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UNESCO Recognizes Churchill

Churchill Papers Added to World Memory Register


Winston Churchill’s vast archive has been added to UNESCO’s International Memory of the World Register. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the Memory of the World Project in 1992 as an international initiative to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and wilful and deliberate destruction. It calls for the preservation of valuable archive, library, and private collections all over the world.

The Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University’s Churchill College houses the Churchill Papers, a priceless collection of more than one million documents written by or belonging to the former British Prime Minister. Archives Director Allen Packwood said: “The archive of Sir Winston Churchill is unique and irreplaceable. It is the evidence that underpins the story of one of the most remarkable leaders of the modern era….It includes his original annotated notes for his famous international broadcasts and correspondence with the great politicians, military leaders, authors, scientists, and thinkers of his age.”

Churchill’s post-1945 papers were passed to Churchill College in 1969 by his widow Clementine Churchill. The College built and opened the Churchill Archives Centre in 1973 and Sir Winston’s pre-1945 papers were transferred to the Centre from Oxford’s Bodleian Library in 1974–75. 
The archive allows unrivalled access into the life, times, and mind of Churchill; from his early correspondence with his family through to his retirement years.

Dr Alice Prochaska, Chair of the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust, which owns the papers for the nation, said: “It is a fantastic privilege and a very great pleasure to see the Sir Winston Churchill Archive inscribed at as part of the Memory of the World. This amazing documentary resource brings benefit to scholars, schools, and citizens: a legacy to future generations from one of the world.”

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The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.