Conscientious Objectors Day, #OTD 15 May: Supporting those who say ‘No to War’ in 2024

The Conscientious Objectors Memorial Stone in Wales’ National Garden of Peace

“If the right to life is the first of all human rights

Being the one on which all other rights depend

The right to refuse to kill must be the second.” 

Inscription on COs Memorial Stone, Wales’ National Garden of Peace

#OTD ‘On this Day’, 15 May has been recognised worldwide since 1982 as International Conscientious Objectors Day. Halfway point between most nations’ Remembrance Days in November – which traditionally focus on military loss – COs Day provides a dedicated opportunity to reflect and learn about those who have taken a conscious stand against war: objectors of conscience, founded in political or religious beliefs, human rights and protest against state policies that they fundamentally disagree with.

Objecting to War in 2024 – Recognising the Refuseniks of Russia and Israel

Historically associated in the UK primarily with World War One and (to a slightly lesser extent) World War Two, Conscience has become a far more present issue in the last couple of years as conflicts have erupted between Israel and Palestine, and Russia and Ukraine. In 2024, civilians who oppose state aggression are again being imprisoned for their beliefs, dependent for their freedom on public support through campaigns by civil society networks like Amnesty International and War Resisters International.

This interactive map by Peace Pledge Union gives examples and case studies of Objectors from around the world.

Wales’ History of Objection from World War One to Today

The ‘Right to Protest’ enjoyed by most democratic societies today, from peace activism to foxhunting, owes much of its origins to the stand taken by objectors to the First World War.

A detailed history by Aled Eirug of ‘Welsh Opposition to the First World War’ – reviewed by WCIA’s team on publication in 2019 – offers an unprecedented insight into the motivations and stories of over 900 Conscientious Objectors from Wales, many of whom were imprisoned for their beliefs. In a mark of how far public opinion can swing, some of those ostracised by society during the patriotic ‘war fervour’ of WW1, were elected to parliament in the 1920s by the very same constituents by then recognising the urgency of peace after the loss of a generation. WCIA worked with Leeds University Research Fellow Cyril Pearce to make publicly accessible his ‘Pearce Register of Conscientious Objectors’, searchable through WCIA’s Peace Map.

WCIA created a touring exhibition over 2016-19, ‘Belief and Action’, which remains available for loan to community groups and venues. In Autumn 2018, Cyfarthfa Castle Museum ran a film project with young people from Merthyr Tydfil, exploring archives from Conscientious Objectors Tribunals over 1916-18 – where those who had applied for exemption from Military Service were ‘tried’. Their film ‘Without the Scales’ can be viewed below, or on Youtube.

Film by Coleg y Cymoedd students about Merthyr Tydfil’s WW1 Military Tribunals

Objection in Russia and Ukraine

Source: War Resisters International

Russia’s war in Ukraine over the last year has brought conscientious objection to a fore again, as many Russians have refused to attack their neighbours. Al Jazeera reported on widespread resistance to Russian conscription, whilst ‘The Conversation’ spotlighted Ukraine’s Human Rights contraventions from their ‘enforced conscription’ policy of banning men from leaving the country.

The International Fellowship of Reconciliation, IFOR amplify voices from COs and peace networks worldwide, including from Russia and Ukraine themselves. Elena Popova of the Russian movement of Conscientious Objectors in February 2023 said “since the start of this war people are very afraid in all sorts of ways; afraid they’ll all be grabbed and thrown into the meat-grinder. They feel their freedom is under immense pressure.”

War Resisters International have a ‘Ukraine’ homepage drawing together voices across it global network of pacifist groups, and have been monitoring and reporting on prosecutions against Ukrainian and Russian objectors.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

The tradition of protest against war has been continued in Wales, particularly through the CND movement. Over 2021-22, WCIA worked with CND Cymru to digitise and curate their campaigns and magazines from 1982 to today – explore CND’s history of activism in Wales.

Recruiting PHD Scholarship ‘From Wales to the World – a History of the Children’s Peace & Goodwill Message’

Closing date: 13 May 2024

Swansea University, WCIA and the National Library of Wales are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded collaborative doctoral studentship from October 2024 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.   

Every year without fail since 1922, a Message of Peace and Goodwill has been broadcast to the world in the name of the children of Wales. Emerging in response to the violence of the First World War and in support of international peace, the message elicited responses from young people around the globe. The Goodwill Message linked Wales and the world, and was a key means through which peace activists sought to mobilize children in the cause of peace against the backdrop of international upheaval. Despite having no parallel in modern history, little has been written of the history of the Goodwill Message or the international responses to it.   

This innovative project stands at the intersection of Welsh and international history. Based at Swansea University and the National Library of Wales and working in conjunction with the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, it will utilise the NLW’s rich collections to research the history of the first fifty years of the Goodwill Message, analysing how visions of peace were articulated in the face of international turmoil and questioning how young people appear in the historical record. There will be opportunities to take part in the programme of CDP Cohort Development events and other activities organized for CDP students by the AHRC, as well as training and development provided by Swansea University and the CDP Welsh Culture and Heritage Consortium. 


Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree at 2:1 level and should ideally have, or expect to receive, a relevant master’s-level qualification and/or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting. Suitable disciplines are flexible, but might include History, Politics, International Relations, Welsh. A reading knowledge of Welsh is a requirement for this studentship. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for a CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at £19,237 and an enhanced stiped of £600 p.a. Additional research expenses will also be available.

For further information, please visit:

Voices from the Women’s Peace Appeal: Kathleen Carpenter, Aberystwyth (1891-1970)

By Catherine Duigan, Professor (Hon.) of Environmental Science, Department of Geography and Earth Science, Aberystwyth University.  February 2024.

Address: Bronsiriol, Brynymor Road, Aberystwyth.

Members of the Literary & Debating Committee 1910-11, The University College of Wales Aberystwyth: Kathleen Zimmerman sits beside Greek and Latin scholar Ewart Gladstone Salathiel who was wounded when the 11th Brigade of the South Wales Borderers came under heavy machine gun fire at Mametz Wood. He died 10 days later on 17th July 1916.  Image from Aberystwyth University Archives.

Of course Kathleen Carpenter signed The Petition, clearly and confidently with her best fountain pen, as a testament to her loyalty and humanity. 

As the daughter of Frances Zimmerman, a German migrant to England, World War One shaped Kathleen’s life and identity.

Alongside future soldiers, she did her undergraduate studies at the University College of Wales Aberystwyth, obtaining her B.Sc. in 1910, afterwards taking the traditional path for women into teaching.   

No doubt she would have been aware of the banishment by a mob of Carl Hermann Ethé, a German national and Professor of Oriental Languages at Aberystwyth, in October 1914. The following month a newspaper notice declared that, by deed poll, Kathleen and her sister Bessey had “abandoned” the name of Zimmerman and permanently adopted Carpenter. 

In 1916-18 she taught in Birkenhead High School where the girls made felt bootees for soldiers suffering from trench foot, but German continued to be taught. An important naval area, wartime sentiments had already exploded in May 1915 after the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, with German-sounding shops being looted and burned.

In October 1919 Kathleen returned to Aberystwyth to start her M.Sc. studies on the impact of acid mine waters on the ecology of the local rivers.  As an assistant lecturer she is likely to have taught war veterans who had a reputation for challenging the status quo.

The Petition’s aspiration to influence foreign policy would have intrigued Kathleen, who eventually left Britain to work in several universities in the USA. There she developed her own links with The American Association of University Women who hosted The Petition deputation in Washington DC.

Mayday in the Peace Archives! Join an Inspiring Day on 1 May

On Wednesday 1 May, WCIA are inviting Temple Friends, volunteers, and students to join in an action packed afternoon as we launch a new heritage project and ‘Archiveathon Challenge’ for summer 2024 – helping explore and digitise materials from the Temple of Peace Archives for future posterity – alongside a range of other volunteering projects under the banner of ‘Temple Friends’.

