The White Cliffs and Macculloch Hall

Remember the song The White Cliffs of Dover?

This was a beloved American pop song heard everywhere during and after World War II, even into the nineteen-fifties. Did you know that the song was inspired by  The White Cliffs, a novel-in-verse published in nineteen forty? That story was written by Macculloch Hall’s own poet-laureate, Alice Duer Miller.

Alice Duer married Henry Wise Miller, a great-great grandson of Louisa and George Macculloch raised in Macculloch Hall. Her book, The White Cliffs told a story of an American woman’s growing love for England during and after World War I. The lyrical story served as a rallying call for America to enter World War II, ending with the memorable lines,

But in a world where England is finished and dead,

I do not wish to live.

Life Magazine published The White Cliffs in full, as the first poem ever so honoured. It was such a hit with the public that it was read on the radio by reigning actors Lynne Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. The broadcast was a sensation. There were so may calls for it to be repeated that Lunt and Fontanne gave an equally unprecedented repeat performance shortly afterwards.

Winston Churchill credited the book with changing America’s stance on entering the war. The book sold nearly a million copies and was made into the film, The White Cliffs of Dover.