File 42 - 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 from William Lyon Mackenzie King to his nephew Arthur on December 28, 1948, containing effusive thanks to him and his wife Kathleen for letters and Christmas gift of hand-picked and preserved wild raspberry jam. King notes that the jam will be used for special occasions of afternoon tea at Laurier House or Kingsmere. King reminisces "I remember when Lord Athlone and Princess Alice used to come out to Kingsmere occasionally for a walk, there was nothing they enjoyed so much as some of the strawberry jam which I had there. Jam made from wild strawberries is, of course, the most delicious of all. [1]
King refers to his "little gift" to Arthur and Kathleen and says that "Nothing could give me more pleasure than that you should use the cheque toward the purchase of a rug for one of the rooms in your little home." He also extends his thanks to Arthur's mother for her letter and gift of books. King notes that is health is not good and that he was wise to have retired when he did. In closing, King mentions that he is sending Kathleen another supply of vitamins.
Salutation: "My dear Arthur" [handwritten]; Signature: "With 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 ; 25 x 20 cm.
Printed letterhead: Laurier House, Ottawa

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Described May 2019 by JSB.

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  • English

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[1] Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, was Governor-General of Canada 1940-1945:

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