World War Twomr Volkmar's Course Pages

In a large measure ihis year, two. Wallace has recently become a most prominent figure in the eyes of the international public due to his honest expressions over foreign policy towards Russia and the United Nations which he hopes would preserve everlasting peace for the world. AH, yes—how well one remembers jolly old World War II! How well one recalls those clumsy Germans, those happy Italian chaps and girls, and those sassy, fun-loving American soldiers riding around. This charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about a young woman who longs to be a war correspondent and inadvertently becomes a secret advice columnist is “a jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People)—for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are doing their bit for the war effort.

36. Minutes of the Senior Review Group Meeting1


  • Sino-Soviet Differences (NSSM 63)


  • Chairman—Henry A. Kissinger
  • State
  • Richard F. Pedersen (came late)
  • William I. Cargo
  • Donald McHenry
  • Defense
  • G. Warren Nutter
  • CIA
  • R. Jack Smith
  • JCS
  • LTGF. T. Unger
  • OEP
  • Haakon Lindjord
  • USIA
  • Frank Shakespeare
  • NSC Staff
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt
  • John Holdridge
  • William Hyland
  • Jeanne W. Davis


The Ad Hoc Committee paper2 is to be revised to spell out the consequences of policy choices in three situations:

Continued Sino-Soviet tension but no hostilities;
Active U.S. effort to deter hostilities;
one-shot strike, or
protracted conflict

The revised paper will be considered again at a Review Group meeting and then by the NSC.

Mr. Kissinger opened the meeting saying that this was a difficult paper to write on a conjectural issue of which we do not know the dimensions. There were, in fact, two papers: a basic paper and a summary. There was, however, no inevitable relationship between the two, since parts of the basic paper were not covered in the summary. He suggested, and it was agreed, that this meeting would deal with the summary paper plus certain points of the basic paper not covered in the summary.

He noted the summary’s assumption that the President has already spoken in favor of Strategy D (“to assert an interest in improving relations with both contestants”).3 He acknowledged this was true, but noted that usually the President’s position was more complicated than what he said. He (Mr. Kissinger) did not wish to be in a position of announcing to the Review Group what the President’s policy is, then structuring the meeting accordingly. The President is open to other suggestions if the judgment of this group indicates that another course would be more desirable. The President’s position was contained in a public statement that we want to be friends with both sides. Mr. Kissinger interpreted that to mean that in a non-hostilities situation we would be more inclined to lean toward China while publicly pronouncing that we favor neither. He thought the President’s view was not so firm that it could not be changed by reasoned [Page 94]argument, and reiterated that there were no restrictions on this group’s discussions.

He thought the situations could be stated more explicitly than in the paper, possibly as: (1) continued tension but not hostilities; (2) a U.S. policy to deter hostilities; (3) U.S. policy during hostilities. He could see the argument of leaning toward China on the grounds that in a non-war situation it was more logical to support the weaker against the stronger. During hostilities, neutrality would have the objective consequence of helping the USSR, and assistance to China would probably not make any difference to the outcome. Therefore, since policy in a pre-hostilities stage would not be applicable to a hostilities situation, it would be worth examining policy in both situations.


Mr. Cargo agreed, saying the deterrent policy was presumably a part of the contingency study underway in the WSAG.4 He thought the first and third situations (no hostilities and hostilities) were addressed in the paper before the meeting. He noted that Section V examines the implications area by area in both situations.

Mr. Shakespeare asked why there was not more emphasis on and more analysis of the role of Japan and U.S. relations with Japan. He pointed out that Japan now had the third largest GNP and it was predicted that by 1972 its GNP would exceed Germany and France combined. Herman Kahn predicted that by 2000 Japan could tie the U.S. It was the third major industrial power with an excellent physical location and an intense marketing strategy in Asia whose national interest led them to China. He thought that in accordance with the President’s policy of regionalization the U.S. should pay more attention to Japan in its relation with China. If our policies could be coordinated, the industrial potential could be much greater.

Mr. Kissinger replied that the China paper looks at the relationship to Japan. He noted that one problem with the Sino-Soviet paper is that there are three studies now going on as pieces of the puzzle.5

Mr. Cargo agreed that Joe Neubert and Dick Davies (drafters of the paper) had a terrible time confining the study to the limits set down—they found it hard not to relate the study to the global problem. He knew they had considered Japan and other countries in connection with the paper.

Mr. Shakespeare agreed with the difficulty, but reiterated that Japan would be an enormous potential factor in 10 years.

