Coniston (novel)

Coniston (1906).jpg
AuthorWinston Churchill
IllustratorFlorence Scovel Shinn
CountryUnited States
Publication date
June 1906
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages543 pp

Coniston is a 1906 best-selling novel by American writer Winston Churchill.


The plot of the historical novel concerns New Hampshire politics, where Churchill lived most of his adult life. Churchill was elected to the state legislature in 1903 and 1905, and unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor in 1906 at the same time Coniston was topping the best selling lists.[1][2][3] The political boss character in the book, Jethro Bass, was based on New Hampshire politician Ruel Durkee.[4][5] A former U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, William E. Chandler, felt compelled to defend Durkee, publishing a pamphlet and writing letters to editors to claim that Durkee was a model citizen and not a model of corruption.[6]

Contemporary writers identified the places in the novel with their real counterparts in New Hampshire. The small hamlet of Coniston itself is Croydon, New Hampshire (where Durkee lived), Brampton is Newport, Harwich is Claremont, Clovelly is Cornish, and "Coniston Water", the local river, is the Sugar River. The Pelican Hotel is the Eagle Hotel in Concord.[7]


It was the best-selling novel in the United States in 1906, and also included illustrations by Florence Scovel Shinn.[8]


The local market in Croydon is still called the "Coniston General Store" after the book, and a nearby lake was renamed "Lake Coniston" in 1943. The YMCA's Camp Coniston took its name after the lake in 1969.[9]


  1. ^ (July 23, 1906). "CONISTON:; A New England Story of a Long Period from the Jacksonian Epoch to Grant's Day Is Winston Churchill's New Book, The New York Times
  2. ^ (August 10, 1906). Colonel Churchill of Cornish, McCook Tribune
  3. ^ (September 19, 1906). Churchill Is Beaten In New Hampshire, The New York Times (reporting that establishment candidate Charles M. Floyd had beaten Churchill for the GOP nomination)
  4. ^ (September 30, 1906). A Novelist In Politics, The New York Times
  5. ^ Zanes, John (July 14, 1975). Political Prep, The Telegraph (Nashua)
  6. ^ Schneider, Robert W. Novelist to a Generation: The Life and Thought of Winston Churchill, p. 105 (1976)
  7. ^ Henderson, Brooks. Winston Churchill's Country, The Bookman (New York), August 1915, pp. 607, 617
  8. ^ (October 18, 1940). Mrs. Florence Shinn, Writer and Lecturer, The New York Times ("Mrs. Shinn's career until the World War was devoted to illustrating many of the popular works of fiction of the time. She did the illustrations for .... "Coniston" and many others.")
  9. ^ The Coniston Chronicle - Commemorative Edition (1911-2011) Archived 2014-05-01 at the Wayback Machine (2011) (Camp Coniston YMCA publication)

External links

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