Find out more and register for…

2023 Archiveathons Workshop in the Temple Libfrary with student placements from Cardiff University

The Peace Archives digitisation project is part of the UK-wide initiative ‘Our Heritage Our Stories‘, which is seeking to integrate local archives with national collections for future generations. WCIA are grateful to OHOS for contributing seed funding to enable this series of Archiveathons to take place over May-June 2024, enabling WCIA volunteers to take significant strides forward with yet unexplored and undigitising collections, whilst ensuring many thousands of peace heritage resources and hidden histories curated over the last decade, will be available 50-100 years hence as websites and digital technologies move on (as well as institutional knowledge and staff).

This event will see the launch of an exciting range of onsite Temple Volunteering projects, coming under the Umbrella of ‘Temple Friends‘ – the burgeoning network of people and organisations who consider themselves ‘Friends of Wales’ Temple of Peace’: existing partner organisations; ex-volunteers, staff, trustees and ‘alumni’; communities with memorials in the Peace Garden; researchers, educationalists and academics keen to explore the Temple’s rich archives and collections; or individuals with a passion for peace building and who would love to play their part in safeguarding and shaping the future of this iconic building. The Friends are likely to play a key consultative role in the event of any development proposals coming forward affecting future usage of the Temple of Peace & Health, acting alongside WCIA as guardians of the Temple’s founding mission and purpose, as a public space gifted in 1934 to the people of Wales (for 999 years).

Who’s this for?

This will be a open afternon with 3 components, the core session being the participatory workshop for all from 14.00-16.30 (below); with the options to also join a Temple Tour beforehand, and / or the ‘Temple Friends‘ discussion afterwards. We hope this bring together, be of interest and enjoyment to:

  • Students starting work experience ‘Insights’ placement projects through Cardiff University over May-June, for which this will be ‘induction day’.
  • Supporters of the ‘Temple Friends’ Network keen to be help, shape and be involved in delivery of onsite activities and improvements to the Temple and Peace Garden
  • General volunteer and research enquiries, who would like to use the archives or pop in on a more casual basis to help when they can with week to week tasks.

We hope you can join us for Mayday! For more information on the indivdiual parts of the day, please scroll down or visit the individual event pages, from which you can register

Mayday Events in More Detail

12.30-14.00 Lunchtime Temple Tour

to include the National Garden of Peace (not usually included in lunchtime tours, this will be an experimental ‘trial tour’ integrating the newly-developed peace garden memorials trail). Temple Tours homeage here

14.00-16.30 Mayday ‘Temple Friends’ Placement Projects & Volunteering Workshop

Supported and enabled by OHOS, Our Heritage, Our Stories – will include a talk on the ‘big ambition’ to integrate local archives into National Collections through harnessing power of AI and communities (the sort of professional knowledge insights you won’t get through Youtube!) 

An induction briefing and 121 / group planning session for all individuals who have expressed an interest in volunteering, undertaking archives research, heritage or other onsite projects at the Temple of Peace, this will include:

  • Peace Archives: An introduction and overview of the Temple Library, archives and collections, hidden histories recently uncovered – and new histories yet unexplored.
  • Towards A ‘National Collection’: short talk from ‘Our Heritage, Our Stories’, who are funding WCIA’s volunteer archiveathons over May to July 2023, to hear about their project’s ‘big aim’ – to integrate local digitised archives into national (Wales and UK) online collections for future generations, 50-100 years hence, through harnessing the power of artificial intelligence – and local communities.
  • ‘Archiveathon’: introduction to new digitisation projects on Temple Archives & Collections, that volunteers and Temple Friends can help with over May-July 2024. Participants can have a go straight away, at digitising as yet unexplored materials.
  • Project Planning 121s: For Temple Friends, volunteers and student placements interested in leading work on specific volunteering projects over May-June 2023, there will be the opportunity for individual 121 planning and mentoring discussions with WCIA Heritage and Volunteering staff, to finalise detailed plans for following weeks.

Explore WCIA’s Temple Heritage, Archives and Onsite volunteering opportunities, blogs / testimonials from previous placements, and examples of the work they have produced.

Friends through SGI UK gathered in 2023 to present a collection of Peace References to the Temple Library

17.00-18.00 Temple Friends Meeting

Volunteer Alumni involved with building the Peace Garden

Room 39, Temple of Peace with option to join remotely via Zoom / Teams TBC

Following on from WCIA’s Mayday Volunteering Workshop & Archiveathon (from 14.-16.30) and lunchtime Temple Tour (12.30-13.45) – to which Temple Friends are invited to fully participate – this meeting will give the opportunity to talk through in more detail the development of the ‘Temple Friends’ Network into a new phase of activity.


  • to what degree various Temple volunteering projects can come together under the banner of Temple Friends
  • how individual (or prospective Temple Friends can help, eg through becoming project leaders guiding and mentoring younger volunteers in piecing together contrubutions to wider projects (such as on  the Peace Garden and particular Archives & Collections such as SGI UK or International Volunteering)
  • upcoming Events of interest
  • communications tools and preferences (eg transitioning to Google Group).

Facilitated by Dr Emma West, this discussion is open to any who see themself as a friend and would like to join in an open discussion – whether having attended a previous meeting or not (including attendees from the earlier Mayday Volunteering Projects session).

#AnniesDiary100: Southampton, ‘The Last Post’ – and the Women’s Peace Legacy

RMS Olympic sailing up the Solent – Wikimedia Commons

““A Diolch mawr am hynny – Rhyfeddol mor dda mae Duw wedi bod i ni heb anhap na ddamwain. Diolch lddo!”

Last entry in Annie’s Diary – reflecting her strongly Methodist upbringing – approximately translating to:

“It’s amazing how good God has been to us, without mishap or accident. Thanks be to Him!”

Thursday March 27th 1924

Page 62

Went on deck early & had lunch and dinner up there. Ship going very steadily. Read John Galsworthy’s. Mr John Davies very attentive [purser of the RMS Olympic, who had looked after Annie whilst very ill on the voyage home]. Sat up until nearly 10pm had better night. Ship’s run 511 miles. A little rusty & wet at night.

Friday March 28th 1924

Have sat indoors writing letters most of afternoon. This a.m Mr Jones took us round the ship. The kitchens, store rooms, first class accommodation etc. Getting nearer & nearer home a diolch mawr au hwey –“A Diolch mawr am hynny – Rhyfeddol mor dda mae Duw wedi bod i ni heb anhap na ddamwain. Diolch lddo!

Copied out article for S.W.D news – not very good.

*image of memorial cover*

Saturday March 29th 1924 – The End?

RMS Olympic dismebarking at Southampton Docks

Annie Hughes Griffiths American Diary ends with her entry of 28th March – the day of arrival back in the UK must have been busy and exhausting, and perhaps ‘back to normal’ for a woman of Annie’s incredible industry! On 29 March 1924. the RMS Olympic sailed passed the Isle of White and the Solent to dock in Southampton, from whence Annie would have caught the boat train home to London and her eagerly awaiting husband Peter Hughes Griffiths and son Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, then approaching his 25th birthday.

And this, our friends and followers, sadly is the end of Annie’s Diary from 1924 – as she disembarked the Olympic and made her way homewards, and into history. Annie indeed had her own 51st Birthday to look forward to a few weeks later (having been born 5 April 1873) – she had certainly made the most of her 50th year, into which had been crammed the entire Women’s Peace Appeal to America from inception in Aberystwyth, a campaign engaging 390,296 women, the 2 month peace tour of America, wordwide media profile and triumphal return to Wales and the WLNU, of which she became President.

There continued to be considerable press coverage of the Women’s Peace Petition to America, with many ‘retrospectives’ articles exploring the impact of the movement on Wales’ standing in the world – examples of which can be explored in the WLNU’s Press Cuttings book which remains in the WLNU Archives at the National Library, Aberystwyth and is digitised on People’s Collection Wales (below):

WLNU Press Cuttings from the 31 March South Wales News, reflecting on the achievements of the women’s peace tour. Explore more on People’s Collection Wales at:…

What happened next? Legacy of the American Peace Tour

In the weeks following their return, Annie alongside her Peace Delegation partners Elined Prys and Mary Ellis were in tremendous demand to give talks about their remarkable ‘Peace Tour’ of America. Annie’s was the ‘spotlight address’ 2 months later at the Welsh League of Nations Union conference in Aberystwyth, where she was elected to become President of the WLNU.