[Page 95]

Mr. Kissinger asked if the Defense Department supplement should be considered a dissent.6

Mr. Nutter replied that this was a difficult study to confine and still do what it is supposed to do. It started with the China study, which considered some of the longer-range aspects of the problem but did not address the problem of triangular relations. The more immediate triangular concerns were addressed in the contingency study. However, a number of important questions were falling between stools and the longer-range aspects were not being as fully considered as possible, which was one of the reasons for the Defense supplement. The differences between the USSR and China were both political and military. If the Soviets take military action, they would also look to a resolution of the political problems. The question was how to deal with the alternative internal political situations that might develop in China. We would face different problems depending on the political outcome. He saw similar implications in Section V of the paper—consideration of Soviet influence and our reaction in other areas of the world in the case of change with or without hostilities. Defense would like to see more emphasis on an analysis of what opportunities would be presented to us for furthering our national interests in different aspects of the triangular situation. The purpose of the supplement was to indicate that there should be more consideration of the implications of political developments.

Mr. Sonnenfeldt returned to Mr. Shakespeare’s point on Japan, saying that if we examine the implications of leaning toward China we must also examine the U.S. attitude toward the economic policies of Japan and other countries. One of the best vehicles for “leaning toward China” would be to be more permissive and tolerant toward third countries dealing with China, and Japan would be an important country in this regard.

Mr. Smith commented that item 6 in the Key Judgments section of the Summary was less than evenhanded in describing the pros and cons—e.g., it omitted the “pro” that in the event of hostilities the present Chinese nuclear capability would be destroyed.

[Page 96]

Mr. Shakespeare commented that the paper makes the assumption that a Sino-Soviet conflict is to be avoided at all costs and questioned whether this is correct.

Mr. Smith commented that there was little we can do to deter such a conflict.

Mr. Shakespeare noted that we were talking about high-level statements, to which Mr. Kissinger replied that we would make such statements even if we were egging them on.

Mr. Smith said it was not certain that hostilities would create havoc, to which Mr. Nutter commented that it would depend on the real outcome.

General Unger explained that the supplement was designed to explore all the options. He thought the summary paper leads up to the possibility of hostilities and then drops it as undesirable. There could, in fact, be all sorts of outcomes. In line with Strategy D we should be aware of the possibility of the emergence of a non-Communist regime in China. The possible outcome could be in the U.S. interest.

Mr. Lindjord remarked that much of the paper is a contingency plan and asked if we wanted to introduce such a political question.

Mr. Kissinger commented that our stance depends on our idea of a desirable outcome; for example, if we lean toward China in a pre- hostilities period it would be on the assumption that China will be a functioning unit. If China breaks up, we are in a different universe and would no longer have the option of supporting China. We should get some assessment of the trends in a pre-hostilities phase but it would be more important in the event of hostilities. We should consider two possibilities: (1) a military situation where the Soviets have taken out China’s nuclear capability and nothing else, and (2) a situation in which the Soviets have moved massively into a protracted ground war. In the first situation, we could make the best of a demonstration of impotence and in the second, we could enjoy the vicarious pleasures of someone else’s Vietnam. It was not in our interest for the USSR and China to become a monolithic bloc. If China breaks up, it would not be so much of a problem. He asked if we should postulate a few assumptions.

Mr. Cargo said that perhaps the papers we have don’t embrace the whole picture. The contingency plan covers approximately 60 days, while this paper considers the possibility of war further down the pike. Neither paper talks about major hostilities and the possible outcome, but the Defense Department supplement does. He noted that hostilities would provide an opportunity for the Soviets to establish a regime in China more favorable to their interests.

Mr. Nutter agreed that they might.

Mr. Cargo concluded that we need to project further down the road and to consider possible outcomes.

[Page 97]

General Unger cited some discussion of this aspect on page 23 of the basic paper.

Mr. Kissinger said it would be helpful to bring the paper to a point where one gives the President some idea of what Strategy D means in practice—what operational policy goes with what types of decisions.

Mr. Holdridge noted that there was a strong Chinese nationalism to be contended with which was a common force in any scenario. The Soviets would have to be physically present in force to make the Chinese regime fly apart.

Mr. Nutter commented that they might be pulled apart.

Mr. Holdridge said the main force in China is to rectify the results of the various periods of imperialism and thought China would tend to hold together.

Mr. Nutter said he would not rule this out in a probabilistic sense, but noted that there were divisive elements in China.

Mr. Smith agreed with Mr. Holdridge. He thought the Defense supplement was speculative in terms of the present paper, but that it had a place if the scope of the present paper should be enlarged.

Mr. Kissinger said he could make no judgment on what will happen in China, but he thought we should make a judgment on the effect of a single Soviet strike on China vs. a massive ground war and that it would be worthwhile to look at the position the U.S. should take. He questioned whether it was worthwhile taking the time of senior people to consider possible political outcomes in China.

Mr. Cargo agreed, saying he thought the Defense Department supplement overstates the case. He asked if we think Soviet political action could produce a change in the Chinese regime.

Mr. Nutter asked what would happen on the death of Mao.

Mr. Smith replied we would probably have collective leadership. He said the Defense supplement ignores the fact of Chinese nationalism and the pervasive anti-Soviet and anti-foreign feeling. He could not see any group of Chinese who would be willing to identify with Soviet interests.

