Somewhat bizarrely, I’ve had a little flurry of traffic from the Telegraph website these last couple of days, from an article listing ten gifts that Barack Obama could have given Gordon Brown.
If you missed this non-story, Brown gave Obama a pen of historic significance and a seven-volume biography of Churchill when they met the other day. In return, Obama gave Brown 25 DVDs of classic American movies. I’m sure the DVDs were well presented and not ‘3 for £10’ ex-rentals from Blockbuster, but still, some factions of the British media were terribly insulted on Brown’s behalf.
So, the Telegraph made a helpful list of things Obama could have given Brown, if he had more time/was more considerate. There are framed letters, a dinosaur toe, various historic trinkets. US editor Tony Harnden also included a signed first-edition copy of ‘The Affluent Society’ by John Kenneth Galbraith, an economist who Brown admires.
The links on the other gifts lead to museums and collections of national treasures. The chart from Roosevelt’s secret map room is held in the FDR Library and Museum. The framed letter from Alexander Graham Bell is held in the Library of Congress. The link on Galbraith’s book leads to my review. Apparently I am the best source for a first-edition copy of ‘The Affluent Society’.
I can confirm, I am in possession of such an item. I found it in a clearout sale when Foyles closed its second hand section last year. It’s a little dog-eared and the dust jacket is very faded, and it isn’t signed – at least not by Galbraith. It’s inscribed ‘John Forster Cooper, Oct 1958’ inside, if that’s any good.
Still, if Obama would like it for the next time Brown visits, he’s welcome to it. I’ll put it to one side and he can pick it up next time he’s in Luton.