This article first appeared in
2001 issue of Minnesota History, published by the Minnesota Historical Society.
While the text remains virtually unchanged, it is presented here with
appropriate links and illustrated with covers from my collection rather
than the article's original photographs.
January 1901. The daily
newspapers in Minneapolis and St. Paul reported the antics of
Vice-President Elect Theodore Roosevelt on a big-game hunting trip.
Scandal had rocked the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where a
congressional investigating committee was trying to determine if hazing
by upperclassmen had caused the death of two cadets. Cadet
Douglas MacArthur, who had survived the hazing, steadfastly
denied that it could have killed his classmates. A new baseball league,
the American Association, was being formed in New York. On the
international front, reports from England described the progressively
worsening condition of 81-year-old Queen Victoria, whose life was
slowly slipping away. Locally, the political scene was abuzz with
speculation about whom the state legislature would select to fill the
vacant U.S. Senate seat (popular election of senators was still a dozen
years away); former state Attorney General Moses E. Clapp was the
In addition to the news of the day,
the papers carried a single column of advertisements for
“Amusements.” In this era before movies and major
sporting events, Twin Citians looking for a night out could spend the
evening enjoying the performing arts: theater, operas, vaudeville,
poetry readings, or lectures. On the lecture circuit a young man from
England was making his way across the United States and Canada,
speaking in major cities on the subject of his country’s
recent military struggles in South Africa’s Boer War. Just 26
years old and recently elected to Britain’s House of Commons,
the young man knew his subject well, for he had been under fire in
South Africa. Captured by the Boers, he had made a spectacularly daring
escape. In some cities his lectures were met with indifference or
hostility, but in Minneapolis and St. Paul enthusiastic full houses
greeted this rising star on the global political scene. The young
man’s name was Winston Churchill.
Churchill, December 1900: A portrait taken in Boston
man who would lead Britain four decades later in the dark days of World
War II–already had made an international name for himself by
the time he arrived in Minnesota in early 1901. Born in 1874 to Lord
Randolph Churchill and the American Jennie Jerome, Winston had the
standard upbringing for a child of Britain’s formidable upper
class. Raised primarily by a nanny, he received little affection from
his parents, but he adored and tried to please them, especially his
father. In his father’s eyes, however, Winston was usually a
failure. Judging his son not clever enough for a life at the bar, Lord
Randolph decided that Winston should seek a military career.
Accordingly, he entered the Royal
Military Academy at Sandhurst at age 18, graduated in 1895,
and was commissioned as a cavalry officer. Three years later, while
attached to the 21st Lancers, he saw action in the Sudan, where he
participated in the British army’s last great cavalry charge
wrote extensively of his experiences, sending highly detailed letters
to his mother who, by prior arrangement, made them available to
Post for publication. He was paid handsomely for these
reports from the front. Upon resigning his commission and returning to
England, he used the money to finance an unsuccessful campaign for a
seat in Parliament in 1899. Later that same year, the long simmering
conflict in South Africa between the British and the Boers (descendants
of the original Dutch settlers, who viewed the British as unwelcome
occupiers of their territory) finally erupted in war. To Churchill,
this meant opportunity, and he immediately contracted again with the Morning Post to be
its South African correspondent. Arriving in Cape Town on October 31,
1899, he spent the first two weeks trying to get close to the action,
mostly without success.2
marking the 100th anniversary of Churchill's capture by the Boers, postmarked
November 15, 1999, Ladysmith, Wisconsin.
that changed early on the morning of November 15. Churchill had boarded
an armored troop train heading toward Ladysmith, where the Boers had
laid siege to British forces. Boer artillery attacked his
train near Chieveley, derailing several cars and blocking a British
retreat. Chaos ensued, and troops began to panic. With the consent of
the commanding officer and his friend, Capt. Aylmer
Haldane, Churchill stepped in. Amid flying bullets Churchill
had the train’s engineer clear the tracks by ramming the
derailed cars out of the way, directed the transfer of injured troops
to the engine’s tender, and rode back with them to the
nearest station. Churchill then headed back to the ambush scene on foot
to assist those still pinned down by Boer fire.3
He did not make it. A Boer soldier on horseback
approached him, rifle at the ready. Churchill reached for his pistol
but discovered he had left it on the train. He recalled in his 1930
autobiography, My Early Life,
“I thought there was absolutely no chance of escape, if he
fired he would surely hit me, so I held up my hands and surrendered
myself a prisoner of war . . . ‘When one is alone and
unarmed,’ said the great Napoleon, in words which flowed into
my mind in the poignant minutes that followed, ‘a surrender
may be pardoned.’”4
Boers took Churchill and their other prisoners to Pretoria. From a
makeshift prison, Churchill repeatedly petitioned for his
release–he was, he protested, just a reporter. But the Boers
knew who was responsible for saving the British troop train, and they
knew what a prize they had in Churchill (who was allowed to continue
sending dispatches to London). Denied freedom, Churchill joined Capt.