Mr. Nutter remarked that we can’t make national policy on such definite statements.

Mr. Kissinger asked if there were no possibility of indigenous change in China.

Mr. Smith thought this would require a major Soviet military effort—that it couldn’t happen without it.

Mr. Nutter thought this was a matter of various experts rendering judgments.

[Page 98]

Mr. Kissinger asked if there were no possibility of a Chinese leadership that placed greater emphasis on the unity of communism worldwide and would make adjustments.

Mr. Smith thought not immediately following a war—maybe later.

Mr. Sonnenfeldt drew a distinction between a pre-war and a wartime situation. He thought there were elements that could be attracted to a pro-Soviet position in a non-war situation. In a wartime situation, he thought the Soviets could capture enough territory to set up a puppet regime but it would require great effort to maintain it.

Mr. Nutter noted that the population of Sinkiang is primarily non- Chinese, to which Mr. Sonnenfeldt added that they were not pro- Soviet, however.

Mr. Kissinger thought Sinkiang and Tibet were different—they could split off without affecting the Chinese power position. He drew a distinction between them and Chinese core territory.

Mr. Smith agreed that under conditions of great stress, fragmentation would be a serious possibility.

Mr. Nutter remarked that South China had also been shaken.

Mr. Holdridge acknowledged differences between Cantonese speakers and others, but noted that a unifying education policy had existed since 1919 which taught that they were Chinese first and Cantonese second.

Mr. Kissinger thought we might add some consideration of the contingencies beyond the 30-day period to the present 30-day contingency paper—possibly expand it to a consideration of U.S. policy in a period of tension. We should also consider U.S. options in a war situation. Even with the President’s statement of Strategy D, should we give him an opportunity in this paper to refine his thinking by putting the key choices before him again. He thought the statement concerning leaning toward one side or the other was too simple; e.g. we could lean toward China but not at the price of getting concessions from the USSR. We need some operational definition of what is implied by the various options.

Mr. Cargo cited the top paragraph on page 2 of the Summary, saying one could spell out the kinds of things that could be done.

Mr. Kissinger agreed that many things were mentioned in germinal form, citing the helpful statements on pages 19–20 of the Basic Paper, but asked so what?

Mr. Shakespeare asked if hostilities would not result in an interdiction in land or sea routes to Vietnam, or, at least, a change in world attention to Vietnam. He thought the USSR would probably pull back from the Middle East and that there would be increasing ferment in Eastern Europe.

[Page 99]

Mr. Kissinger commented that this was not the judgment of the paper.

Mr. Nutter noted, with regard to Eastern Europe, that the paper says we can’t exploit the situation because it would lead to armed occupation. He asked whether this would necessarily by disadvantageous to the U.S. In the Middle East, we might break away from discussions with the USSR and begin to deal directly with the Arab countries. With regard to Cuba, the paper suggests there is nothing we can do. He questioned whether the paper ruled out possible moves in these areas because we think Soviet action would be to our disfavor.

Mr. Kissinger said that, to the extent our policy in the Middle East is influenced by a fear of becoming embroiled with the USSR, we would have to consider Soviet reluctance to become involved with us in the Middle East and with China in the Far East. This would depend on the different possible war outcomes. If the Soviets were involved in a protracted war in the Far East, they would be reluctant to get into another war. But, if they could make a clean nuclear strike, it would enhance their fearsomeness and the temptation to intervene in the Middle East would be greater.

Mr. Shakespeare replied that, even so, the Soviets would have earned the implacable hostility of China. And they might be in difficulty in Eastern Europe. Would the U.S. be worse off?

Mr. Kissinger asked what the effect would be if the USSR knocked off the Chinese nuclear capability, even on top of the Czech invasion. What could China do in 10 or 15 years?

Mr. Shakespeare asked if we gained or lost from the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia?

Mr. Kissinger replied we lost.

Mr. Pedersen commented that we did not want a worldwide deterioration of the situation.

Mr. Kissinger thought the “implacable hostility” of China wouldn’t hurt the Soviets for 10 years. He cited the Chinese attack on India in 1962 which resulted in India’s loss of confidence in China. He thought hostilities might lead to an interesting situation in the Middle East. But, on the other hand, it might make the Soviets think they should clean up the situation in the West before they have to face the East again.

Mr. Shakespeare thought that we should consider whether the possibility of a protracted conflict between the USSR and China could have decided benefits.

Mr. Cargo thought we could analyze the possible types of conflicts which would be advantageous, although we would not have that kind of choice. He thought we must say ‘no’ to a Soviet-Chinese conflict. He [Page 100]thought the nuclear problems—the question of fallout alone—would require this position.

General Unger noted the third-country problem, and Mr. Cargo commented that we would be letting the genie out of the bottle.

