File 10 - King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Arthur King.

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King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Arthur King.

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Biographical history

"William Lyon Mackenzie King had a long political career. He was leader of the Liberal Party for 29 eventful years through the buoyant expansion of the 1920s, the depression of the 1930s, the shock of World War II, and then the post-war reconstruction, and for 21 of these years he was Canada’s prime minister. His decisions during this time contributed significantly to the shaping of Canada and to its development as an influential middle power in world affairs. During his lifetime his achievements were sometimes obscured by a style notable for its compromises. After his death his political career was sometimes overshadowed by the revelation of his unsuspected personal idiosyncrasies."

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Scope and content

Typewritten letter from William Lyon Mackenzie King to his nephew Arthur King on December 22, 1942. Arthur has apparently had pneumonia and King offers recovery advice, including a check-up by Arthur’s uncle Dr. Harold Wookey. King includes detailed suggestions for a proposed overnight stay at Laurier House on an unspecified date. King sends Christmas wishes through Arthur to Arthur’s fiancée Kathleen Thomas and to Mr. and Mrs. Rean (Arthur's brother Lyon’s in-laws) in Toronto.
King describes in detail the portrait he has had taken by Yousef Karsh as a Christmas gift to all family members, “which has a very special interest.” King describes the location of the portrait as the library at Laurier House, describes the significance of the table and the significance of some of the objects placed on it. He adds “there are other features of special interest of which I shall have to tell you at some future time.” King enlarges on his reasons for self-documentation at this particular time: “One can never say how long one may continue to be in office. This picture, being taken at a time of war, and signed by myself while in office as Prime Minister, will make it, I am sure, an acceptable gift to you.”
Salutation: “My Dear Arthur” [handwritten]; Signature: “With lots of love, Yours affectionately, Uncle Willie" [handwritten].
Includes handwritten corrections.

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Donated by John English in 2019.


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  • English

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Printed letterhead: Laurier House, Ottawa.
4 p. (of 8; 2 folded sheets) ; 18 x 14 cm

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Described May 2019 by JSB.

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  • English

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