Hillsdale College Acquires Cohen Churchill Recordings Collection

Hillsdale College Acquires Cohen Churchill Recordings Collection

Hills­dale Col­lege has acquired the world’s most com­pre­hen­sive col­lec­tion of Churchill record­ings. Many are very rare because they reach back over a cen­tu­ry.

The col­lec­tion was gen­er­ous­ly donat­ed by col­lec­tor and bib­li­og­ra­ph­er Ronald I. Cohen of Ottawa, Ontario. Among the 300 record­ings are 100 speech­es and 24 read­ings from Churchill’s war mem­oirs.

Hills­dale Col­lege has a long-stand­ing com­mit­ment to lead­er­ship stud­ies through The Churchill Project. We encour­age schol­ar­ship in, and com­ple­tion of, the remain­ing vol­umes of The Churchill Doc­u­ments, a series in Churchill’s offi­cial biog­ra­phy. The final vol­ume 23 arrives in 2019, and so com­pletes a 31-vol­ume epic Ran­dolph Churchill began in 1962.

The Recordings

Ronald Cohen wrote the Bib­li­og­ra­phy of the Writ­ings of Sir Win­ston Churchill and found­ed the Churchill Soci­ety of Ottawa.“In forty years of col­lect­ing and bib­li­o­graph­i­cal research, I have encoun­tered no com­pa­ra­ble audio col­lec­tion,” he says,  “The record­ings rep­re­sent the truest source of what he said because they are his actu­al voice, not a print­ed record. Here are the inspir­ing words that drew peo­ple to the wire­less and gave them the courage to fight on.”

We are excit­ed to acquire these record­ings because Churchill is one of the great mod­ern mas­ters of ora­to­ry. His career is an invalu­able study in states­man­ship.  The record­ings range across a vari­ety of medi­ums, from CDs and tapes to 33, 45, 78, and 80 rpm records. Few have the equip­ment to play them all. So Hills­dale Col­lege is now con­vert­ing the record­ings to dig­i­tal for­mat. The object is web-based access to stu­dents, schol­ars, and researchers.

Highlights of the collection:

recordings
“Speech on the Bud­get,” 1909: the first of Churchill’s record­ings, made at 80 rpm.

The ear­li­est Churchill record­ing known. This 1909 speech defend­ed the Lib­er­al bud­get, and so antic­i­pat­ed the 1910 gen­er­al elec­tion. Because 78 rpm record­ings did not appear until 1925, its speed is 80 rpm.

The Progress of the War. Four rare cased record­ings of Churchillʼs 1940 and 1941 broad­casts.

The Wal­dorf Asto­ria speech, 15 March 1946. This fol­lowed the “Iron Cur­tain” speech at Ful­ton. It is elab­o­rate­ly cased and bound.

The Pil­grims Soci­ety Din­ner for Eleanor Roo­sevelt, Savoy Hotel, Lon­don, 12 April 1948. Churchill spoke on the third anniver­sary of Roosevelt’s death.

The 20th Cen­tu­ry: Its Promise and its Real­iza­tion. Churchill at the “Mid-Cen­tu­ry” con­fer­ence, M.I.T., 31 March 1949, a cru­cial but lit­tle-known ora­tion because it pre­dict­ed much of what lay ahead.kk

The Path of Duty. After becom­ing Prime Min­is­ter for the sec­ond time, Churchill spoke at the Guild­hall, Lon­don, 9 Novem­ber 1951 and laid out his program.j

The Years of Cri­sis (1933-1945): Colum­bia col­lect­ed Churchill’s war speech­es, includ­ing his response to Roo­sevelt in 1941: “Give us the tools and we will fin­ish the job.”

Wartime Speech­es of Win­ston S. Churchill 1940-1945. Cased edi­tion from the Library of Impe­r­i­al His­to­ry, a rare item unheard of until its acqui­si­tion.

More to Come: The End of the Beginning

recordings
A rare WW2 com­mer­cial record­ing with Churchill on one side and Roo­sevelt on the oth­er.

The Churchill Project serves to prop­a­gate a right under­stand­ing of Churchill’s record and his con­tri­bu­tions to state­craft. We seek to pro­mote Churchill schol­ar­ship through nation­al con­fer­ences, schol­ar­ships, and oth­er resources. Our resources were recent­ly com­ple­ment­ed by the Papers of Sir Mar­tin Gilbert.

Ron Cohen and I often worked togeth­er over the years. It is a proud thing to see him bring this amaz­ing col­lec­tion to Hills­dale. The col­lab­o­ra­tion hap­pi­ly includes Ron him­self, since no one can bet­ter dis­cuss the sub­ject. And no one else knows how some of them turned up, in odd cor­ners of the world. For more details on the col­lec­tion, please see his record­ings bib­li­og­ra­phy.

But more and big­ger news is still to come. Stand by!

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