Mr. Sonnenfeldt commented that arguing the methodology of advantage or disadvantage isn’t going to get far. We should isolate the consequences and what problems each would pose. In the Middle East, what would Israel calculate the Soviet reaction to be if they should march. What would be the effect on the India-Pakistan situation?

Mr. Shakespeare agreed. While the paper assumes that hostilities should be avoided at all costs, he thought there was another side.

Mr. Kissinger asked whether, even if we assume our interest is in avoiding conflict, should we not consider it. He thought it would be very useful to expand the contingency paper to 45 days plus. We could handle the Vietnam issue as a part of the contingency paper in view of its sensitivity.

Mr. Cargo agreed.

Mr. Sonnenfeldt noted with regard to SALT that the paper says the Soviets might be more reluctant to go into SALT in the event of major hostilities. He thought this would be true in the event of protracted war, but, on the other hand, the Soviets might want to use SALT as a safety valve and to manipulate the Chinese into a bad position.

Mr. Pedersen noted that the interesting thing in Gromyko’s speech to the General Assembly was his statement that any radical disarmament must include all five powers. This was different from what he had said last year.7


Mr. Kissinger thought this was suspicious unless the Soviets were getting ready to disarm China.

Mr. Kissinger recommended that, in order to make the NSC discussion useful, we lay out the consequences of various choices in various situations. He thought we might get useful directives as a result.

Mr. Kissinger noted there were overlapping (or possibly conflicting) interests between us and the Soviets which might lend themselves to negotiations in the case of a period of tension or of hostilities. [Page 101]Except for Taiwan, we might have few similar situations with China. Which would be easier?

Mr. Sonnenfeldt noted the disagreement over whether “overlapping” means “converging” or “conflicting,” citing the experience in drafting the BNSP.

Mr. Kissinger thought we should explore what is really hidden by “overlapping,” get it explicitly analyzed and resolved.

Mr. Cargo thought we might highlight the principal choices and their operational consequences and attempt to project them further ahead.

Mr. Kissinger said we should separate hostilities from a period of tension and we should sub-divide the types of hostilities—a one-shot strike vs. protracted conflict. He thought we should bring the matter to the NSC as soon as possible.

Mr. Cargo noted that the “lean toward” option would be taken care of in such an approach.

Mr. Kissinger thought we would probably come out with a recommendation to keep open our options toward China in order to and to the extent that we could get concessions from the USSR. We should pose the question in terms of the three new basic options he had mentioned at the beginning of the meeting. He asked if we could get a revision of the paper in a week or two.

Mr. Cargo replied we could.

Mr. Kissinger said he foresaw a quick Review Group meeting on the revised paper, then to the NSC.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–111, SRG Minutes, Originals, 1969–1970. Secret. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. NSC staff member Jeanne Davis forwarded the minutes to Kissinger on October 7, under a covering memorandum in which she noted that Sonnenfeldt had reviewed and approved them. A notation on the covering memorandum indicates Kissinger saw it.
  2. Reference is to the draft response to NSSM 63 prepared by the Interdepartmental Ad Hoc Group on September 3. (Ibid., RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 212, National Security Files, NSSM 63) The October 17 version is printed as Document 40. In an undated memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt and Holdridge criticized the draft response to NSSM 63: “it is inadequate in that it gives almost no proposals or options for US actions to implement the broad strategy it recommends.” They added, “The one area where the NSSM did break new ground—the contingency of Sino-Soviet hostilities—is largely overtaken by the separate contingency paper.” Both added that the leader of the ad hoc group that produced the paper, Elliot Richardson, “was highly favorable to taking some initiative with the USSR to lay out our position.” (Undated memorandum from Sonnenfeldt and Holdridge to Kissinger; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–040, Review Group Meeting—Sino-Soviet Differences 11/20/69) A notation on the memorandum indicates Kissinger saw it. A short summary of this meeting, prepared by R.J. Smith, CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence, is in Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80–B01086A, Executive Registry, Richard Helms Files, Box 7, Folder 224. The Department of State version, prepared by Cargo, is in National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 212, National Security Files, NSSM 63.
  3. The September 3 draft stated that “In theory, four broad strategies are open to the United States in the face of this classical falling-out between two states, both of which are also in opposition to U.S. interests. A. To support the Chinese position by collaborating with Peking in its efforts to avoid politico-economic isolation. B. To collaborate with the USSR in isolating China. C. To adopt a ‘hands-off’ attitude, refusing to have anything to do with either contestant that might be interpreted by the other as tilting the balance. D. To assert an interest in improving relations with both contestants, gaining leverage where we can from the dispute in pursuit of our own interests.”
  4. Minutes of the WSAG meetings are printed as Documents 29 and 32.
  5. Apparent reference to the response to NSSM 63, the WSAG Sino-Soviet Contingency paper, and NIE 11/13–69 concerning the Sino-Soviet conflict.
  6. The Department of Defense submitted a short, undated “supplementary paper” and a summary of the supplementary paper for NSSM 63. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–040, Review Group Meeting—NSSM–63, Sino Soviet Differences, 9/25/69) The summary emphasized that “The DOD paper contends that the NSSM–63 Summary Statement (Tab A) and the Ad Hoc Group Report (Tab B) give inadequate consideration to two possible outcomes of major Sino-Soviet hostilities, viz the creation of Soviet-sponsored regimes in China and the downfall of the Mao–Lin government.” The paper also posited that a Soviet “politico-military effort” might lead to the emergence of a non-Communist regime and complained that the NSSM–63 study did not give adequate consideration to this possibility. This paper is discussed further in Document 41.
  7. In his speech at the September 19 plenary meeting of the 24th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Gromyko introduced a plan for “the strengthening of international security,” which was placed on the agenda of the General Assembly. (United Nations, General Assembly, Twenty-fourth Session, Official Records, 1756th Plenary Meeting, September 19, 1969, pp. 7–14; ibid., Annexes, Agenda Item 103, Document A/7654 and A/7903, pp. 1–6) International reaction to the Soviet proposal was lukewarm. (Richard Halloran, “Nations Show Little Interest in Pact on A-Arms,” The New York Times, September 20, 1969, p. 10)

