File 40 - King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Arthur King.

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King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Arthur King.

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  • October 18, 1948 (Creation)
    King, William Lyon Mackenzie
    London, England

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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 marked "Personal" from William Lyon Mackenzie King (while at the 1948 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in London, England) [1] to his nephew Arthur on October 18, 1948, in reply to a letter from Arthur and Kathleen apparently expressing concern about King's health. King downplays the press reports of his "condition" and explains that he has taken medical advice to "take a complete rest instead of attempting to go on with the proceedings of the Prime Ministers' Meetings at Downing Street," and anticipates being in bed for a further week until boarding the "Queen Elizabeth" on October 29.
King expresses interest in Arthur and Kathleen's house and garden, and notes that everything is "going so well for your mother."
Salutation: "My dear Arthur" [handwritten]; Signature: "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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Letter: 1 leaf ; 25 x 20 cm.
Letterhead: engraved, The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane , London, W.1.
Includes envelope, 10 x 14 cm, postmarked London, Oct. 19, 1948, and stamped: "Official PAID". Upper left corner marked Personal [typewritten], bottom left corner stamped seal: "Office of the High Commissioner for Canada, London."

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Described May 2019 by JSB.

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  • English

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