File 39 - 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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Typewritten letter marked "Personal" from William Lyon Mackenzie King to his nephew Arthur on August 20, 1948, describing his relationship with John D. Rockefeller Jr., and mentioning his invitation to visit Mr. Rockfeller's "summer home at Seal Harbor, Maine." King anticipates going to Europe in three weeks, and notes that he is "now relieved of the leadership of the Party. On my return, I expect to be giving up office as well."[1] King declares the "Convention" as "a great success" [Liberal leadership election] [2] and wishes that Arthur and Kathleen had been there to "witness the ovations." He expresses his pleasure at Arthur and Kathleen's new home in Leaside, although his opening of Sunnybrook Hospital prevented him from visiting in person. He remarks on the pretty names "Southvale Drive" and "Leaside."
Salutation: "My dear Arthur" [handwritten]; Signature: "With fondest love to you both, Yours affectionately, Uncle Willie" [handwritten].

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Donated by John English in 2019.


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  • English

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Letter: 2 leaves ; 20 cm.
Printed letterhead: Office of the Prime Minister, Canada with Arms of Canada.

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Described May 2019 by JSB.

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  • English

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[1] King resigned as party leader in August 1948 and as Prime Minister in November, 1948: ""
[2] 1948 Liberal Leadership election: ""

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