[Editor: Downton Abbey comes to the 'big screen' with a feature film-length installment that opens in the United States on September 20, 2019. We are reposting this article from the archives from 2016 regarding how the series regularly incorporated contemporary books into their episodes.]

The makers of Downton Abbey go to great lengths to get their period details and history correct, and one of the ways they do this is by incorporating contemporary books into conversations and even at times the main plot.

In fact, it can be difficult to find an episode of Downton where the references to Dickens, Trollope, or now-obscure English historians are not flying thick and fast. When Lady Edith started dating a London editor, one expected to meet Virginia Woolf or E.M. Forster at a party any moment. Alas, poor Michael Gregson died before the producers could work a Bloomsbury party into the show.

(Post script: After this post was first published, I attended the 'Dressing Downton' exhibition at Asheville, NC's Biltmore House -- which has a stunning library -- and discovered that Virginia Woolf was a guest at that London party, albeit in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it, non-speaking role. Her costume is the one on the right of the photo below. The exhibition was so popular it went on tour, and an expanded version will open at the Biltmore House in November 2019 and run until early April 2020.)

Outfits worn by Lady Sybil (left) and Virginia Woolf (r) in Downton Abbey. Shown in the Biltmore House as part of the 'Dressing Downton' exhibition in early 2015. (Source: Cincinatti Enquirer.)

Given creator Julian Fellowes' attention to detail and habit of tangling the fictional Crawleys in real historical events, those featured books are genuine and are generally well-chosen. The discerning Downton Abbey fan would do well to search the ABAA database for some of these titles, as they will not be found at your average bookstore. Here are some of the more-prominent titles to have featured on Downton Abbey.

Gutenberg Bible

Bibliophiles and book collectors have admired the Crawleys' wonderful library for years -- Oh, to have 10 minutes to investigate their bookshelves! However, serious collectors weren't very impressed when Robert revealed they have a Gutenberg Bible, but he didn't know where it was! Imagine owning one of the 49 known surviving copies of one of the world rarest books (even fewer at the time the show is set), and not knowing where to find it. The best most of us can hope for is to own a facsimile edition. But, sadly, the Crawley family are not known for their intellectual curiosity (except for Isobel's shining example, of course).

Peerage Guides

Carson the butler would fully approve of a purchase of any edition of a peerage guide, such as Debrett's or Burke's, two longtime guides to who's-who among the British nobility. ABAA members usually have several offerings available, from different decades.

When Matthew Crawley, an obscure third cousin, was revealed to be the new heir to the lands and titles of the Earl of Grantham, family members were chagrinned. But Robert took it in his stride and commented that they should simply check DeBrett's, one of several guides to the peerage that are continually referenced in the series, as if that should settle matters. If this unknown lawyer from Manchester was listed in DeBrett's, it was unassailable proof of his membership of the aristocracy -- whether the Dowager Countess liked it or not! Later, Carson did not approve of Matthew's new fiancée, Lavinia Swire, because she was 'not to be found in Burke's Peerage, or even Burke's Landed Gentry!'

Marie Stopes' Married Love

Perhaps the most prominent book to feature in Downton in recent seasons is Marie Stopes' pioneering work on contraception and pregnancy, Married Love. Stopes had finished her manuscript in late 1915, but every publisher in London turned it down because of the certain controversy. It was finally published in 1918, and was an instant cause-celebre, selling out five printings in the first year alone.

Mrs. Hughes used the mere presence of the book to undermine Edna's plan to seduce Tom Branson and compel him to marry her in season four. And, the book resurfaced to cause trouble between Anna and Bates in season five.

