File 49 - King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Arthur King.

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King, William Lyon Mackenzie to Arthur King.

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  • January 6, 1950 (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 on January 6, 1950, containing belated thanks for their Christmas letters and gift of the book Cry The Beloved Country. King finds it "extraordinary" that three books recommended to him by Violet Markham were given to him by three separate family members that Christmas. The other two were Schweitzer's Out of My Life and Thought and Lead, Kindly Light. [1] King describes his poor health, commiserates with Arthur's disappointment at not seeing his mother at Christmas, and approves of Arthur and Kathleen's plans to use his Christmas cheque to buy a set of nesting tables. King reiterates his pleasure at receiving letters from Arthur and Kathleen, and ends with concern that Kathleen's vitamins might have run out and that he is sending more.
Salutation: "My dear Arthur" [handwritten]; Signature: "With fondest love and all good wishes to Kathleen and yourself. [Illegible, possibly Again as?] always, 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: 4 p. (of 8, folded leaves); 20 x 16 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] Lead, kindly light, Gandhi and the way to peace, by Vincent Sheean (1949):

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