US President Calvin Coolidge with delegates of the 1925 ‘Conference on the Causes and Cure of War’ in Washington

There she read out first responses from the women of America, in which they committed to establishing a ‘Conference for the Cause and Cure of War’, as a token of their gratitude for the efforts of the Welsh women who had vefy much inspired the coming together of US movements invlving over 18 million women.

The Welsh League of Nations Union Annual Report for 1925, ‘Wales and World Peace’ applauded the efforts of the Women’s Delegation, and carried a ‘letter of response from America’ (image 8 in scan / page 12 of yearbook) from Mrs Carrie Chapman Catt, President of the National American Women Suffrage Association, following their first Conference on the Cause and Cure of War. (RH)

Held in 1925 by 9 organisations (representing 5 million American women) who were initially brought together for the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition delegation visit, the initial CCCW conference was so successful they were held annually until 1941. After WW2, the work of CCCW continued as the ‘Committee for Education on Lasting Peace’.

The following year, in 1925, their actions also inspired the Churches of Wales to address a similar memorial petition to the Churches of Christ in America, which was presented in December 1925 to their gathering in Detroit by Rev Gwilym Davies of the WLNU.

In July 1926, such was the profile of Wales’ peace building efforts on the world stage, that the WLNU organised and hosted at Aberystwyth University the World Congress of the International Federation of League of Nations Societies (IFLNS) – with Annie herself presiding over a number of sessions, and photographed in the local press sharing a car with the German Ambassador Count Bernstorff (RH), who would later write that this event was one of the most profound experiences of his diplomatic career.

In 1928, Wales hosted a group of American Women Peacemakers who joined forces with Welsh women to campaign on the Kellogg Pact.

In 1931, women of Wales alongside WLNU members nationwide reignited the flame of the petition, by gathering signatures for a World Disarmament Memorial presented in January 1932 to Arthur Henderson as Chair at the nopening of the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva.

In 1935, 1,025.040 people (yes – over a MILLION!) – across Wales signed up to the ‘Peace Ballot‘ – which has been dubbed the UK’s first referendum – which posed searching questions about how Britain should respond to the escalating situation across Europe and reinforcing the role of the League of Nations in settling disputes.

In 1938, women were at the forefront of the opening of Wales’ Temple of Peace on 23 November 1938, the honour being performed by Mrs Minnie James of Dowlais on behalf of ‘war bereaved mothers of Wales and the World’.

And then tragically, in September 1939, World War 2 broke out – shattering their dreams ‘of a warless world’.

However, out of the ashes of the secodn world war, emerged the United Nations. And there is another remarkable story to be told of the quite incredible role that Welsh Peacemakers played in ‘Uniting Nations’, shaping the foundations of this global institution – the organs of which did not energe from nowhere. Many of UN bodies were based upon proposals dreamed up – but considered in the 1920s-30s politically impractical – by the campaigns of peace makers in Wales, America and elsewhere. Rev Gwilym Davies, Hon Director of WLNU, wrote the constitution of UNESCO from Gregynog in Powys. And the staff of the nacent Temple of Peace were secondeed to organise the first UN General Assembly, the opening programme for which has more than a slight Welsh flavour: it reads like an Eisteddfod schedule!

And perhaps even more remarkably, on the American side of the Atlantic, many of the individuals touched by the 1924 peace petition campaign, were playing highly influential roles in US Government – including one Walter Kotschnig, whom Elined Prys had got engaged to in New York at the end of their ‘Peace Tour’ who by then was working with the US State Department, and a key figure ‘behind the scenes’ in US leadership of the new United Nations.

So whilst some might argue the the Women’s Peace Petition didn’t seem to have the success they sought – America had not signed ujp to the League of Nations in the 1920s as they hoped, and remained isolationist in world affairs even into the first years of WW2 – the true impact of this incredible story is to be seen two decades later, in the international insttitions that endure to this day.

Whilst the United Nations has not been able to prevent war completely in the 75 years since the UN’s founding, it remains the neraest thing our world has to an institution enshrining 390,296 Welsh Womens’ dream…

…to hand down to the generations who come after us, the proud heritage of a warless world.”

Women’s Petition to America Peace Declaration, 1924

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Explore Further:

Cant Diolch – A Hundred Thanks!

WCIA would like to give a heartfelt thankyou to Dr Eirlys Barker and colleagues from Heddwch Nain USA for their tremendous inputs throughout the course of sharing Annie’s Diary 100, filling in fantastic and previously unpublished details of the ‘American side’ of the story as they toured the states of America with the ‘Welsh Peace Message’. We also extend thanks to the descendents and family of Elined Prys, Annie’s co-delegate on the Peace Tour, who shared and gave permission to use Elined’s 1924 letters form the Kotschnig Family Archive. Diolch am Galon!

Annie Jane Hughes Griffiths some years after the Women’s Peace Tour of America – from the TI & Mari Ellis Papers at National Library of Wales (Annie’s son)
Click to order the Book, ‘Yr Apel’ by Lolfa Publishing

Week 9 of #AnniesDiary100 – Voyage on the RMS Olympic, homewards to Wales

Annie’s Diary Excerpts – 22-29 March 1924

Annies Diary – Digitised Pages | Annies Diary – Transcription | Annie’s Diary – Who’s Who

Page 60Page 61Page 62

Saturday March 22nd 1924 – Farewell to New York – with an ‘Olympic’ Collision

Page 60

“Got up early & had breakfast – had telephone message from Rev Vicar of St John the Divine, saying a Miss Portia Willis had tried to get me on the phone all the previous day wanting me to speak to them at a meeting the last Thursday in April, had heard me speak at the Biltmore Dinner, much impressed with my sincerity etc. He took a load off my mind, I had feared I had made a fool of myself on the Thursday night – he re-assured me.

Had a phone message from Mrs McCulloch. She was all unified with ‘La Grippe’. Her husband phoned for her – got our things ready – cabled to Peter re Megane’s wedding & our sailing. & got down to the boat by 10.a.m. – saw Mr Bird White Star Line Agent, who had heard me on the radio on Thursday night – Mr. Fairman, Mr & Mrs Allison came to see us off.

Incident of Elined running off with Miss Parry Jones’s luggage & coat. Got our cabin D-58 & went on deck to see American sky line as we drifted down the river. Had a splendid view of the Statue of Liberty – Had lunch & dinner in dining room. Not too appetising – went to bed – but could not sleep.

Annie records here an astonishing and historic incident: “As the Olympic was turning to make her way down river – the Fort St George a boat making for Bermuda with 300 passengers onboard came across the Olympic & was badly damaged. The Olympic only having her propellor deranged – we were wholly unconscious of the accident until we were out at sea. “

The RMS Olympic, sister ship to the ‘Titanic’ (which had famously sunk 12 years earlier on the transatlantic voyage to New York), on which Annie and her companions returned to the UK from their Peace Tour of America.
Contemporary postcard of the ‘Fort St George’ which collided in the Hudson River with the RMS Olympic, on which Annie was returning to Wales.

Great Ocean Liners‘ profiles the Olympic as “Launched (in 1911) as the world’s largest moving object, at the time, the RMS Olympic set the records for size and opulence. Launched after the Lusitania and Mauretania, the Olympic class ships were designed for size, comfort, and amenities instead of impressive speed. Cruising at a modest 21 knots, the RMS Olympic could sail between Europe and America on a 6 day schedule.  Surviving several crashes throughout her career (of which Annie’s was the third colission), the Olympic had been nicknamed “Old Reliable” by the time she was retired. Of the three Olympic class ships, the RMS Olympic proved to be the longest lasting and most successful .”

The Olympic / Fort St George collision is recorded on ‘Ships Nostalgia’ thus: “On 22 March 1924, the OLYMPIC was involved in a collision with the small liner FORT St GEORGE as she was reversing from her berth. The FORT St GEORGE had crossed her path in the River Hudson and she sustained extensive damage. At first it appeared that the OLYMPIC had only sustained minor damage, but it was later revealed that her sternpost had been fractured, necessitating the replacement of her entire stern frame. She was sent to her builder’s at Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast for the repairs to be undertaken.”