Elizabeth and her German Garden

In season two, when Mr. Molesly, the younger ('You make him sound like a Greek philosopher,' quipped the Dowager Countess) was attempting to court Anna (in the brief period when Bates had gone back to his wife) he loaned her a copy of Elizabeth Von Armin's Elizabeth and Her German Garden, as an ice-breaker. Although first published (anonymously) in 1898, Elizabeth and her German Garden was a hugely popular book in the early decades of the twentieth century -- doubtless because it was humorous and idiosyncratic, in stark contrast to the deadly seriousness of so much Victorian culture.

The Sketch Magazine

In the very first episode, we learned that Cora was a regular reader of The Sketch, a weekly news magazine devoted to the aristocracy and society gossip. As we enter season six, the magazine that Edith inherited from the late Michael Gregson comes to take up more and more of her time, giving us a glimpse into the low-tech world of magazine production in the days before Photoshop.

Incidently, The Sketch was the first magazine to publish short stories by Agatha Christie, who went on to become a frequent contributor over the years. Other notable writers who published fiction in the magazine include Walter de la Mare and Algernon Blackwood.

Sources and Inspiration for Downton Abbey

Julian Fellowes has written that reading To Marry an English Lord(1989) by Carol McD Wallace and Gail MacColl gave him the initial spark for the family dynamic at the heart of Downton Abbey: the tension between an old title and new money. More recently, the republication of Margaret Powell's 1968 memoir Below Stairs occasioned a blurb from Fellowes that credited it with also informing Downton. Below Stairs can also be credited for inspiring Upstairs, Downstairs, the hit drama that followed the lives of both servants and the aristocrats in a London townhouse during the early decades of the twentieth century, which first aired in 1971 and largely kick started the popularity of British period dramas.

Following the completion of the six seasons of the show, Fellowes recommended three other books which he felt gave great insight into the world of the great houses and the issues their owners had to confront in the early part of the twentieth century; these books are:Edwardians in Love (1972)by Anita Leslie, The Big House (2004) by Christopher Simon Sykes, and Chatsworth: The House (2002 edition) by the late Duchess of Devonshire.

'I had been reading about the young heiresses who came over to prop up—or at least delay the fall of—a way of life under threat, and I started to imagine what that existence must have been like for them twenty years later, with grown up children who were foreigners to their mother. Did they adjust or did they long to return to the free ways of their American youth? And so, Cora, Countess of Grantham, was born.' -- Julian Fellowes

One novel that Fellowes has acknowledged partially inspired his script for the film Gosford Park -- which was a kind of dress-rehearsal for the series Downton Abbey -- is Isabel Colegate's 1980 novel The Shooting Party.

World war twomr volkmar

The World of Downton Abbey

Another step removed from the show, are books relating to service, including this unusual book of advice and instruction published by the Sunday School Union in 1828, A Farewell to a Female Scholar on Going into Service. With one of season five's plot lines concerning assistant-cook Daisy's attempts to educate herself, I doubt she received such a volume on beginning work at the abbey.

Other books mentioned or appearing in the series include:

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

'Edith! You are a lady, not Toad of Toad Hall.' -- The Dowager Countess to Edith about her learning to drive.

by Kenneth Grahame

London: Methuen and Co., 1908. Original publisher's medium blue-green pictorial cloth, spine and upper cover elaborately decorated in gilt, t.e.g. Frontispiece by Graham Robertson. Tiny pictorial bookplate on front pastedown (Mary Elizabeth Hudson), pencil note on front free endsheet, trace of slight rubbing to extremities, two leaves opened with less than complete care, resulting in purely marginal shallow irregularities, otherwise an unusually nice, virtually fine copy, though wanting the dust jacket. Cloth solander case with chemise and gilt label. First edition of Grahame's enduring contribution to the shared literature of young and old, composed originally as a sequence of letters to his son, and as a consequence of its popularity, the key to Grahame's freedom from clerkdrudgery.

Offered by William Reese Company.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

'Ethel has far more chance of happiness there, than re-enacting her own version of The Scarlet Letter in Downton.' -- Mrs. Hughes on why the housemaid Ethel should leave the area.


Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling

'Are you thinking of getting married, Dr. Clarkson? Because if you are, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.' -- Isobel to Dr. Clarkson.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

'First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H.G. Wells novel.' -- The Dowager Countess declares she neither a fan of progress nor H.G. Wells.

