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Literary, 1924 - 1965

Reference Code: GBR/0014/CHUR 4

Scope and Contents

This class contains the same type of material as CHAR 8 and is arranged in two parts. The first contains correspondence and the second book-matter. There is a third supplementary section starting at CHAR 4/445 containing correspondence, mainly on proposed films or abridgements of WSC's works, and permissions to quote WSC.The correspondence in this class is largely of the same kind as in CHAR 8. It includes also papers relating to the establishment of the Chartwell Literary Trust, though a few further references to the Trust may be found among the family papers in "Personal" (CHAR 1). The files have with a few exceptions been listed in chronological order; the papers within most of the files are however arranged alphabetically. The above dates (1924-1965) apply to the period when the material was generated or accumulated by WSC; a small number of original older items may also appear in a small number of files.The book-matter is arranged thus: various articles, followed by "The Second World War", and finally, "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples".The basic arrangement of "The Second World War" is by chapters, largely following the arrangement in which it stood. For purpose of description in this list the Cassell's edition has been used, and since chapter titles were occasionally changed in the course of preparation the titles in the descriptions may differ from those found inside the bundles. Since the arrangement of chapters also varied at different stages the present arrangement of papers in chapters is in some cases only an approximation to the final arrangement of the book, and some chapters which did not survive in any complete form have had to be listed separately. Volume 2 Book 2 was formerly Volume 1 Book 3. Volume 1 papers before arrangement consisted partly of a mixture of copy, early proofs, and notes, all of which have been sorted into chapters, and partly of sets of later proofs, some of which are 'Returned Empties'. This description applies properly to printer's copy, whether first copy or corrected proofs, which has been transferred to new proofs. In the remaining five volumes the bulk of the papers were found to be arranged by chapters, and the chapter files, though containing various kinds of copy, proofs, notes, comments, and source-material, are frequently described on their covers as 'Returned Empties'. In all volumes the chapters (and appendices) are followed by sets of proofs at various stages, in most cases covering whole Books or whole Volumes. Some of these are sets sent for commentary by various persons. They are followed by notes, source-material, corrections, etc., but in the later volumes more of this sort of material tends to be absorbed into the chapter arrangement. All the papers which could not be assigned to particular volumes, consisting largely of original source-material, have been placed together at the end of the group. Among the material destroyed as redundant were large quantities of the source-material known generically as 'Gleans'. These are printed copies of original documents in the CHAR PREMIER groups which were selected for possible inclusion in the work or for background reading. Many 'gleans' survive in the chapter files. The same principles have been used in the removal of original material from the papers of "The Second World War" as were used in CHAR 8.The relationships of the various texts of "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples" are far from straightforward. Work had been brought to an end in 1939 and re-stated in 1946 but it is not easy to see what was accomplished at the latter time. All this early material is therefore described comprehensively as 'pre-war'. When work was re-started again in 1953 a complete set of corrected pre-war proofs was sent for re-setting. After Volumes 1 and 2 had been re-set a later set of pre-war proofs, thereafter entitled the 'New Discovery', was found, and this superseded the earlier work. This 'New Discovery' text, which was re-set and dated November 1954, became the basis of the final version. The relationship of the 'New Discovery' to other pre-war proofs is not clear. Various pre-war proofs were brought forward, presumably in the investigations associated with the 'New Discovery', and these are similar to the proofs surviving among the papers of the Chartwell Trust. They have been arranged by Books and placed at the beginning of this group of documents, followed by the superseded proofs. There is a further set of proofs, in which Book 1 is described as Second Revise, bearing (apart from the Prologue) a series of pencilled numbers which appears printed in the 'New Discovery'. Manuscript corrections on this set are, however, repeated in manuscript on the 'New Discovery', which is also described as Second Revise in Book 1, so that the 'New Discovery' cannot have been printed directly from this set as it stands today. This set, for lack of a better description, has been described as 'pre-war main revise' in the list, and has been arranged by Volumes. The 'New Discovery' proofs sent for printing in November 1954 survive only for Book 1 (incomplete), where they have been placed with the post-war revises, and for some chapters of the present Book 10, where they are filed as 'first post-war revises'. There is, however, a spare set of 'New Discovery' proofs and these have been arranged by Volumes in the same way as the 'main revise'. It should be noted that the work was for some time intended to contain only ten Books, later eleven, and finally twelve. Consequently part of the Book originally numbered 9, dealing with Great Britain in the nineteenth century, became finally Book 10, and the former Book 10, dealing with the United States in the nineteenth century became Book 11. Book 12, dealing with the late nineteenth century, was a late addition. The present arrangement and description correspond as far as possible with the published version, though as a result of the changes described above and others made in the course of the work the correspondence cannot be exact. Volumes 3 and 4 formed originally a single volume 3 and for this reason the 'pre-war main revise' and the 'New Discovery' could not be divided to correspond with the later arrangements.From November 1954 the various chapters underwent a number of revises and all these post-war revises have been arranged by Books. Copies corrected in manuscript have not survived for all these stages.For the book-material those responsible for annotations, i.e. WSC's literary assistants, secretaries, etc., have been identified where possible.Originally the material for various sets of proofs was contained in manila files. For conservation reasons, papers have now often been taken out of these, and the empty files placed at the beginning of the particular set of proofs.


  • Creation: 1924 - 1965

Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

The Churchill Papers are made available to researchers using Churchill Archives Centre and worldwide in digital format. The digital edition of the Churchill Papers is published by Bloomsbury Academic and is available online to subscribing institutions at The Churchill archive is freely available in our reading rooms and onsite at Churchill College (via the Churchill College wireless network). Researchers can download images of documents directly from and so are encouraged to consider bringing a laptop or other device for this purpose. For conservation reasons, the fragile originals are no longer issued to researchers.

This digital edition is open to researchers unless otherwise marked in the catalogue. Some material has been closed by the Cabinet Office or by Churchill Archives Centre in accordance with data protection legislation.

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Churchill Archives Centre also holds the papers of some of Churchill's literary assistants including William Deakin and Denis Kelly and there are finding aids available to these collections on the Janus webserver. There are also a number of dictated Soundscriber recordings made by Churchill when drafting the first volume of "The Second World War", in the Chartwell Manuscripts collection, in part 6 of the Grace Hamblin section.

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087