Week 2 of #AnniesDiary100 #OTD Postings: 11-16 February 1924 – Arrival in New York City

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New York: ‘Daffodils for Peace’

#OTD#OnThisDay 11 Feb 1924, the Welsh #WomensPeacePetition delegation sailed into an icy #NewYork harbour, after 10 days aboard Transatlantic Liner the RMS #Cedric from Liverpool, with in its cargo hold the oak chest of 390,296 petition ‘signatures for #peace‘ from Wales-wide.

#AnniesDiary100 remarks: “The Cedric took ten boats to push her up the river thro’ the ice’…” She offers a humorous account of their arrival on the Hudson:

“Went on deck after breakfast… saw land and different boats anchored nearby, #StatueofLiberty glowing in the sunlight. Bitterly cold wind, bright sunshine. At lunch a press man came to me and said “Mrs Griffiths, I am from the #press.”

“I have something to say,” I said.

“Oh!” Said he – “we know your story of the #Women of #Wales Movement – but we want only for photos – will you come to the top deck when you have finished?”

“Agreed” said I.

So Elined & I trotted up to the top deck 1st class – where we found four burly photographers awaiting us. There we were photographed quite twenty times – in different positions – and back again to 2nd class to await the coming of the Immigration Officers. They came about 2.”

Among attached archival records is the customs ‘Passenger Manifest’ for the SS Cedric’s entry to the United States on 11 Feb 1924, highlighting the records for Annie, Elined and their Welsh Transatlantic travel companions Gladys Thomas and Llandudno nurse Beatrice Carver.

#AnniesDiary continues: “Before this we had gone on deck & had seen Mary Ellis, Mrs Tuttle, Miss Belle Baunch & other #American ladies who had come down to meet the deputation, in the Customs Shed awaiting us. Eventually they got on board, and there was much hand shaking & welcoming us.

The ladies all wore #daffodils – I had had the daffodil bouquet (given to Annie at their sendoff from London Euston) put in cold storage when I got on the Cedric, and it was beautifully fresh for my arrival in New York. So I carried it in my hand & wore my best costume & hat to greet the American ladies.

We had the luggage put in a tram – the oak chest with the memorial forms given over for Express delivery – & we came up to the women’s university club in Mrs Laidlaw’s car, which was decorated with daffodils.

When we got here we were told our engagements – as made by Mary Ellis. She has… brought together *so* many strands & they have formed into one strong force of women to work for peace.”

Elined Prys’ letter home to Aberystwyth on 13 February 1924 illustrates the week in store for them, 100 years ago this week (with thanks to the Kotschnig family):

“My dear Family, Ever since we landed we have been hustled around in truly American style, so that we have hardly time to breathe. What with luncheons, teas etc. arranged by the ladies who are ‘running’ us – and all my own friends & Y.W. (Young Women’s Association) officials I have to see, every minute is taken up. I’m awfully tired & feel as if I’d been here about 10 days.” She wrote this at the start of day 3!

Our next post will explore these engagements – meeting the ‘movers and shakers’ of American and New York high society, and Mary Ellis’ work behind the scenes to prepare for the big day on 19th February 1924 when – at NYC’s Biltmore Hotel – they would present Wales’ #WomensPeacePetition and its 390,296 signatories, to the women of America.

Image Captions

  • White Star Liner in New York Harbour, from ’New York’s Remnants of the Golden Age of Steamships’ by Luke Spencer
  • ‘Cenadon Heddwch’: the Peace delegation’s arrival in New York as illustrated by North American Welsh newspaper ‘Y Drych’ on Thursday Feb 14th, portraying Miss Eluned (should be Elined) Prys & Mrs Peter Hughes Griffiths (Annie) disembarking the ‘Cedric’ from Liverpool.
  • Passenger Manifest for SS #Cedric’s entry 2 #UnitedStates 11 Feb 1924 highlights arrival of #Wales’ #Women’s #Peace delegation Annie & Elined + travel companions Gladys Thomas & Beatrice Carver.

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