Monday, August 2, 2010

Bloomsbury Publishing to Bring Sir Winston Churchill Into Libraries, Schools and Homes

Bloomsbury Publishing has reached an agreement with the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust and Churchill Heritage Ltd to digitise and publish in electronic form the one million page archive of the Papers of Sir Winston Churchill.

In 2012, Bloomsbury will publish the entire archive in digital format for libraries and individuals. Scholars, casual readers and school children will all be able to access the largest and most important collection of primary source material of any individual leader of the 20th century.

Sir Winston Churchill has become an icon: a global symbol for strong leadership and the defence of freedom against totalitarianism. He remains one of the most quoted and misquoted figures of the modern era. This collection is replete with hand-written notes and private letters, revealing the human side to the man who is recognised to have saved the nation. Doubts and demons sit alongside confidence and bravado - all of which made up one of the most remarkable Prime Ministers in British history.

Publication will coincide with changes in the schools' curriculum and related interest in the history of the twentieth century. Sir Winston himself said that "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind" (Harvard University, 6 September 1943).

Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust and Churchill Heritage Ltd are together represented in this project by Gordon Wise of Curtis Brown.

Nigel Newton, founder and Chief Executive of Bloomsbury, said, "The distinguished Churchill Archive is the closest the UK has to a Presidential Library, and its publication online will become a landmark in 20th century historical studies. Bloomsbury's strategy is to grow our academic and specialist publishing and we are delighted to be the digital publishers of such an important collection of papers."

James Joll, Chairman of the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust, said, "The Churchill Papers are carefully preserved in the Churchill Archives Centre. Over the last few years the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust has worked to ensure that the papers have been made available for research, education, and exhibition. However, this initiative will provide international access through the internet, allowing the collection to fulfil its true potential."

Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill biographer, said, "The Churchill Papers collection is an Aladdin's Cave of historical riches, which it has been my privilege to explore. I strongly endorse this project, which will enable everyone to have access to Sir Winston Churchill's writings and correspondence. It is a project that will bring the history of the first sixty years of the Twentieth Century, and the remarkable story of Britain's greatest Prime Minister, into the classroom and the home."

The management of the Churchill Papers publications project will come under the direction of Bloomsbury Academic.

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