The Time Machine, Holt, 1895, first edition (first issue with the authors name misspelled as H.S. Wells on the title page), inner hinges starting, else a g/vg copy with somewhat different text than its later English counterpart. SIGNED by the author (just below the names of the previous owners?) on what appears to be a tipped in page. The author's first novel, a round trip to the year 802,701 and beyond. Most certainly a highspot of modern literature and needless to say, a cornerstone book in the building of a science fiction library. A very scarce book. (Offered byFine Books Company)

You may also be interested in:

Bara is shown full length, in a layered lace long gown, standing by an ornate fireplace with mirror, likely from 'Camille.' Photograph by Witzel with photographer's white stamp in lower right corner. She inscribes in French and signs with fountain pen, 'Tres sincerement, Theda Bara 1917.' (Offered by Schulson Autographs)

In season two, Mr. Carson returns from inspecting Haxby Park, which Sir Richard is having modified for his new life with Mary, and Mrs. Hughes asks him how things are at Haxby he refers to 'silent screen vamp' Theda Bara, an actress best remembered by film historians:

Mr. Carson: 'Well, you should see some of the gadgets in the kitchens... and the bathrooms... Oh, goodness me, they're like something out of a film with Theda Bara.'

Mrs. Hughes: 'I'm surprised you know who Theda Bara is.'

Mr. Carson: 'I get about, Mrs Hughes, I get about.'

If you like Downton Abbey, you may be interested in these items:

by Ernest

1915-1919. Containing a total of 80 original watercolors, 43 of which are pure fashion plates straight out of the wardrobe for 'Downton Abbey'. The fashions and aesthetic are very much of the teens and World War One era when what is known as Art Nouveau was evolving into the more angular, more abstract, more brittle, more self-consciously 'Modern', of Art Deco. We can still see and enjoy the lavish and extravagant rococo flourishes of Art Nouveau while also finding traces of the streamlined looks associated with the twenties. The style of illustrations resembles that we find in 'Gazette du Bon Ton', the highly sought-after French fashion magazine of the day, and we can see the possible influence of Aubrey Beardsley in the lines as well. Among the best illustrations there is a celebration of the exotic, the Oriental (a particularly Viennese version of Orientalism), the theatrical, and these aspects of the illustrations are redolent of such great illustrators as Dulac, Neilsen and their ilk. In the illustrations with theatrical allusions, conjured up are the glamourous poses by the opera divas of the day, when the likes of Geraldine Farrar or Maria Jeritza could be depended on for the flamboyant gestures that fed the enthusiasm of their huge base of fans. And then there is a small selection of other images, of ships, of an Australian dough boy, of an English cottage, that underscore the versatility of this Ernest. While the full identity of 'Ernest' has yet to be established, the fineness and panache of the illustrations far exceeds that of a typical amateur, and it would seem probable that the sketches might have been done for or on behalf of a fashion house or retailer, either as drafts of ideas to be executed, renderings of what designers had already done, possibly to be copied, drafts of illustrations intended for catalogues or other promotional vehicles, or some combination. It would seem unlikely, in other words, that the drawings were merely done for the amusement of the artist. The illustrations are dated, with the earliest album also bearing the title, 'Modes of 1915'. The existence of this title offers indirect evidence of the artist's non-avocational purpose, in our view.

Offered by White Fox Rare Books & Antiques.

London: Published by the Sunday-School Union, (n. d.). 1st printing [presumed]. Ca 1828. Period half-calf binding with marbled paper boards, with gilt stamped title lettering to spine. General binding wear. Period poi to front paste-down. Lacks ffep. Evidence of damping to frontispiece bifolium. Withal, an About VG - VG copy.. 72 pp. Frontispiece [dated 1828]. 12mo. 5-3/4' x 3-1/2'
Not found in the NUC, on OCLC, nor COPAC; an apparently unrecorded little work, counseling a young lady regarding her pending move to the world of 'service', 'a useful and important station in society .... '. A number of 'rules to live by' follow, including 'Fifthly- Always observe a respectful and oblinging behaviour towards those with whom you live, and endeavor to go about your work with a cheerful air, as a pleasure rather than a burden to you ...' Wonder if this volume served as a servant's primer, in a 19th C. Downton Abbey?

Offered by Tavistock Books.

