Kirby Center library in Washington, D.C.

Hillsdale College Receives Papers of Sir Winston Churchill’s Official Biographer

Estate of Sir Martin Gilbert acquired by College, expanding on its growing Churchill collection

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Hillsdale, Mich. – Hillsdale College announces its acquisition of the papers and library of the late Rt. Hon. Sir Martin Gilbert, CBE, D.Litt, who was the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill from 1968 until 2012. In 2015, the College launched the Churchill Project to propagate a right understanding of Winston Churchill’s leadership and legacy. The College will complete The Churchill Documents series, the documentary record undergirding the official biography and a primary source of understanding of Churchill’s life and career. The College will promote Churchill scholarship through national conferences, scholarships, online courses, and an endowed faculty chair.

“Churchill’s career presents an unsurpassed opportunity for the study of statesmanship because it was so long, because the facts of it are so well recorded, and because its quality was so very high,” said Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College and editor of the official biography. “His official biographer, Martin Gilbert, wrote 88 books of history on Churchill, the World Wars, Jewish history and Israel, and the Holocaust, as well as nine historical atlases. The method of research he established was simple yet ambitious. He looked everywhere possible for every original source.”

Experts from Sotheby’s auction house conducted a thorough appraisal of Sir Martin’s library and archive. The contents include Sir Martin’s personal and working library of 12,000 books, many of which he used in the writing of his biographies, and many of which are first editions of those biographies. The archive includes a collection of original documents by Winston Churchill and his contemporaries along with Sir Martin’s correspondence throughout the fifty years of his working life.

• Letters, telegrams, and memoranda that illuminate Churchill’s leadership during both World Wars;

• A series of letters to his father from the 1890s;

• Original manuscripts of Sir Martin’s books and his correspondence with those quoted in his histories,
including survivors of the Holocaust and Soviet Jewish “Refuseniks” who were not allowed to emigrate
from the Soviet Union;

• Correspondence between Sir Martin and those who knew and worked with Winston Churchill.

“This collection contains an impressive variety of resources on Winston Churchill and 20th-century European history. Theses, dissertations, and books could be written from this trove for decades to come,” said Richard M. Langworth, senior fellow for the Churchill Project. “Future generations of scholars and students alike will enjoy and appreciate this remarkable collection.”

For more information on Sir Martin Gilbert, visit

About Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. Founded in 1844, the College has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 5.7 million. For more information, visit

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Media inquiries may be directed to:
Emily Stack Davis
517-607-2730 (work)
517-803-3745 (cell)
[email protected]
For all other inquiries contact Hillsdale College at 517-437-7341