Haldane and another British soldier, Sgt.-Maj. Brockie, in their
attempt to escape on the night of December 12. Churchill went first and
made it over the wall undetected, but the other two could not follow. A
sentry, not realizing that Churchill had already slipped over, stopped
Haldane and Brockie. Reluctantly, Churchill decided to press on alone.
Making his way to the streets of Pretoria, he headed for the train
station, hoping to stow away on a freight train headed for Portuguese
East Africa, safely out of Boer territory.5
a nine-day ordeal of surreptitious travel under harsh conditions on
foot and on trains, after keeping a vulture at bay, hiding in a rat
infested mine shaft, among dirty coal sacks, and in a shipment of wool,
Churchill finally made it to neutral territory. On December 23 he
entered British-controlled Durban, where he was given a
hero’s welcome. His exploits during the train ambush and his
escape from captivity had received wide publicity, making him famous
not only in South Africa but all over the English-speaking world. While
he could have gone home to bask in his glory, Churchill elected to
continue his work for the Morning
Post, at the same time accepting an offer to join the South
African Light Horse regiment. Now he would no longer be just
an observer but a combatant as well. For the next six months he served
with distinction, fighting in numerous battles and sending his vivid
reports back to England.6
Churchill’s celebrity status brought him
two offers while he was still in South Africa. He accepted one without
hesitation–to stand for election again for a seat in
Parliament. The second offer came in a letter from Maj. James B. Pond,
an American agent with the Lyceum Lecture Bureau, asking him to visit
the United States to recount his war experiences. Churchill entrusted
Pond’s letter to his mother for safekeeping: “Now
please don’t let this thing be thrown away,” he
wrote to her, adding that she should check Pond’s credentials.7
In June 1900 Churchill joined the force that was
“marching to Pretoria,” where Boer forces had
capitulated. Since he had once been a captive himself, he eagerly took
responsibility for freeing 180 British soldiers still held prisoner.
One of the men he liberated that day, Capt. Fitz Herbert, had been a
prisoner since December 15, just three days after Churchill had
escaped. Fitz Herbert was married to a Minneapolis woman, the former
Mary O. Wilson, who was in Minnesota awaiting her husband’s
marking the 100th anniversary of Churchill's election to Parliament, postmarked
October 1, 2000, Oldham, South Dakota.
Pretoria secured, Churchill ended his soldier-reporter tour of duty in
South Africa in July and returned to England to begin laying the
groundwork for his run for Parliament. He did not have long to wait.
General elections were called for the fall, and Churchill campaigned as
a Conservative for one of two seats in the city of Oldham. In a closely
contested four-man field, Churchill came in second and was elected on
October 1, 1900.9
Despite his election triumph,
Churchill had a big problem: money. No one in Britain earned a living
being in Parliament because the job paid nothing. Honourable Members
usually had other means of support–inherited fortunes or
thriving business interests. Churchill had neither, and although he did
have significant income from his writing, it was not enough. Between
being elected in October and taking his seat the following February,
Churchill had to raise cash quickly. He had anticipated this as early
as July, however, and had made some preliminary arrangements. As soon
as the election was wrapped up, he finalized plans for a lecture tour
across Britain that began in late October. “The War As I Saw
It” was a great success because audiences at home were eager
to hear him speak, and his financial rewards were substantial.
a month Churchill suspended his English tour and sailed for America,
where he hoped his lectures would prove equally lucrative. Maj. Pond,
who had recruited Churchill in South Africa, had been deemed an
acceptable agent by Churchill, having successfully arranged American
tours for authors Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain.
