"Who I hope will accept this as the successful accomplishment of the mission for which then years ago persuaded me to come to this country and which has occupied me ever since...": First Edition of F.A. Hayek’s Classic Treatise The Constitution of Liberty; With a full page inscription

  • The Constitution of Liberty.

The Constitution of Liberty.


Item Number: 40056

Chicago: The University of Chicago, 1960.

First edition of the economist’s influential work. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, lengthily inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Mr. W.H. Luhnow who I hope will accept this as the successful accomplishment of the mission for which then years ago persuaded me to come to this country and which has occupied me ever since- even though it was only more recently that I came to see how I could adequately present the case. With the compliments of the author F.A. Hayek Christmas 1959.” The recipient, William H. Luhnow was the head of the William Volker Trust, which brought Hayek to America. He was most well known for his management of the influential William Volker Fund during the period between 1947 and 1964 in the United States. Luhnow  directed the Fund to support libertarian and conservative intellectuals and academics. Luhnow began reading F.A. Hayek’s influential book The Road to Serfdom and developed into a classical liberal. As his familiarity with and commitment to liberal economic ideas grew, Luhnow began using more and more of his influence over his uncle’s charitable fund to give sizable contributions to libertarian and conservative causes.”Between April 1 and 10, 1947, a group of liberals met in the Hotel du Parc on Mont Pelerin, sur Vevey, in Switzerland, to discuss liberalism and its decline,the possibility of a liberal revival, and the desirability of forming an association of people who shared ‘certain common convictions’ about the nature of a free society. The conference was the idea of F.A. Hayek who organized it, with funds provided by Dr. Albert Hunold, who raised money from Swiss sources to cover the costs of the accommodation and European travel, and by Mr. W.H. Luhnow of the William Volker Charities Trust in Kansas City, U.S.A., who financed the travel of the American participants. In the final sessions of the conference, after discussion about the naming of a permanent body, and the preparation of a ‘statement of aims’ and ‘a memorandum of association’, the participants formally decided to found The Mont Pelerin Society. Later that year, on November 6, 1947, the Society was registered as an American corporation of 65 members under the presidency of Hayek” (R. Max Hartwell, The Re-emergence of Liberalism). Luhnow paid F. A. Hayek’s salary at the University of Chicago; he funded lectures that Milton and Rose Friedman turned into Capitalism and Freedom and he approved the grant that enabled Murray Rothbard to write Man, Economy and State. As early as 1946, Luhnow earmarked Volker Fund money to support Leonard Read and agreed to fund the establishment the Foundation for Economic Education, which became the first major post-war libertarian think-tank. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with a few small closed tears. The longest inscription from Hayek we have seen and an exceptional association, linking Hayek with the person responsible for bringing his work to the United States. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

The Constitution of Liberty is Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty, ideals that he believes have guided—and must continue to guide—the growth of Western civilization. "One of the great political works of our time, . . . the twentieth-century successor to John Stuart Mill's essay, 'On Liberty" (Henry Hazlitt).

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