The American novelist Winston Churchill, a distant relation, was so prominent around the turn of the century that Winston Spencer Churchill introduced himself and promised to use his middle name to distinguish himself from the better-known American. The amusing correspondence between them (“Mr. Winston Churchill to Mr. Winston Churchill”) appears in English Winston’s autobiography, My Early Life. American Winston was a minor politician who once held a seat in the New Hampshire legislature, which caused English Winston, who “proposed to become Prime Minister,” to suggest the droll possibility of American Winston becoming President of the United States at the same time. But American Winston rose no higher, losing a bid for Congress on the Bull Moose ticket in 1912.
The two first met in Boston during English Winston’s lecture tour in 1900, where the American threw a dinner party for him. Great camaraderie prevailed and both agreed there would be no more confusion–but English Winston got the dinner bill and American Winston got the Englishman’s mail! Later they grew apart, possibly because American Winston was a prominent friend of fellow-Progressive Theodore Roosevelt. (TR ardently disliked English Winston, “I think,” said his daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth, “because they were so much alike!”) TR often visited Churchill and others gathered around Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the literary colony in Plainfield, New Hampshire.
Between 1900 and 1917, when he stopped writing novels, the American Winston Churchill published numerous best selling novels including Richard Carvel, The Crisis, The Inside of the Cup, A Modern Chronicle, A Far Country, The Crossing, Coniston, The Title-Mart, The Celebrity, The Dwelling Place of Light, Mr. Crewe’s Career, Mr. Keegan’s Elopement, and a single non-fiction work, A Traveler in Wartime. His books are generally in good supply and do not command high prices, except for the occasional fine first edition.
Winston Spencer Churchill the Englishman published only one book-length work of fiction, Savrola.
American Winston began by writing historical fiction, evolved through themes of American Progressives, and ended on a religious note with The Faith of Frances Craniford (1917) and, after a long hiatus, his final book, The Uncharted Way: The Psychology of the Gospel Doctrine (1940). Most of his titles are still readily available at low prices.
Winston Churchill lived most of his life in Cornish, New Hampshire, where he is buried. He died in 1947.