Churchill’s instructions to Pond set forth the conditions of
I shall leave the whole
arrangements of the Tour to you, but at the same time, you must not
drag me about too much and I don’t want to wear myself out by
talking to two-penny–half-penny meetings in out of the way
places. In all my social engagements I shall exercise my entire
discretion . . . I don’t want to be dragged about to any
social functions of any kind nor shall I think of talking about my
experiences to anybody except when I am paid for so doing.10
of the gems of my collection. An actual cover from Churchill's
tour, addressed to Senator Depew at his Washington, D.C. home,
postmarked December 9, 1900. I suspect the cover was addressed by Major
Pond in his own hand. Pond's letter stationery for the tour looked liked
arrived in New York on December 8, 1900, where he had a friend from his
first visit to the United States in 1895, the former and future Congressman
W. Bourke Cockran. Cockran took Churchill to Albany to dine
with Governor and Vice-President Elect Theodore Roosevelt. One would
think that Roosevelt, the old Rough
Rider who charged up San Juan Hill, might have taken a shine
to a fellow cavalry officer, but such was not the case. TR found
Churchill much to his disliking, writing to a friend months later,
“I saw the Englishman Winston Churchill here, and . . . he is
not an attractive fellow.”11
A few days later, in Washington, New York Senator
Chauncey M. Depew (an old friend of Churchill's maternal
grandfather, Leonard Jerome) introduced Churchill to the first of many
U.S. presidents he would meet in his life, William McKinley.
WSC and William McKinley: the
current president (Click cover for larger image)
WSC and Theodore Roosevelt: the
next president (Click cover for larger image)
receiving a favorable review for his first lecture in Philadelphia, Churchill
next spoke at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel,
where he was introduced by another Pond client, Mark Twain. Twain, who
had recently celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday on the same day
Winston celebrated his twenty-sixth, began by telling the audience he
thought Britain had “sinned” by getting into a war
with the Boers, just as the U.S. had sinned by crushing the so-called
“Philippine Insurrection.” In spite of that, he had
warm words for Churchill:
Mr. Churchill will tell you
about the South African War, and he is competent to tell you about it.
He was there and fought through it and wrote through it, and he will
tell you his personal experiences . . . Mr. Churchill by his father is
an Englishman, by his mother he is an American, no doubt a blend that
makes the perfect man. England and America; we are kin. And now that we
are also kin in sin, there is nothing more to be desired. The harmony
is perfect–like Mr. Churchill himself, whom I now have the
honor to present to you.12
centennial of Churchill's New York lecture, where he was introduced by
Mark Twain. Cover postmarked December 12, 2000, New York, N.Y.
In Boston, Winston
Churchill met Winston Churchill, the popular American novelist with
whom he shared a name (but no then-known ancestors). The Boston Herald gave
their meeting front-page treatment, calling the two men “fast
friends.” Later when they dined together, their common name
led to a mix-up with the bill, which was presented to the British
Churchill by mistake.13
early success, the lecture tour soon hit a few bumps. Churchill quickly
grew disenchanted with Pond, feeling the “vulgar Yankee
impresario” was not being generous enough with the receipts.
They had a row in Toronto, with Churchill going “on
strike” and threatening to pack up and go home if the
situation were not corrected; it was. Also irritating to Churchill was
the promotion of the lectures and the venues that were booked. Writing
to his mother on New Year’s Day 1901, he described his
For instance last week, I
arrived to lecture in an American town & found Pond had not
arranged any public lecture but that I was hired out for £40
to perform at an evening party in a private house–like a
conjuror. Several times I have harangued in local theatres to almost
empty benches. I have been horribly vulgarised by the odious
advertisements Pond and Myrmidons think it necessary to
circulate–and only my cynical vein has helped me to go on.