White Star History also records the incident: “While departing New York on 22nd March 1924, Olympic collided with Fort St. George, of the Furness Bermuda Line, by accidentally backing into the smaller ship. Fort St George sustained considerable damage which meant her sailing had to be cancelled, Olympic was initially thought to only have minor damage and was able to continue, although, later it was discovered that Olympic’s stern frame was so badly damaged that it had to be replaced. It was found that the collision was the fault of Fort St. George.”

The Transatlantic Voyages taken by Annie and her colleagues conveying the Women’s Peace Petition from Wales to America in 1924, from Liverpool to New York on the RMS Cedric, and returning from NYC to Southampton on the RMS Olympic – on this day 100 yeasrs ago!

Page 61

Crossing the Atlantic

From their New York departure, their 6 day Transatlantic Crossing homewards towards Southhampton inspired somewhat shorter entries for the remainder of Annies Diary – it sounds like a pretty rough crossing! Annie recorded the daily mileage as ‘ship’s run’ with a fairly consistent 510 – 515 miles per day.

Sunday March 23rd  1924

“Got up & dressed but did not feel well. Stayed in bed all day – could eat nothing –  had lemon water and orange twice to drink. Mr Jones Chief Steward, a native of Llandudno, now of Liverpool, very kind & attentive – He and Mr Elliot the Purser called to see me in the Cabin– very anxious to do all to please and make us comfortable. Rather a rough day in ship’s run..

Monday March 24th 1924

I spent the day in bed – no ‘hwyl’ for anything bad throat. Wanted no food. Read Receynaw’s Steps. Ship’s run 511 rules.

(Tuesday) Sunday March 25th

Got up & on deck by 11:30am. Had lunch & dinner on deck. Mr Jones Chief Steward most kind and attentive. Lazed, slept & read. Bright & sunny day. Ship’s run 511 rules.

Wednesday March 26th 1924

Got up about 9:30 & have been on deck all day. Bright and sunny day. Had nice lunch of lamb cutlets, met Mr John Davies, the ship’s butcher, a member of Webster Rd Chapel, Liverpool, a native of Ruthin. Felt better & better, spent the whole day on deck. Ship’s run 513 rules. Boat going very steadily – with so little movement.

Page 62

Thursday March 27th 1924

Went on deck early & had lunch and dinner up there. Ship going very steadily. Read John Galsworthy’s. Mr John Davies very attentive. Sat up until nearly 10pm had better night. Ship’s run 511 rules. A little rusty & wet at night.

“Diolch mawr au hwey – Rhyfeddol niordda niae dior wedi bod I ni heb au hap naa ddauwwain Diolch lddo!”

Last entry in Annie’s Diary, with approximate translation

Friday March 28th 1924

Have sat indoors writing letters most of afternoon. This a.m Mr Jones took us round the ship. The kitchens, store rooms, first class accommodation etc. Getting nearer & nearer home a diolch mawr au hwey – Rhyfeddol niordda niae dior wedi bod I ni heb au hap naa ddauwwain Diolch lddo!

Copied out article for S.W.D news – not very good.

*image of memorial cover*

The End?

And this, our friends and followers, sadly is the end of Annie’s Diary from 1924! We will however be producing one last blog post on their arrival back to Southamptoin, exploring the legacy of the Peace Petition trip to America, and what came next. Thankyou for following, and we hope Annie’s words will inspire you and othewrs to get involved in transcribing the petition, and bringing their story further to life!

– – – – – – – – –

Explore Further:

2024 Peace and Goodwill Message: ‘Hope is an Action’

WCIA are delighted to have partnered with Urdd Gobaith Cymru and Academi Heddwch to support this year’s Youth Message of Peace and Goodwill, in particular with creation of an Education Resources Pack for Schools that is free and available online.

In 2024, Wales’ Peace and Goodwill Message will celebrate the centenary of the remarkable Welsh Women’s Peace Petition of 1923-4, highlighting the need to advocate for peace a hundred years on.

A century ago, on the 19th of February 1924, the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition chest was opened with its 390, 296 signatures in front of 600 US women at the Biltmore Hotel, New York.

The petition was an act of hope for world peace, and its story has inspired the Urdd to encourage a group of young women to come together to create this year’s Peace and Goodwill Message.

The message emphasizes the importance of taking action and persistently advocating for peace. It asserts that atrocities, wars, and violence must be stopped, and that cooperation, passion, and hope are the driving forces that can lead the towards a better future.

The Youth Peace & Goodwill Message originated in 1922 as the very first post-WW1 campaign of the Welsh League of Nations Union, WCIA’s predecessor body. The Peace Message has now been broadcast annually for 102 years, as multiple generations of young Welsh people have shaped their visions for building a better world. Explore the history of the Peace Message.

2024 Peace and Goodwill Message Workshop

To create this year’s message, the Urdd held a workshop in the Cardiff Urdd Center on the 25-26 of January. Staff members, apprentices and volunteers of the Urdd, and students of the ESOL course (learning English as a second language) of Cardiff and Vale Collage all came together for the workshop. All the attendees were women, to reflect the message of the Welsh women’s petition 1923-1924.

Elan Evans and the poet and singer, Casi Wyn, led an engaging workshop where participants delved into discussions about peace and the historical significance of the petition. Over the course of two days, a safe and relaxing atmosphere was created, which led to important conversations shared amongst the young women which shaped the direction of the message.

Special guests were invited to enhance the workshop experience. Mererid Hopwood, Ffion Fielding from WCIA, Zoey Allen, and Mah Kakar delivered powerful talks. Casi Wyn transformed the ideas and important contributions by the young women down on paper to create the 2024 message, and Efa Blosse-Mason will create the animation for the film.

Sam Mutter – Digital Heritage Placement Blog

In June 2023, I started my internship as Digital Heritage Officer with the WCIA, after completing my insight placement just days before. I applied for this position after hearing an internship was being offered during the summer months, and as I had immensely enjoyed my time working with the WCIA up to that point, I felt that it would be an exciting progression that would allow me to continue the momentum I had built up working in the archival sector.

The job at hand however, would be an intense step up, as through my previous work with the Minnie James Collection, I had been working with just over 100 files, whereas this internship would have me reviewing and archiving up to 10,000 completely new files and documents. Specifically, I was tasked with going through an assortment of unorganised files, designating suitable names for each and separating them out into already existing collections, as well as creating all new collections when necessary. Once this was done, I was to upload this colossal new batch of files to the People’s Collection Wales, so that anyone could freely access them. Initially, the sheer scale of this task seemed almost insurmountable in the months I had to complete it, however, through extensive planning, organisation and compartmentalisation, I am happy to say that this once daunting task has been completed and the collection of new documents are now readily available to the public through the People’s Collection Wales.

The first step I took on this long journey to completion, was to consolidate all the files onto one thumb drive, as they were initially scattered across multiple drives and cloud storage devices. As tricky as this task was considering the number of files that had to be moved, once this was done I was able to set about giving each file a suitable name. Luckily, many of these documents were best consolidated together in longer multi-part files, which allowed me to name many larger batches simultaneously. Nevertheless, this stage of the process was undoubtedly the longest, spanning a month and a half of work, but by learning some new time-saving tips and tricks along the way, I was able to complete this stage of the task relatively simply, whilst heightening some valuable skills in pre-emptive planning and organisation. Moreover, during this relatively passive stage, I was constantly thinking of ways to approach the next task, which would involve sorting all these documents into suitable collections. 

Whilst this was all happening, I was invited to attend a work trip to the National Library in Aberystwyth, so I could talk through my plans with one of the People’s Collection Wales team. I cannot overstate how valuable this trip was, as through it, I was able to gain a greater insight in how a large scale archive such as the National library functions, as well as become accustomed to and contribute in professional strategy meetings within the heritage and archival sectors. Furthermore, the building itself was incredibly beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around it with my colleagues, where we even discovered a display for the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition, which the WCIA had helped to uncover. As I have been able to garner such worthwhile experience this early into my career, work trips such as these will undoubtedly aid me significantly further down the line. 

