National Lottery Earnings Save Churchill Papers for Britain
LONDON (AP) _ Sir Winston Churchill’s wartime papers have been saved for posterity, thanks to an American philanthropist and millions of losers in Britain’s national lottery.
The Heritage Lottery Fund, supported by earnings from the weekly lottery, announced Wednesday it would contribute $20 million to purchase the papers from the Churchill family.
John Paul Getty, heir to an oil fortune and a British resident, contributed the remaining $1.6 million of the price negotiated with the Churchill family.
The more than 1.5 million papers include drafts of Churchill’s most famous speeches, including the 1940 radio speech before the Battle of Britain against Nazi Germany, when he said future generations would see it as ``their finest hour.″
The papers also include schoolboy letters to Churchill’s American mother, Jennie Jerome.
The collection will be kept at the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust at the University of Cambridge. Churchill’s post-1945 papers had already been donated to Churchill College, and have now been given to the Cambridge archive.
The Churchill family had been negotiating a sale for two years and the possibility the papers might end up in the United States or elsewhere had caused resentment and protests. Estimates of their potential value went as high as $56 million.
The lottery, launched in November, brings in about $160 million a week. Half the proceeds go to prizes and 28 percent to arts, sports, charities, the heritage and a fund for large projects to celebrate the coming of the 21st century.