by A McDonnellMacDonnell

1880-1917. Full Morocco. Very Good. Oblong, 21 by 30 cm. 92 numbered leaves with content, with log entries, more or less statistical, on all the versos, and pictures and/or original drawings, mostly mounted, on 58 rectos, with some additional loose material. (129 numbered leaves in all.) Several of the log pages have mounted photos obscuring the log, as it is clear that this game book was at some point re-purposed to be a more general album, with some emphasis on sports, including also fishing, foxhunting and sailing, but also there are two pages of photos from South Africa, with photos of native tribesmen, ostriches, a hut, Cecil Rhodes house, etc. 13 original works of art -- watercolored, pencil, pen and ink -- in addition to numerous painted fish hook and fly vignettes, these sometimes done directly onto the page. Most charming are the comical illustrations of anthropomorphic foxes. Sepia photos are of the country estates, their stately homes and rural settings of the hunts as well as the people involved -- the hosts and guests during these country weekends. Many, but by no means, all of the photos have captions helpfully identifying the participants or the locations. And the log proper provides the names of those participating in the shooting, and often what would now be regarded as obscenely large kills. Among the many aristocrats and wealthy in the photographs and/or logs are Lady Randolph Churchill (Jennie Churchill), Arthur Balfour, Lady Minto (Mary, the famous 4th Countess), Henry Lascelles, the 5th Earl of Harewood, the 5th Earl of Carnavon (of King Tut fame, as well as the owner of the castle used in Downton Abbey), Baron Rothschild, Lord de Grey, Lord Ashburton, Prince Murat, the Duke of Buccleuch, Prince Duleep de Singh, Lord Rosebery, and on and on. Country homes include Longleat, Greystoke Castle, the Hirsel, Highcliffe Castle, etc. Alexander McDonnell was a son of the 5th Earl of Antrim and a clerk in the House of Lords. Obviously he was very well connected, and surely very popular, among the upper echelons of English society back then. And we would note that many of the most illustriously titled have frequent entries here; what we have here is a window into a cohesive social network, it is our sense. Condition: morocco binding has moderate to heavy wear along edges, some scuffs on the boards and spine. The leaves can have a waviness, the result of the interaction of the mounted material upon the leaves. A few photos are loose. There is a little bit of a scrappy quality to the book, as befitting a log book that was partially turned into something much more, and this quality is part of its charm as well.

Offered by White Fox Rare Books & Antiques.

Cabinet Portrait Gallery Reproduced from Original Photographs by W.&D. Downey. VOLUME ONE ONLY

London: Cassell and Company, 1894. Hardcover. Very Good. Hardcover. Volume one only of a five volume series. This volume contains 36 black and white portraits accompanied by a brief, adulatory biographical piece. Subjects are drawn from many spheres of British society and culture, with an emphasis on royalty, the aristocracy, the stage, and the arts. Among those included are the Duke and Duchess of Fife, Sarah Bernhardt, Archbishop of Canterbury, Price of Wales, Frederick Leighton, and Mrs. Humphrey Ward. This is an ex-library volume with the bookplate of the City of York Public Library affixed to the front pastedown. In what was probably an effort to discourage readers from taking photographs, the library applied an unobtrusive but visible embossed stamp to the margins of the photos, not affecting the portrait itself. Despite these factors the photographs are still interesting and attractive. Bound in brown cloth with floral borders to front boards and titles in gilt to front and to spines. Some bumping and rubbing, remains of small white stickers at foot of spine, but otherwise in quite good condition. Save for the small embossed stamps, the photographs are in very good condition. 96 pages plus photographs.

Offered by Kelmscott Bookshop.

by Eustace Clare Grenville Murray

World War Two Mr Volkmar's Course Pages Search

London: Smith, Elder, 1874. First edition. xxiv, 300; vi, [ii], 304; viii, 281 pp. 3 vols. 12mo. Later white buckram , with brown leather labels. Some foxing, but overall, a very good copy. First edition. xxiv, 300; vi, [ii], 304; viii, 281 pp. 3 vols. 12mo. An 'absolutely brilliant, bitter novel attacking the aristocracy' (Wolff); first published serially, it caused a scandal for its portrayal of known personalities and its suggestion of incest. Wolff 5057 (only the Tauchnitz edition); not in Sadleir.

Offered by James Cummins Bookseller.

by Kenneth Grahame (Illustrated by Arthur Rackham)

RACKHAM, ARTHUR. (RACKHAM,ARTHUR)illus. THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame. NY: LIMITED EDITIONS CLUB 1940. 4to, cloth backed patterned bds, fine (no slipcase)! 1st Rackham edition, first published in the United States and not published in England until 1950. LIMITED TO 2020 COPIES SIGNED BY BRUCE ROGERS (the designer). Illustrated by Rackham with 16 magnificent mounted color plates. A beautiful copy and a masterful edition of this classic.

Offered by Aleph-Bet Books.

by Archibald Marshall

World War Two Mr Volkmar's Course Pages Printable

London: Stanley Paul & Co., [1915].. Octavo, pp. [1-6] 7-286 + 24-page publisher's catalogue dated 1915 inserted at rear, original decorated green cloth, front panel stamped in black, spine panel stamped in gold, bottom edge untrimmed. First edition. 'An Erewhonian satire: the poor are the aristocracy, the rich are ashamed of their wealth. ' - Gerber, Utopian Fantasy, p. 146. 'Wealth is despised and poverty esteemed. The wealthy go to school to learn how to get rid of their excess goods.' - Lewis, Utopian Literature, p. 118. 'Very funny and quite effective.' - Barron (ed), Fantasy Literature 3-233. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 1445. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 151. Negley, Utopian Literature: A Bibliography 751. Sargent, British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985, p. 157. Teitler (2013) 826. Bleiler (1978), p. 134. Reginald 09703. A fine copy.

World War Twomr Volkmar's Course Pages Search

Offered by L.W. Currey.

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