Once back in Cardiff, the final stage of my internship could begin. My task was now to efficiently catalogue the now fully named documents into suitable collections, and to create some broad descriptions that could be used for each in the uploading process. This was relatively pain-free, as I was able to use Excel and its shortcut functions to streamline the process. It was important to get as much useful information down as possible at this stage, as it would make the uploading process far swifter if I was assured that I had everything I needed to simply copy and paste it across with little confusion. Luckily, because of this prior preparation, finally uploading the files to the People’s Collection Wales was simple and immensely satisfying, seeing months of the planning and work pay off with each successful upload.

I would like to thank everyone at the WCIA for their support and wisdom during my internship. My time at the WCIA has been unbelievably enriching for me, and I truly believe I have become a far more confident and capable person because of it. I would love to continue to work with this wonderful organisation in some capacity further down the line and I am excited for whatever the future holds next. 


Week 8 of #AnniesDiary100 – Utica & New York #OnThisDay March 1924

100 years ago on 21 March 1924, a great sendoff in New York thanked Annie Hughes Griffiths and the ‘Welsh Peace Tour’ delegation for their efforts in bringing Wales’ Peace Petition to the women of America – and wished them well on their voyage home. How did they spend their last week in the United States?

Our last post from Annie’s Diary recorded their transcontinental railroad adventure returning from the West Coast of California, back towards the East Coast – a journey of several days, with an insight into 1920s sightseeing as they visited en route the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Chicago and Niagara Falls on the US / Canada border. This was the only part of their 2 month long US ‘peace tour’, where Annie and her travelling companion Gladys had given themselves a little respite from the endless talks, meetings and press interviews around the Women’s Peace Petition and just enjoyed ‘being tourists’. But they promptly made up for that in a flurry of engagements over the final week of the tour, returning to New York City via Utica in upstate New York.

Annie’s Diary Excerpts – 17-22 March 1924

Annies Diary – Digitised Pages

Annies Diary – Transcription

Annie’s Diary – Who’s Who

Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60

Monday March 17th 1924: Niagara to Utica – and Elined’s Engagement

Page 52

“No sign of Elined.

Elined Prys at the Women’s Petition pesentation to the White House, 21 Feb 1924

We played round bought some trifles s.p. post came until 3.42pm when we left by train for Utica – Leaving Georgette [Belgian student they had befriended at Niagara Falls] alone on the platform. We had a pleasant trip by train to Utica; passing through Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, where Miss Carver & her brother in law came to see us pass through. Miss Carver looked well & bonnie & was very cheery & told us the news of Elined’s engagement to an Austrian Count!! She told us she intended sailing for home on April 5th.

This remarkable piece of news records Elined Prys’ engagement to Walter Maria Kotschnig -who was Austrian, if not quite a Count! A Swiss International Student Service activist, he had been ‘nursed to health’ by Elined as a League of Nations volunteer in the Netherlands following contraction of Tuberculosis. Walter Kotschnig went on to become Director of the High Commission for Refugees for the League of Nations, and was one of the founders of the United Nations at Dumbarton Oaks in 1945, and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; his archives (1920-1984) are held at Albany (view New York Times obituary). He can be explored in UN Photos, along with a fascinating post about his role in the German Refugee Scholar Crisis of 1936.

After Elined’s women’s peace petition activities of 1924, the newly married couple settled in Geneva, before emigrating to the United States (Massachussets) in 1936. Elined was a prominent Quaker and leading Psychologist, an associate of Carl Jung, and went on to become influential in the study of psychology and religion. She founded the Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology which remains active today. An excellent ‘life overview’ beynd the women’s petition, a short biography of Elined Prys Kotschnig is available here

We got to Utica at 9.42, where we were met by Rev T.O. Hughes of one of the Welsh American Churches who was supplying [as a Minister] at Utica – Mr Henry Hughes of the “Utica Press” & Mr Morris Williams secretary of the Cymreigyddion Society. We waited about for a time, hoping to have news of Elined & I gave Mr Hughes a short interview & then we went by taxi to the Hotel Utica, where reservations had been made for us by the Welsh friends.

Upon reaching the hotel we found several ladies awaiting our arrival – Shy, timid women who gave us a warm welcome, standing in a semi circle & beaming upon us & we were so tired, we just wanted to go to our rooms to rest- we were shown our rooms 605-606. Two rooms & a bathroom- reserved for Elined & Mrs Thomas and me.

We had just begun to unpack when two ladies arrived – Mrs Hitchcock, of whom more anon, & Mrs Lloyd, wife of brother in law to Mrs Elvet-Lewis, thro her first husband. The former talked & sputtered. The other tried to get in a little remark edgeways, but failed. We were then left in peace & had a good night’s rest.

Page 53

Tuesday 18 March 1924 – addressing the Welsh Communities of Utica

Had our breakfast brought up to me & then got dressed by 10.a.m. Had to give an address for this luncheon which was fixed for 12 o’clock. At 11.a.m. Mrs John Evans who had tried to arrange a Welsh tea party called at the Hotel to see me & with her was Mrs Professor (?) _ Evans. After discussing the matter I arranged to meet the Welsh women at 10:30 the following morning at the Welsh Schoolroom.

At 12 we went back to the room where luncheon was and where we found a company of 450 to 500 people assembled. Including a large number of men – the lunch had been arranged by the St. Davids’ Womens’ Club [still active 100 years later] & they had invited representatives of the 10 other womens’ clubs in the city & these 10 clubs and representatives at the speakers table.

Mrs Hitchcock [Mrs Clarence W Hitchcock, nee Jennie Williams, very active among American Welsh community] Pres. of the St Davids’ club presented – I after having a good meal – Mrs Hitchcock spoke & introduced me – then I spoke & then greetings were extended to me from the different representatives present – a bouquet of sweet peas was given to Mrs Thomas & me by the President of the Jewish Women’s Club who spoke afterwards & said something like this.

Page 54

Mr Morris Williams & Mrs Parry, Pres. of Cymreigyddion Society spoke to us & all acclaimed Wales & us for coming over with such a message & promised to do all they could towards promoting the ideals of World Peace – they also sent greetings & promises & appreciation to the women of Wales. It was a very pleasant gathering – well managed and successfully arranged. We heard echoes of domestic misunderstanding & differences.

St David’s Day Women’s Club, Utica – Y Drych, 24 April 1924

We held quite a reception after the luncheon was over until Mrs Hitchcock & a Mrs Hasard captured us & took us for a drive around the Boulevard of Utica – then to the Citizen Club – where we listened to the dullest accounts of some places on the Hudson – letters had been written by some people living in this place & were read by women who had no idea of the elements of voice production – then the chair woman called upon me quite unexpectedly to give my message – I did so – then _ with Mrs Alcock & Miss Butcher & some other ladies as guests of the Citizen Club – Then I had an hours rest mercifully for I was very tired.

To the Church where the Welsh meeting was to be held – presided over by Mrs Morris Williams – Dr Schneider gave greetings on behalf of the Churches of the City – & spoke splendidly. Some singing. Welsh hymns sung & I gave an account of the memorial & we were presented with an American flag by Mr Parry, President of the Cymreigyddion Soc: & after several other speakers had taken part the meeting terminated. Nellie Owen knew a Gwilym Owen in Liverpool. Several people came & spoke to us & we had quite a reception. We then walked back to the hotel with Mrs Hitchcock who took us into a restaurant – for an iced drink. A peculiar & clever lady this, – full of kindness, nouce, and ability, spends more

Page 55

than half her time from home – lives 5 miles outside Utica – has a husband & a boy in college & a girl training as librarian at college in Utica. Her husband has two telephones to the home but tells her he can never get her there. She attends various meetings & is out late almost every night & sees very little of her family – She has no maid & does most of her housework in the mornings before leaving for a days’ work outside her home. 

We were glad to get to bed as we were very tired – no news of Elined though I wired to Buffalo in the morning suggesting of her movements.”

Wednesday March 19th – Showered with Mementoes of Utica

“Had breakfast downstairs, packed and ready by 10 a.m. when Mrs Hitchcock called & took us & our baggage in a car to see Mrs Thomas, another lady from Ffestiniog who was well up in the affairs of Wales, tho ‘having’ left there many many years ago. A great admirer of Tom. Called her firstborn Tom Ellis [Annie’s first husband, who had died very young in 1899], her second William Evans Gladstone, her third  John Morley, and if she had had a 4th he was to be Owen Morgan Evans – very interesting and well read old lady but had got hold of some myth about her father and mine starting Aberystwyth College!!

