The power of words

Over the weekend we visited the Churchill: The Power of Words exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York. Edward Rothstein reviewed the exhibition for the New York Times in “Successes in rhetoric: Language in the life of Churchill.” The exhibition Web site notes that the Morgan and the Churchill Archives Centre have also launched The site, created to generate interest in Churchill among a younger audience and educators, features fun facts, videos, quotes, and links to Churchill-related content.

The exhibition features the original of Churchill book manuscript pages, galley proofs, and speech drafts with Churchill’s handwritten notations (mostly revisions) on them It is an utterly wonderful exhibition, giving a brief overview of the twentieth century’s greatest man. Pausing to pore over the Churchill documents included in the exhibition, one is struck by the sheer largeness of spirit on display. Here there is no pettiness. Here there is no triviality. Here one is elevated.

As I recall, one of the items on display was a gift from Franklin Roosevelt to Churchill. The special relationship looms large in the exhibition. Roosevelt sent Churchill a memento with a pertinent quote from Abraham Lincoln: “If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If I’m wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make a difference.”

We loved the exhibition (that’s my daughter and friend standing before the poster outside the exhibition room in the photograph). The exhibition runs through September 23. If you have a chance to do so, you will want to take it in.


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