Longtime Proprietor of The Churchill Book Specialist
A friend to collectors of Churchill books around the world, Mark Weber died from complications of a stroke in Tucson, Arizona on 21 June. He is survived by his wife Avril who assisted him in the business of gathering and selling virtually all editions of books by Churchill from low-cost reading copies to fine first editions. Mark began collecting Churchill books in the 1980s after a chance encounter with the late Michael Wybrow, a noted Churchill book authority himself. Mark put together his own first catalogue in 1988, and the business expanded quickly into a demanding second job.
Mark recalled in a 2013 interview with the Chartwell Bulletin: “My day job took me all over Europe. My wife and I raided bookshops in every major city. And then there were the auctions. Most of the great early Churchill collections formed in the 1940s, 50s and 60s came through the London auction houses in the 1990s. I bought heavily including a several-thousand-volume lot that required me to hire a truck to get it home to our South Kensington flat.”
After retiring from the computer industry in 1997, Mark shifted to full-time bookselling and relocated from London to Tucson for the warm weather and low housing prices. The movers filled over 700 boxes with books and sent the whole lot over in a forty-foot container. He then rented a flat near Heathrow so he and Avril could return to Britain for one week each month to buy books. The highlight was the purchase of Michael Wybrow’s collection in 2000 (seen above). “You hear of people talking about tons of books,” Mark exclaimed, ”but this really was EIGHT TONS of books and related Churchill material.”
The Churchill Centre’s Executive Director, Lee Pollock, stated: “Mark’s knowledge was encyclopedic and formidable. He was a resource not just to collectors but to anyone interested in learning about the Churchill canon. He was unfailingly supportive and courteous and had recently been very helpful to us in acquiring materials for the new National Churchill Library, which opens later this year on the campus of The George Washington University in Washington, D. C. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Avril.”