From seeing her we went – on to the schoolroom of the Welsh Chapel, where about 50 women had assembled to meet us. Mrs Saw: (Proff) Evans presided & she expressed the satisfaction & pleasure of those present etc etc. I then said a few words – & then Mrs Thomas & I were presented with gifts. I had a silver fruit & flower vase – & Mrs Thomas had a pie slice. We both acknowledged the gifts with much emotion – it was such a surprise; coming from these women whom we had never known or not before – it was truly unexpected, but very pleasant.

Page 56

Met a dear old friend of Lily’s and a maid of Uncle D.C. Davies who gave me a present of a cup and saucer and plate which belonged to Uncle & Aunty Davies. Green & white. Met a relative of Tom’s – a Mrs Rees, who gave me a patchwork bag. From there we went under Mrs Louis Williams’ guidance to the station, where we met Mrs Hitchcock & some other ladies.

Contemporary poster for Train from Utica to NYC

One section sat on one side of the bench – another section on the other – Mrs Hitchcock representing one element – Mrs John Evans the other & they did not blend. They were all very kind to us, but not quite so understanding towards each other. We left Utica happily after receiving much kindness from the Welsh friends there.

We had a very pleasant trip down from Utica to New York – along the banks of the Hudson River – the scenery was quite Swiss in parts, the snow capped mountains behind & little islands appearing now and again all beautifully green-fresh looking.

Arriving at New York, we made our way to the Women’s University Club. I found letters and papers awaiting us – we had dinner at this Club and Miss Chaudor joined us. Then Mrs Thomas and I went to see “Stepping Stones” at the Globe Theatre [apparently a ‘musical comedy version of Little Red Riding Hood’] – Mrs Thomas’ standing treat. A very enjoyable entertainment. Mrs Fred Stone, Mrs Stone & their daughter being the chief actors – enjoyed it thoroughly. Back to club and to bed – had looked up Elined at Y.W.C.A, but did not get news of her.

Meanwhile, Elined Prys had been searching for Annie…

From letters written by Elined Prys in 1924 and now part of the Kotschnig family archive, it becomes apparent that she too had been looking for Annie – a reminder of an era long before mobile phones and ninstant messaging! With the benefit of modern day hindsight, here is her side of the story as uncovered by Dr Eirlys Barker from Heddwch Nain US. Elined stayed in the New York area following their trip to Washington in late March – first at the National Training School of the YWCA, and saw various doctors – had her hearing restored.  Her March 7 letter records:  “I’ve gained 600-800 per cent in the hearing of my right ear! And the left is now normal.” 

She had lots of friends from Europe (from her involvement in the Red Cross and YWCA) in Boston and Philadelphia and visited another in Canada, and gave informal talks.  She just managed to miss Annie in Utica somehow – though she did get her hair bobbed. From Elined’s letter dated March 16: “I was to have met Mrs. Griffiths & Mrs. Thomas there, but when I got to the hotel, there were going to stay at, I found nothing was known of them. So I left a note asking them to phone me here when they arrived, but they haven’t done so, & I don’t know where they can be. Probably they are at some other hotel, & had written to me at N.Y., but I left N.Y. on Friday, so didn’t get their letter. We were to have gone to Utica together to-day, to address the Welsh colony there, but since I have heard nothing, I shall just return to N.Y. overnight now – no doubt I’ll see them again there!”

Annie and Companions travelled from Utica (just SE of Lake Ontario) to New York City – map from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday March 20th – ‘Play up Wales!’ in New York

On finally catching up, Annie does not sound impressed…! “Elined arrived in the Club, told us she had been to Buffalo & Niagara but found no news of us, so went on to stay with some friends, making no effort to find out where we were in Utica. We went to change money & do a little shopping in the morning – & then returned to the Club.”

Page 57

New York Women’s Colony Club , where they were welcomed back to NYC from their ‘Peace Tour’ of the US

“Elined & I were invited to lunch at the Colony Club by Mrs Ruth Morgan [of the American League of Women Voters]. We got there by 1.15pm & met Miss Morgan & her mother, had a delicious lunch, & Mrs Morgan spoke of messages which should be sent by women of America to women of Wales in reply to their message. These replies were to be provided for the Annual Meeting of the Welsh Council of the League of Nations Union – in Whit week.”

The replies Annie refers to were indeeed published in the Welsh League of Nations Union’s 1925 Annual Report, presented to their membership gathering in Aberystwyth.

1925 peace message response from women of America to women of Wales
New York’s prestigiious Biltmore Hotel, where on 19 February 1924 the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition was presented to the women of America at a ‘grand luncheon’ – and also venue for their ‘sendoff dinner’ on 21 March 1924

“Mrs Morgan brought us back to the Club in a taxi and left us there. Later in the afternoon we three went to Ex. Pres Roosevelt’s first home to tea, the house is now a museum. We were welcomed by Mrs Alexander Lambert who is much interested in the work of the museum. Then Mrs Laidlaw arrived & presented to with the the papers, appertaining to the arranging of the luncheon & the Hospitality Committee etc – all put up neatly in vellum cases. Then Mrs Lewis the Librarian joined us & we all had tea together. Elined left early to meet Dr Wylder. Mrs Thomas & I went with Mrs Laidlaw in a taxi to the Club.” 

We had some telephone calls to see to, including one from Leila Megane, who had decided to get married the following day, & wished me to give her away. We then dressed ourselves in our evening clothes, and sat waiting in the lobby for Miss Chaudor’s arrival. She had promised to take us to the League of Nations Non Partisan Dinner at the Biltmore Hotel.

Arrived there in good time, & met many old and new friends. I was put to sit at the speakers table between Mr Frank Emerson and Mrs James Neal. After speeches by Mrs Vanderlip, Mrs Little and Dr Levenmore I was called up to give a 2 mins speech – It was a case of “Play up Wales”.

Page 58

Friday March 21st 1924 – The Wedding of Leila Megane & Osborne Roberts

“In the morning we went down to White Star Offices & Customs House & got our tickets stamped & labels etc – Took a taxi from there to call upon Mr John Fairman – & bid him goodbye with many grateful thanks for all his kindness to us. From there went up Fifth Avenue to Maurice’s Restaurant 49th Street to meet Megane and her fiancé. They arrived in due time & we had lunch with them – & heard the final arrangements for the wedding.

After a very nice lunch, French looking, we four & Mr Schang the best man [an important theatrical agent, Frederick Schang was later manager to Paul Robeson] went in a taxi to the Welsh Chapel 120th Street. Megane dressed in a covert coating costume, light fawn with felt hat to match. Rev Jospeh Evans performed the ceremony in Welsh, & I gave the bride away.

[Minister D. J. Evans of the Welsh Presbyterian Church on 155th Street, New York. The child in the picture was Cobina Wright, whose mother, American of same name, had the same voice teacher as Leila in France]. 

Wedding of Leila Megane and Osborne Roberts, with Annie Hughes Griffiths ‘giving away’ the bride; best man and theatrical agent Frederick Schang; and child Cobina Wright. With thanks to the Kotschnig Family.

Page 59

“There were a few spectators – including Mr & Mrs Wm Hughes and Mrs Cobina Bright & her little girl – Mrs Roberts and Mrs Allison etc etc.From there, Mr and Mrs Hughes, Mrs Allison, Mrs Thomas & I went as far as Rev D.M. Richards’ house, & I went in to see how Mr Richards was – he was in bed, & was not too well. Stayed only a few minutes as they were all waiting for me in the car. We drove back to Mrs Hughes’ house & at 5.30pm the bride and groom arrived & we had a sumptuous dinner.

We then all went along to the Welsh Church where a reception had been arranged in our honour – Dr Keigwhin presided, the Minister of one of the Presbyterian Churches in New York – Addresses of welcome were delivered by Rev. Joseph Evans on behalf of the Welsh Churches of the city, by ladies representing different societies, by a gentleman kept a Welsh Lodge etc etc. Megane sang ‘Y. Nsfoedd a Cartref’ & her husband accompanied her. A beautiful bouquet of trees was presented to us by Mrs Wm Hughes who also made a charming speech. A farm – an oak tree – etc etc.

