File 35 - King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Arthur King.

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King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Arthur King.

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  • December 21, 1947 (Creation)
    King, William Lyon Mackenzie

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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 and his wife Kathleen on December 21, 1947, thanking them for their letters of “love and best wishes” for his 73rd birthday. He blames his current lack of communication on “how very strenuous the pace has been. I doubt if ever in my life I have had so much ground to cover, or been as active and busy as I have. “ He then notes “It has all been a kind of ‘grand finale’ to my many years in public life, and which in the nature of things, cannot be expected to continue much longer.” King explains that he has had no time to select a Christmas gift and so has instead enclosed a “Bank Money Order” to be used for something for their home “as coming from me; something that may serve to remind you at all times of my love and abiding affection for you both.”
Salutation: “Dear Arthur and Kathleen” [handwritten; Signature: “Again, with fondest love and best of wishes, Yours affectionately, Uncle Willie” [handwritten].
Includes handwritten corrections.
Includes enclosure: empty Christmas money-holder card, 16 x 8 cm folded. Inscribed in King’s hand: “To Arthur and Kathleen With love and all good wishes for Christmas and the new year from Uncle Willie, Xmas 1947."

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Donated by John English in 2019.


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  • English

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Letter: 2 p. (of 4, folded leaf) ; 18 x 11 cm.
Includes envelope, 12 x 9 cm, postmarked Ottawa, Dec. 21, 1947, stamped “Free,”, with King’s initials inscribed in his hand in the bottom left-hand corner: “W.L.M.K. P.M.”

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Described May 2019 by JSB.

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  • English

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