Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Churchill Center – Apr. 3, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Paraphrasing “From one small nut a mighty oak can grow,” we might call this post “From a few scribbles a great collection can grow.”

Courtesy of the Churchill Centre we read:

Donald Carmichael, of Buffalo, New York, has likewise broad interests. "My first 'collected' Churchill item is an autograph he sent me dated 1.12.27," Don says, "I was writing to Mr. Churchill for his autograph in connection with a school project, which required seeking the signature of a 'famous' person -- reminiscent of the idea expressed by James Boswell speaking to the elder Pitt: 'Honour me now and then with a letter . . . to correspond with a Paoli and with a Chatham is enough to keep a young man ever ardent in the pursuit of virtuous fame.'

At that time in the middle Twenties, when the project was initiated, I wrote first to Calvin Coolidge at the White House - and received a prompt and courteous reply from him. Without drawing any comparisons, it is interesting to note that the great J. Pierpont Morgan Collection was started when, in 1853, young Morgan wrote to President Millard Fillmore, seeking his autograph.

"As a result of this boyhood project and the fun, knowledge, and enthusiasm that flowed therefrom, I developed a substantial autograph collection of world leaders through direct correspondence. (One chain, lasting for five-plus years on such subjects as the "War Guilt," the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations, was with the ex-Kaiser, Wilhlem II, in exile at Doom!)

"A nice letter from Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt sparked the start of a major concentration. Around FDR, I have a large collection of books and memorabilia, including several letters to me and many inscribed books written by him; just about everything written about him in English; and 125 items under glass - photographs, caricatures and associated items, still, after 55 years, I continue to add to this regularly.

"I began also dealing with veteran autograph dealers: Thomas Madigan, Forrest Sweet and Mary Benjamin, focusing on the Presidents of the United States, all of whose autographs-in-office I have with the exception of William Henry Harrison.

"During the Thirties, I read Churchill in magazines, biographies, Great Contemporaries - the plant was coming to bud. About 1940 I began to buy Churchill first editions from a New York bookseller named In-man.

With my autograph collecting bent, I favored English first editions of his writings, inscribed at a date close to publication, and preferably for someone with whom Churchill was associated in a meaningful way. Later, in London, Sotheran's, Sawyer's and Sotheby's auction rooms helped me greatly.”
There’s more as they say. You can read it here.

Do any of you collect autographs? Or Churchilliana?


Louis said...

JiC you might find this Obit of Wendy Reves of interest.