Megane got the flowers meant for Elined. I spoke for about 25 minutes, giving the message. Mr Bowman, a friend of Mr Hughes, took Mrs Thomas & me back to the Club in his car – via Broadway all lighted up and brilliant – getting there at midnight. I then started packing and got to bed bet. 1.30 or 2am.

Their last night in America

This was Annie’s final ‘peace message’ from the women of Wales to the women of America, at the completion of their tour of the States; and the following morning they set sail for the 7 day voyage home to Liverpool, on the RMS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic.

Next and Final Post: Return to Southampton on the RMS Olympic

– – – – – – – – –

Explore Further:

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Week 7 of #AnniesDiary100 – Grand Canyon to Niagara Falls, #OnThisDay 12-17 March 1924

Niagara Falls, 1921 – Wikimedia Commons

Our last 2 posts from Annie’s Diary recorded their experiences of 1924 California, in particular in carring the message of the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition to the congregations of Welsh Community Churches in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

After over a week on the Pacific Coast of America, Annie and her travel companion Gladys Thomas headed west again, this time southwards towards Arizona and the Grand Canyon – from where they would continue across the States to Chicago and Niagara Falls, taking in 2 ‘great wonders of the world’ in one week. After several weeks of non-stop campaigining on the message of Wales’ Women’s Peace Petition, this week was one of almost pure sightseeing – an insight into 1920s America as a ‘tourist’.

Annie’s Diary Excerpts

It is worth noting for readers that there is some discrepancy in Annie’s Diary between the correct dates / days, and what she had written – these are noted below.

Annies Diary – Digitised Pages

Annies Diary – Transcription

Annie’s Diary – Who’s Who

Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52

March 12th 1924 (Wednesday)

NB – Annie noted this as a Tuesday in her diary.

Page 47“Left Los Angeles by 11:00 a.m. train. Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Morgan got their car to take us to the station revenues as John Davis this is Daniel James Mr. And Mrs. Johns reverent D Jones and the 2 ladies alone saw us off. A letter was handed to me as I left station – an anonymous letter telling us to get out of the States.”

It is perhaps worth noting, with some surprise, that Annie does not make more of what sounds like quite a threatening moment; this is the only record of any negativity expressed towards the Women’s Peace delegation and their message of international cooperation. However, it is important to remember that America in the 1920s was isolationist in the extreme, and many people were stroingly against the League of Nations as they saw this as vehicle for dragging the US into European wars. So it is perhaps not surprising that there would have been some voices of opposition to the women’s campaign; not to mention of course, that womenhad only just won the vote in both US and UK – and many men felt threatened by this, just as misogynists continue to do so today. The anonymous threat letter remains a classic bullying tactic across the generations. Thankfully, the rest of theirt journey was more positive – and Annie made light of this incident in her diary.

We journeyed through California state all the day-and reached Williams the Junction for the Grand Canyon early-on.”

Contemporary 1920s postcard of Grand CanyonWikimedia Commons, reproducing 1882 painting by William Holmes

Wednesday morning (March 12th)

Got off the train at Grand Canyon and went to the Hotel El Forar for breakfast, a splendid meal. Then booked seats for motor trips – one round hermit rim & another after lunch in the other direction. The G- C- is beyond description in formation, colour, & effect.”

This celebrated historic hotel located directly on the rim of the Grand Canyon first opened its doors in 1905. The hotel was designed by Charles Whittlesey, Chief Architect for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.  The Chicago architect envisioned the hotel as a cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian Villa. Following their tour, Annie continues:

We went to a Morie Lecture given by two brothers called Kolb – who had travelled through the Canyon from Colorado river right thro the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of 217 miles. We saw pictures of their wonderful experiences in 2 flat bottomed boats & the many escapades they endured & narrow escapes they had. We then went over to Hopi House (the Indian centre). Saw the Indians dance & shook hands with the chief who had a university training. He told us he had already 4 wives but he was still on the market. We walked a dozen to the station, only a few yards by 7:00 p.m. – got on the train & found Section Car 42.

Then travelled down to Williams – where we spent the night – & had a good night’s rest.”

Images – Grand Canyon National Park Archives, via Flickr

The Hopi House (1905) visited by Annie in March 1924 is a large, multi-story building of stone masonry, shaped and built like a Hopi pueblo. Mary Colter was commissioned in 1904 by the Fred Harvey Company to design an “Indian Arts Building” as the hospitality giant liked to call their souvenir shops; the talented and stubborn architect was eager to accept the challenge. She was one of just a few women in a male-dominated field, and ‘lady-like’ wasn’t in her vocabulary. Neither were the words “traditional European influences.” Colter’s vision extended well beyond that. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon, she wanted to design something that appeared native, natural and timeless. Hopi House, modeled after the 1,000 year-old pueblo dwellings of the Hopi village in Old Oraibi, was a radically new experience for tourists; Colter’s attention to detail and human history created a strange and exotic world they could easily and safely enjoy – as reflected in Annie’s diary account.

Page 48 .

Thursday March 13th 1924

“In the train all-day. Left Williams at 5:30 a.m. and went along, passed Winston where we transferred from our section to compartment B which was far more comfortable. We got to Albuquerque by 5:10 p.m. & got out & bought mugs & oranges – & Mrs. Thomas had a sandwich – I left her in the church. Got in the car & Mr. Davey called upon us and asked if I was the lady who had come over from Wales with a mission. He is from Briton Ferry. his wife a pretty woman from Llanelly. They lived at Mansfield, a large tinplate industry town near Cleveland Ohio – Mansfield Tinplate Company – Mr. Davey one of the directors. We had a comfortable night.

Friday March 14th 1924 – Eastwards on the Southern Pacific

Southern Pacific Railroad, 1920s

After breakfast Mr. And Mrs. Davy called to see us & were very pleasant & asked us to stay with them in their home in mansfield. He spoke much of the great effects of Prohibition in this country. Difference between breaking state and federal law.”

The men drank before-and enjoyed it all himself. Now he spends the money on a Ford car. His family enjoy it with him, more money saved. The Workman did not ask for it. The worst offenders were the people who could buy it – the masters – & the coast towns gave an instance of _.

During the Prohibition era from 1920 to 1933, the US prohibited production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic drinks.

Page 49

One of the most prominent men in Mansfield providing whisky at 1 of the clubs. Found out – & though all the wealth of the place was available for his defence, he was condemned to prison for 3 years.

We sat and sewed most of the day. & went in to see George & his mother who lived next door to us. Then we went to call upon Mr. & Mrs. Davey in their compartment & they invited them to have dinner with them. An invitation we accepted with the alacrity. Slept badly this night. Got out for 20 minutes at Kansas City.

Saturday March 15th – Chicago

Annie’s return via Chicago enabled her to see again her brother David Charles Davies, Director of the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, and sister in-law Abbie, who they had stayed with a few weeks previous on their way westwards across the States.

Chicago Field Museum, 1920s

Got up early, & I had breakfast & packed. Got to Chicago by 10 to 10. Got a taxi & drove up to 4933 Lexhampton Avenue where Abbie [Annie’s Sister-in-Law] greeted us very warmly, & where we found a bundle of letters awaiting us – 3 from Peter, 4 from Tom, 2 from Lily, 1 from John – & many others. Tidied up & went round to station to secure sections for the trip to Buffalo. $5.63 each – Back to Abbie’s & then had lunch & down to Field Museum by 3.p.m. Met David [Annie’s Brother] there & went to a lecture on Egyptian Mummies.”

Mrs Pearson soon arrived & we went to David’s room & she told me of the Student Fellowship and spoke for an hour – wanted me to be the sponsor for Wales & gave me brooch & information on movement etc, etc – We drove back to Dorchester & then had tea, & went out to the Kenwood to dinner at 6.30, walking there and back!

Page 50

Got back home and listened to the radio- a terrible Sobotch – & it was soon turned off. We sat & talked & read papers – Went to bed & slept well.”