week later Churchill again wrote his mother, “I have got to
hate the tour very much indeed, and if it were much longer I do not
think I would be able to go through with it.”14
aspect of the American tour that distinguished it from the British tour
was the temper of the audiences. As Twain had alluded in New York, most
Americans were historically wary of British colonialism and sympathized
with the Boer cause. While Churchill resolutely defended British
actions, he never denigrated the Boers, for whom he had the utmost
respect. In city after city, when Churchill showed a slide of a Boer
soldier and said, “This is the gentleman who gave us so much
trouble in South Africa,” the audience would begin to cheer
and clap. “You are quite right to applaud him; he is the most
formidable fighting man in the world,” Churchill would
respond. His fairness, coupled with a sharp sense of humor, usually won
over his audience, if not to the British cause, then at least to
postmarked Chicago, January 12, 1901: Churchill lectured there
got a little rowdy in Chicago, the lecture-tour stop before
Minneapolis. Many Irish were in attendance for his January 12 lecture,
and Churchill found their collective attitude to be distinctly
anti-British. With the crowd unruly, Churchill decided to placate them
by altering history. Describing a hopeless battle where defeat seemed
certain, Churchill intoned, “In this desperate situation the
Dublin Fusiliers arrived! Trumpeters sounded the charge and the enemy
were swept from the field.” The audience fell silent and then
cheered wildly, giving no more grief to the speaker. And, as the Minneapolis Journal
noted, it was not just Irishmen who gave Churchill trouble in Chicago.
At the next day’s lecture, an elderly man shouted at him,
“I am an Englishman and I want Mr. Churchill to tell you
Americans of the impudence of the ultimatus which [Boer
leader] Mr. Kruger sent to the English government before the
war.” The audience waited in silence to see if Churchill
would rise to the challenge and speak harshly of the Boer leader.
Churchill demurred, saying, “I do not follow the gentleman,
but I am sure that this is neither the place nor the time for an
acrimonious or controversial discussion of a thing which has passed
into history.” The Journal
continued, “His words were received with great
enthusiasm and for a minute he was loudly cheered.”16
West Hotel, Minneapolis. A postcard from 1906.
Churchill arrived in Minneapolis
on Friday, January 18, 1901, and checked into the West Hotel. Designed
Buffington for the corner of Fifth and Hennepin, the West had
opened in 1884 as the city’s “first truly grand
hotel.” Boasting 407 luxuriously furnished rooms and 140
baths, the hotel featured an immense
and opulent lobby, claimed to be the largest hotel lobby in
the nation. The West had housed many dignitaries before
Churchill’s arrival, including Twain and delegates to the
1892 Republican National Convention.17
had scarcely settled into his room when there was a knock at the door.
A reporter from the Minneapolis
Tribune had arrived to interview him, interrupting his
bath preparations–or, in the parlance of the time, before he
had “completed his toilet.” (Throughout his life,
baths were important to him, but they usually did not interrupt his
work; many a World War II dispatch was dictated from the tub.) On this
occasion, however, the bath would wait, as Churchill gave the reporter
his views on the present state of affairs in South Africa.
“Boer Cause Is Hopeless, Says Winston Churchill”
was the headline of the article that appeared the next day. Churchill
gave a detailed assessment of the current war situation but no
recounting of his personal war experiences. For that, one had to pay.18
marking the 100th anniversary of Churchill's Minneapolis lecture, postmarked
January 18, 2001, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
lecture at 8:15 that Friday evening was at the Lyceum Theater, down the
street from his hotel on Hennepin between Seventh and Eighth Streets.
Ticket prices ranged from 50 cents for the cheapest seats to $1.50 for
the most expensive, the equivalent today of about $10.00 to $30.00.
