely fair in his treatment, but wrote the history from his personal point of view.

As Max Beloff observed, there was no statesman of the twentieth century "whose retrospective accounts of the great events in which he has taken part have so dominated subsequent historical thinking". A man who had always primarily made his living by his pen, Churchill was the only major war leader to give an authoritative account of the conflict, and his ringing phrases seeped into the collective memory.

The moral of the work, as stated on one of the preceding pages, is as follows: “In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill.”

This highly collectible set is made even more desirable with the addition of a tipped-in thank you note, inscribed and signed by Winston Churchill. The note is tipped into Volume I. The note reads, “I am so much obliged to you for your very kind token of goodwill on my birthday.” Churchill signs the note at the bottom, “Winston S. Churchill”. Three accompanying typed letters, all addressed to Gertrude Lennox from Churchill’s various personal secretaries and dating from February 1950 to November 28, 1953, are also included.

The first typed letter, dated February 20, 1950, addresses Miss. Gerturde Lennox at “Bridge-of-Weir Camp, Renfrewshire.” Records indicate that a World War II civilian transit camp was located in Bridge of Weir, just north of Bridge of Weir railway station, and south of the River Gryfe. The purpose of the Bridge of Weir camp, together with another established at Neilston, Scotland was to accommodate some 6,000 civilian refugees, displaced and evacuated from Gibraltar at the start of World War II. The refugees had been moved from London in 1944, after the V1 flying bomb attacks began. Aerial photography from 1947 shows at least 50 huts with pitched roofs, arranged in streets around a large T-shaped building, which may have been a meeting or mess hall. It is possible Gertrude Lennox worked at the Bridge-of-Weir camp, even after the end of the War.


Very good condition. Six volumes. Octavo printing. Internally, paper is clean and without marks.

With tipped-in inscribed and signed thank-you note by Winston Churchill. Note consists of 4 lines, “I am so much obliged to you for your very kind token of goodwill on my birthday.” Signed at bottom of note “Winston S. Churchill”. On printed letterhead "10 Downing Street, Whitehall". No date. Paper is very healthy, inscription is clear. No marks. With three additional typed thank-you notes addressed to Mrs. Gertrude Lennox on behalf of Churchill (dated February 20, 1950, December 10, 1951, and November 28, 1953), signed by his secretaries Mary Shield, Jane Portal, and R.S. McHale. Two typed notes are on Prime Minister 10 Downing Street Whitehall letterhead, one typed on House of Commons letterhead.

Volumes are bound in full navy Moroccan leather, with raised bands, gilt tiles and decoration to spine, gilt tooled borders to front and back boards, and matching marbled end paper. Gilt to top edge. Presented in a custom matching navy cloth slipcase, with blue ribbon, gilt facsimile signature and portrait of Churchill on the cover.

Dimensions: 8 ⅞” H x 11 ¼” W x 6 ¼” D (in slipcase).

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