Sunday March 16th – Overnight train across Michigan

“Got up & had breakfast at 10 a.m – then packed up my things and a Mr. Cheney, a friend of David, called with his little girls Sally & Betty – we sat & talked, had lunch at 1.30 & left at 2.45 for 53rd Street Station on the Michigan Central RR (Railroad). David & Abbie drove with us & we left at 3.11 in Car 8 – Section 807 for Niagara Falls. A lovely afternoon, & passed along the side of Lake Michigan & thro’ small orchards of peaches and vines and to Kalamazoo where 2/3rds of celery used of the United States is grown.7.20 p.m. just passed through Battle Creek. A young Belgium girl called Georgette came and spoke to us.”

Monday, March 17th – Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls 1920 – edited by Paul Sherman, WPClipart Licensed to the public under Creative Commons.

Our kind porter on the train called us before 6.a.m. by a gentle “tap, tap” under our beds & told us we were nearing Niagara. We dressed quickly & hastily & had all our baggage & ourselves in readiness when the train steamed in to Niagara Falls Station, at 6.05. Too dark to see anything of the Falls, as we passed along.

We got off the train & went into the station & began wondering what we had better do about getting in touch with Elined Prys who had arranged to meet us at Buffalo that day. As Buffalo was 23 miles beyond Niagara we decided to get off there & get in touch with Elined at Lennox Hotel Buffalo – the place arranged for our meeting. We phoned to the manager of Lennox Hotel, but she was not there. “

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We then went to a café the other side of the street from the station – the 3 of us – Mr Thomas, Georgette, & myself. We then sent a long wire to Elined to Lennox Hotel. We then made arrangements for going round to see the wonders of Niagara Falls. We started walking through the Park & had our first view of the wonderful Falls – we saw two rainbows as we saw the Falls. We then arranged to take the Scenic Trip around the Falls & through the Gorge – paying $1.50 for the round trip.

We got over the great steel arch bridge to Canada and on to Table Rock– where we got off & went into the stores where there were various things for sale, made of spav and leather etc – we decided to go down to see the Falls from inside – so we donned oil skins, sou’westers and rubber Napoleons & set forth! Going into an elevator, we went down, down into the bowels of the Earth & came eventually to a spot where we got out & where a tunnel had been cut thro’ the rocks & had several peeks of the Falls from within & behind, so to speak.”

A frozen Niagara Falls in 1921, exactly as Annie would have seen – and unfortunately slipped (see diary text). Wikimedia Commons / Charles Dow (1921)

Large parts of the water was frozen, & the tunnel was lined & beautifully decorated with icicles – many of them yards long – I tumbled (nothing new) on the ice & slipped many yards, but our valiant escort rescued me & I soon found my feet again. We retraced our steps & then got back to the top safely – After removing the extra clothing, & making some purchases we made our way to the Power Houses of the Canadian Electrical Plant & were conducted over the whole place and shown everything of interest by a guide. Booklet gives all details of this & of our Scenic Trip. We then continued our trip around & had most gorgeous views of everything. Setting back by 1.30 – we went to the same place for lunch – Louis’s Restaurant.

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“No sign of Elined.

We played round bought some trifles s.p. post came until 3.42pm when we left by train for Utica – Leaving Georgette alone on the platform. We had a pleasant trip by train to Utica; passing through Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, where Miss Carver & her brother in law came to see us pass through. Miss Carver looked well & bonnie & was very cheery & told us the news of Elined’s engagement to an Austrian Count!! She told us she intended sailing for home on April 5th.

This remarkable piece of news records Elined Prys’ engagement to Walter Maria Kotschnig, whom she met whilst working with refugees in Austria after WW1, and went on to marry, becoming Elined Prys Kotschnig. Walter Kotschnig went on to work for the US State Department, and would be instrumental 20 years later in helping establish the United Nations.

Hotel Utica, 1910

We got to Utica at 9.42, where we were met by Rev T.O. Hughes of one of the Welsh American Churches who was supplying [as a Minister] at Utica – Mr Henry Hughes of the “Utica Press” & Mr Morris Williams secretary of the Cymreigyddion Society. We waited about for a time, hoping to have news of Elined & I gave Mr Hughes a short interview & then we went by taxi to the Hotel Utica, where reservations had been made for us by the Welsh friends.

Upon reaching the hotel we found several ladies awaiting our arrival – Shy, timid women who gave us a warm welcome, standing in a semi circle & beaming upon us & we were so tired, we just wanted to go to our rooms to rest- we were shown our rooms 605-606. Two rooms & a bathroom- reserved for Elined & Mrs Thomas and me.

We had just begun to unpack when two ladies arrived – Mrs Hitchcock, of whom more anon, & Mrs Lloyd, wife of brother in law to Mrs Elvet-Lewis, thro her first husband. The former talked & sputtered. The other tried to get in a little remark edgeways, but failed. We were then left in peace & had a good night’s rest.

Next Post – Utica, March 18-19

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Explore Further:

Visit by group of Young Palestinians to Cardiff: 29 February, 2024 

A common room in the Urdd Centre, Cardiff Bay.  A group of young people gather round a pool table; others sit in groups on their mobile phones or just chatting.  Nothing out of the ordinary – just a group of ‘normal’ young people…..Normal, that is, until the young people start to share their stories.  When this happens they talk about the road in and out of their village being blocked; about not being able to walk on the main street on the way to school for fear of being attacked; of army incursions into their areas and house demolitions.   

For this isn’t just any group of young people.  These are a group of young Palestinians (13 – 14 yrs old) from across the occupied West Bank.  Their visit to Cardiff is part of a wider UK visit coordinated by the Camden – Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA) with the aim of giving these young people a voice, putting them in contact with young people in the UK who are passionate about peace and human rights, and spreading awareness of the reality of their everyday lives to a wider audience, including those in power. The visit is also an opportunity for the youngsters to experience some of the ‘normal’ things that young people perhaps take for granted in the UK – just hanging out in a safe space and having fun with their peers. 

The programme for the day was put together by Urdd Gobaith Cymru with the support of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA).  It included a visit to the Senedd, meeting with young refugees from Afghanistan who live in Wales, a boat trip and 10-pin bowling.  After lunch the group engaged in a session with some of the young people who have put together this year’s Message of Peace and Goodwill.  They learnt about the history and significance of the Message and about this year’s theme, which focuses on the Women’s Peace Petition of 1923 – 24.  Following the presentation they took part in a workshop where they created visuals in response to the question: ‘What does peace mean for you?’  Their answers reflected both their current reality and what they feel are the necessary ingredients to create peace.  To them peace means ‘living without threats’, ‘freedom’, ‘sitting in my own place – sea and olive trees’.  So how to create peace?  ‘When people come together’ one young person said ‘walls come down’. ‘We need a variety of colours’ said another.  Images included the dove – significant because it can move and fly unhindered, without obstacles.  

During their visit the group had opportunities to meet with politicians – Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, and the First Minister, Mark Drakeford.  Both listened carefully to the young people’s accounts of the obstacles they face.  Although we hear practically nothing about the West Bank in the UK media, the region (with a population of more than 2 million Palestinians and around 450,000 Israeli settlers) has been under military occupation since 1967.  The reality of life for the Palestinians is one of checkpoints, walls and barbed wire, settler attacks and house demolitions.  This small territory (more or less the size of Powys) is riddled with Israeli settlements (illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention) which make life more or less impossible for the indigenous population.   

There has been a marked deterioration in the situation since 7th October last year.  According to the Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din, there have been 242 violent incidents since 7th October, with 10 Palestinians killed, dozens of homes and cars torched and olive trees damaged or destroyed.  B’tselem, another Israeli human rights organisation, has reported that only 50% of Palestinian farmers were able to harvest their olives in 2023 – a major source of income.   The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reports that more than 820 Palestinians have been forcibly displaced from their homes since the Hamas attack on 7th October. This is the reality of everyday life for these young people.  The Ministers listened politely and empathised – but in reality there is very little they can do.   

Faced with the realities of the political situation, it is easy to feel hopeless.  Yet this is precisely what isn’t needed.  By just organising visits such as these we can all play a role in uncovering the truth, putting pressure on politicians and giving voice to the aspirations of ‘ordinary’ people like this group of young people from the West Bank who dare to voice a vision for a peaceful and prosperous future, where their dreams have room to blossom and become reality. 

Many thanks to Taith for supporting the visit of this youth group to Wales.