After an introduction by a member of the sponsoring Teachers’
Club, Churchill delivered his talk, illustrated with about 100 slides
projected by a “magic lantern,” an early slide
projector that used a kerosene lamp to illuminate glass slides holding
His audience that night was
not disappointed. His lecture, according to the Journal,
“was as absorbingly interesting as it was unaffected and
unhackneyed. A story of thrilling occurrences was told in the most
direct, colloquial fashion . . . The frequent flashes of humor were the
features of the lecture.” The review in the St. Paul Dispatch
was equally favorable. “Lieut. Churchill seems English only
in one thing, and that is his accent. His sense of dry humor is
peculiarly American. He is open-hearted and perfectly fair in speaking
of the good qualities of the Boers as fighters. What he does not admire
about them he leaves unsaid.” Continuing with an example of
Churchill’s humor, the Dispatch
Churchill’s description of the strategic manner in which the
Boers utilized the kopjes
[natural rock outcroppings] in their military operations proved as
humorous as it was illustrative. The kopje . . . when covered with
determined riflemen presented a most formidable obstacle. As soon as
the Boers were driven from the summit of a kopje they would hurry down
on the other side, where their horses were in waiting to convey them to
another kopje, where they would quickly intrench themselves and wait
for the next onslaught of the foe. “And as the kopjes are
arranged in circles,” added Mr. Churchill, “they
eventually get back to the first kopje, and that explains why the war
goes on such a long time.”19
Carleton Young: "The King of Books"
lecture completed, Churchill went to the home of James Young at 1600
Second Avenue South (today a location occupied by the Minneapolis
Convention Center), where a small dinner party took place. How
Churchill came to be invited to dine with Young, his wife, and five
others is not known, but it almost certainly was a pleasant evening,
for Young was a brilliant, successful, and well-traveled man.20
in Iowa in 1856, James
Carleton Young was the son of a prominent and popular Iowa
Republican politician who never lost an election. Valedictorian at age
19 of his graduating class at Cornell College in 1876, James
immediately established himself in the real estate business, acting as
an agent for various railroads intent on buying land for new lines. By
1892 his various real estate concerns amounted to a million-dollar
business. Young had also traveled extensively: in 1878 he was the
youngest commissioner to the Paris
International Exposition. He returned to Europe in 1882, and
in 1884 toured Europe and Asia as well.21
was more than a successful real estate mogul, however. He was also a
dedicated bibliophile. But his collection of books was no ordinary
assemblage. Each volume had been inscribed by its author, and his quest
to expand the collection led to contacts with authors all over the
world, earning him the appellation “the King of
Books.” One wonders if Young’s dinner guest that
evening in January 1901, the future recipient of the Nobel
Prize in Literature, signed any one of his then five books
for Young’s collection.22
marking the 100th anniversary of Churchill's St. Paul lecture, postmarked
January 19, 2001, St. Paul, Minnesota.
The next evening,
Churchill gave his lecture in St. Paul at People’s Church, on
the corner of Pleasant Avenue and Chestnut Street. People’s
Church was a frequently used venue for public gatherings because its
main auditorium could seat 2,500 (3,500 with extra chairs), making it
the largest first-class meeting place in St. Paul at the time. As in
Minneapolis, Churchill’s lecture was well received, and he
got a good review in the St.
Paul Pioneer Press. The paper also made note of
Churchill’s concluding remarks on the rapidly declining
condition of Queen Victoria, who was in the sixty-fourth year of her
reign. The imminent loss of the only British sovereign most people
could remember elicited eloquence from Churchill (if not a bit of
patriotic schmaltz): “A greater loss than fertile province or
loss upon the field of battle threatens us at this time. I can but ask
the American people to hope with us that the new century may not dawn
with one of the greatest losses the world could ever know–the
loss of our sovereign, the Queen Victoria.”23
Young’s house again the next day, Churchill spoke
“most feelingly” to a reporter about the
queen’s condition. “I cannot say how deeply I am
affected by her majesty’s illness. I am sure that you here
would join most sincerely in mourning our loss, if she is taken
away.” He then went on to discuss the political implications
her death could bring. “In the event of the queen’s
demise, the natural sequence would be the dissolving of
parliament,” he said. “There is absolutely no
question that the Conservatives would again be in power if another
general election were ordered,” adding, “there is
not, I am sure, a member, Conservative or Radical, that cares to go
through another general election. We are only now recovering from
prospect of having to be re-elected to Parliament must have been
distressing. Churchill had been elected the previous October by a very
thin margin, and he could not assume that he would win again. Another
election campaign would be exhausting, even for a young man, and would
immediately reduce the writing and speaking profits that he hoped would
sustain him for several years. Faced with these uncertainties,
Churchill cabled London for information. The response was positive:
Parliament would not be dissolved when Victoria died. Members had
merely to swear their allegiance to the new monarch, and the government
marking the 100th anniversary of Queen Victoria's death, postmarked
January 22, 2001, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Sunday evening, January 20, Churchill left the Twin Cities for
Winnipeg, the next stop on his tour. Victoria
expired on Tuesday, January 22, prompting Churchill to write
his mother: “So the Queen is dead. The news reached us at
Winnipeg and this city far away among the snows–fourteen
hundred miles from any British town of importance began to hang its
head and hoist half-masted flags.” Churchill also asked his
mother about the propriety of writing the new king, Edward VII.
