Monday, April 20, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 20, 2009

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

On October 5, 1929, Churchill, his brother, Jack, and their sons, Randolph and Johnny, left Chicago by overnight train for New York.

While in New York they stayed at the Plaza Hotel (yes, the Neil Simon “Plaza Suite” hotel). A few days after their arrival Randolph and Johnny sailed for England and their schools.

Winston and Jack did not leave New York until October 30. Thus, Churchill was in New York when the Great Crash occurred.

In a moment Martin Gilbert will recount some of what Churchill did between October 6 and October 24, the date generally agreed to be the one on which the Great Crash began.

Now Gilbert:

[For some days Churchill worked ] on the many articles he was committed to write for newspapers and magazines in both Britain and the United States. He had contracted to write twenty-two magazine articles. “all involving heavy work on return,” he telegraphed to Clementine.

The work was indeed to be heavy, but his remuneration made him the highest-paid journalist of the day in either Britain or the United States, for these twenty-two articles were to earn him an astonishing 40,000 pounds.
In a footnote Gilbert reports Churchill earned for the twenty-two articles the equivalent in 2005 dollars of $3 million which he calculates as almost $160,000 per article.

Churchill also found time to visit Washington where he was invited to the White House and met President Herbert Hoover. Churchill also toured Civil War battlefields in Northern Virginia.

Tomorrow, we’ll read some of Churchill’s eyewitness account of New York at the time of the Crash.
Martin Gilbert,
Churchill and America. (pgs. 119- 123)