“I contemplated sending a letter of condolence and
congratulations mixed, but I am uncertain how to address it and also
whether such procedure would be etiquette. You must tell me.”
His business finished in Winnipeg, Churchill boarded a southbound train
heading to St. Louis for the next lecture.26
a layover in Minneapolis, Churchill again returned to James
Young’s home for dinner and conversation. Joining them that
evening was British poet and essayist Richard Le
Gallienne, who had spoken in St. Paul the night before on an
American lecture tour of his own. Naturally, the focus of their
discussion was the death of Victoria and what it would mean to the
British Empire. Young was certain the Empire would soon begin to
crumble; Churchill was adamant that nothing of the sort would happen.
Both took such strong positions on the matter that they agreed to put
their money where their mouths were. Young produced a piece of his
stationery from his desk, sat down, took out a pen, and wrote the
Mr. James C. Young bets Mr.
Winston Churchill one hundred pounds even that within ten years from
this date the British Empire will be substantially reduced by loss in
Australia or Canada, or India equal to a quarter by population of one
of these provinces: in other words that the British Crown will lose one
quarter of India or of Canada or of Australia, before ten years are
dated and signed the document, Churchill countersigned it, and Le
Gallienne signed as a witness. As it turned out, Churchill was the more
prophetic one that evening. The queen’s death had no serious
consequences; it would take two world wars and a wave of nationalism
before the Empire met its end. It is not recorded whether Churchill
ever collected his £100; by 1911 he was occupied with his
duties as Home
Secretary and unlikely to have remembered the wager made on a
cold winter night in Minnesota ten years before.
Not everything about
Winston Churchill’s visit to the Twin Cities was favorable. A
few days before his initial arrival in the Twin Cities, Capt.
Fitz-Herbert, the British officer Churchill had freed from the Boer
prisoner-of-war camp, was killed in fighting near Kaalfontein. In one
of the captain’s last letters to his wife in Minneapolis, he
described Churchill’s role in securing his freedom. With the
very man who had rescued her husband now nearby, the grief-stricken
widow approached Churchill through an intermediary to learn whatever
she could about her husband. Perhaps Churchill’s mood was
affected by the tour, or perhaps the connection with the dead officer
was not made evident. Churchill refused the invitation, saying that he
did not know the officer in question, had not seen him killed, and did
not know why “the woman” should wish to see him.
Rebuffed, the captain’s family made public their displeasure
Churchill was in Winnipeg, the Minneapolis
Journal reported the incident on Tuesday, January 22, in
an article headlined: “Dislike the M.
P.–Minneapolis Folk Don’t Like the Ways of
Churchill.” Sympathetic with the widow and indignant with
Churchill’s cavalier manner, the article stated,
“The eagerness of the widow to see one who so intimately knew
the scenes in which her husband had moved and was so intimately
connected with her interests in the war was, of course,
natural.” Maybe Churchill’s rejection of the
meeting was due to snobbery, the Journal
conjectured, but “considering that the family of the dead
officer dates back as far as the Marlborough family
[Churchill’s ancestors] and has as good a record at the least
. . . it is argued that Mr. Churchill could not have refused the
courtesy of an interview from any feeling that there was any difference
in rank.” The Journal
also took Churchill to task for not responding quickly to
another invitation from “certain well-known Minneapolis
the Minneapolis press ended their coverage of Churchill’s
visit on a sour note, the St. Paul press remained generally amenable.
In the St. Paul Dispatch’s
“A Side Talk With Winston Churchill” on January 22,
the editorial writer poked a little fun at the young man’s
attire: “Seen immediately after luncheon, he was badly
dressed in dark blue clothes, morning clothes which calmly ignored
style and fit.” With prophetic foresight, the writer
nevertheless saw a special future for him:
Talk? Well, as he himself
said, he has talked until he was hoarse, talked with earnestness, with
enthusiasm, with good hard sense, talked with the talk of a man who has
observed widely and carefully, with the fullness of a man who has
stored away a large amount of information.
The man who judges Churchill
in advance and sets him down as a mere lad, with a lad’s
bumptiousness and nothing more, will find himself badly mistaken.
The young man’s
diction is something choice, abundant and refreshing. It is far above
the commonplace. It smacks nothing of the hustings; it is not ordinary
nor familiar, and by the time Winston Churchill is forty he will be a
notably good talker in a parliamentary body which affords in its
leaders the ablest debaters and orators in the world.30
about the man who would become, arguably, the greatest orator of the
twentieth century, the editorialist for the St. Paul Dispatch
seems like a visionary.
concluded his North American tour in New York on January 31, 1901, and
sailed for England on February 2, the day of Queen Victoria’s
funeral. He would not have time to visit America again until 1929, the
Twin Cities until 1932. The young man, already rich in accomplishment
and recognition, was just getting started.
postmarked New York, N.Y., February 2, 1901. Churchill sailed
back to England from New York on that day.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Photographic
Portrait (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988), caption to
Wanted Dead or Alive
(New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999), 32–43.
Capt. Aylmer Haldane to Chief of
Staff, Natal Field Force, Jan. 3, 1900, quoted in Randolph S.
Churchill, Winston S.
Churchill, Youth, 1874–1900
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1966), 448.
Winston S. Churchill, My Early Life: A Roving
Commission (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,
Sandys, Churchill.This book by Churchill’s granddaughter is one of
the better accounts of Churchill’s adventures in South
Africa. Chapters 11 to 15 describe the period (January 2 to July 7,
1900) Churchill did dual duty as soldier and reporter.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life
(New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1991), 124.
Jan. 22, 1901, p. 5.
Gilbert, Churchill: A Life, 133–135.
Robert H. Pilpel, Churchill in America 1895–1961,
An Affectionate Portrait (New York: Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, 1976), 34–35.
Pilpel, Churchill, 38.
Pilpel, Churchill, 39.
Pilpel, Churchill, 45–50. While in Boston, Churchill also
took time to sit for a photographic portrait. Only one other photograph
of Churchill is known from his 1900–01 visit to North America; it
pictures Churchill on a New York City street, sitting in a cab.
Winston Churchill to Lady Randolph
Churchill, Jan. 1, 1901, quoted in Randolph Churchill, Churchill, 526–527; Pilpel, Churchill, 52.
Pilpel, Churchill, 38; St. Paul Pioneer Press,
Jan. 20, 1901, p. 4.
54–55; Minneapolis Journal,
Jan. 16, 1901, p. 7.
Larry Millett, Lost Twin Cities
(St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1992), 166–67. The West was the hotel in
Minneapolis. Despite competition from newer and better hotels,
including the Radisson, which opened in 1909, the West remained popular
through the 1920s, struggled with bankruptcy in the 1930s, and was
finally razed in 1940. Today the West site is a parking lot adjoining
the relocated Schubert Theater building.
Tribune, Jan. 19, 1901, p. 4.
Journal, Jan. 20, 1901, p. 6; St. Paul Dispatch,
Jan. 19, 1901, p. 10.
Journal, Jan. 19, 1901, p. 6.
Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Representative Men of
Chicago, Minnesota Cities and the World’s Columbian Exposition
(Chicago: American Biographical Publishing Co., 1892), 850–52.
Albert N. Marquis, ed., The Book of Minnesotans: A
Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the State of Minnesota
(Chicago: A. N. Marquis & Co., 1907), 571; Little Sketches of Big Folks(n. p., 1907),
440; St. Paul Pioneer
Press, Jan. 8, 1918, p. 1.
Millett, Lost Twin Cities,
208–09; St. Paul Pioneer Press,
Jan. 20, 1901, p. 4. A 1940 fire destroyed the building, and the site
has been consumed by Interstate 35E.
Paul Pioneer Press, Jan. 21, 1901, p. 4.
Paul Pioneer Press, Jan. 23, 1901, p. 2.
Winston Churchill to Lady Randolph
Churchill, Jan. 22, 1901, quoted in Randolph Churchill, Churchill, 528.
Pilpel, Churchill, 55. The
original document is in the Bettmann Archive; it is reproduced in
Richard Harrity and Ralph G. Martin, Man of the Century: Churchill
(New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1962), 62.