The 1935 Peace Ballot in Wales

By Rob Laker, History Masters Researcher, Swansea University (student placement with WCIA’s ‘Peace Heritage’ programme).

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The 1935 Peace Ballot was a UK wide poll of Britain’s electorate designed to measure the public’s opinions regarding the key debates in international relations at the time. Despite lacking government sponsorship, the Ballot received extraordinary attention across the United Kingdom – nowhere was engagement higher, however, than in Wales, which quickly came to be recognised as a leading light in the cause of internationalism.

1,025,040 people in Wales voted in the Peace Ballot of 1935… 62.3% of eligible registered voters”

Between the wars, a new form of outward-looking patriotism had become an important part of Welsh national identity, as ordinary people worked actively to create a Wales which existed at the centre of the international community. Local branches of the Welsh League of Nations Union were active in every corner of Wales, running cultural events such as ‘Daffodil Days’ – the since forgotten annual custom of selling daffodils in aid of the League – and coordinating networks of local activists. This pride in their nation’s role in the quest for international harmony manifested itself in Welsh responses to the Peace Ballot, producing an overwhelming endorsement for the cause of internationalism.

The UK Ballot

By the end of 1933 it seemed that the international order was unravelling: the World Disarmament Conference had failed to produce results, Germany had withdrawn from the League of Nations, and the organisation had proved itself unable to resolve the Manchuria Crisis.

Internationalists in Britain, however, were anxious that the government remain committed to the League, and so the League of Nations Union set about organising the Peace Ballot in order to demonstrate the British people’s unwavering commitment to internationalism. Between the end of 1934 and the middle of 1935, half a million volunteers canvassed door to door, collecting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses on five key questions:

1)    Should Great Britain remain a member of the League of Nations?

2)    Are you in favour of all-round reduction of armaments by international agreement?

3)    Are you in favour of an all-round abolition of national military and naval aircraft by international agreement?

4)    Should the manufacture and sale of armaments for private profit be prohibited by international agreement?

5)     Do you consider that, if a nation insists on attacking another, the other nations should combine to compel it to stop –

       a) by economic and non-military measures?

       b) if necessary, military measures?

Credit – Northern Friends’ Peace Board, c/o Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) 

Despite being independently conducted, the Ballot – which received 11.6 million responses nationwide – has been described as Britain’s first referendum, and was highly effective in stimulating engagement with the key issues dominating international politics. The poll did not disappoint its organisers, for the result was an emphatic endorsement of internationalist policies from the British public.

  • An astonishing ninety-seven percent of voters felt that Britain should remain in the League
  • while ninety-four percent believed that it should outlaw the arms trade
Read more

WLNU Postbox in the Temple of Peace today.

The Welsh Case

In Wales, the organisation of the Ballot fell solely on the shoulders of the Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU), a challenge which it took up with great enthusiasm. Vast reserves of internationalist sentiment, which permeated every corner of Welsh society, were an important part of interwar society. To believe in Wales was, in this period of salient hope, to actively pursue the cause of peace, thereby locating the Welsh as a ‘force for good’ at the crux of global anxieties.

Google Map of Communities who organised Daffodil Days between 1925-39, collated by Rob Laker for his feature article on Daffodil Days of the WLNU . Zoom, or click on pins, to find individual communities. Further info on local activism can be gleaned from Welsh League of Nations Union reports (digitised by WCIA on People’s Collection Wales).

Lord David Davies of Llandinam  (painted by Sam Morse Brown:  National Museum of Wales collections)  

As a result, Lord David Davies (who co-founded the Welsh League of Nations Union with Rev Gwilym Davies) was determined that Wales should produce a spectacular result in the Ballot which he viewed as the very ‘essence of democracy’.

Drawing upon a committed network of volunteers across Wales, supplemented by an army of canvassers (paid at the personal expense of Lord Davies), WLNU representatives went door to door in nearly every Welsh town and village collecting responses.

The responses proved to be an affirmation of Wales’ internationalist credentials, as over one million adults voted in the Ballot – which at the time, represented 62.3 percent of the Welsh electorate (24 percent higher than the average across Britain as a whole).

As of 6th June 1935, the top twelve constituencies in Great Britain with the highest percentage turnout were all in Wales, in some of which over eighty percent of the total electorate responded to the ballot (RH).

In a few cases, turnout was particularly spectacular. In Llanerfyl (Montgomeryshire), for instance, all 304 of its adult inhabitants responded to the poll, likely a testament to the zeal of local activists.

Turnout was in fact much higher in villages than in large towns across the board, and despite hosting the headquarters of the Welsh League of Nations Union, Cardiff produced some of the lowest turnouts of the poll.

We can interpret this as evidence that the success of the Ballot in Wales rested not just in the League’s popularity, but in the strength of Welsh community activism. It is highly likely that organisers in villages such as Llanerfyl (Montgomery) and Nantlle (Gwynedd) were able to achieve a 100 percent response rate because they operated in a tight-knit community, allowing them to rally support face-to-face, one neighbour at a time, in a way which proved more difficult in larger cities.

It is worth noting, however, that despite the strategy of going door-to-door in their local communities, activists were still able to obtain phenomenal results from many larger towns. In Port Talbot, for example, 82.8 percent of the town’s 27,000 adults voted.

Viewed in this light, the results of the Ballot are a testament to the strength and scale of the local networks upon which the Welsh League of Nations relied upon for support.

The way in which Welsh people voted also reflects the strength of their commitment to internationalism. In fact, just 1.7 percent of voters in Wales wanted to leave the League – around half the national average – while Welsh voters were consistently more often in favour of disarmament.

Wales had proved itself a ‘special case’. As historians such as Helen McCarthy have noted, the League of Nations Union was the largest ‘League themed’ society of any in Europe and easily enjoyed the most popular support. It is not unreasonable then, in light of the disparity between Wales and the rest of Britain in Ballot responses, to conclude that…

“in 1935 the Welsh ‘were the most ardently internationalist nation in Europe’.”

Digitised Wales Peace Ballot Records

This collection draws together leaflets, voting forms, campaigner bulletins, articles and analysis by the Welsh League of Nations Union for the 1935 Peace Ballot - a national canvass of public opinion on Peace in the context of the then-escalating European Arms Race. Although the Peace Ballot was an initiative by the UK League of Nations Union, Wales set out explicitly to 'lead the way' and 'top the polls,' to demonstrate the strength of feeling in favour of peace, 16 years after the end of WW1.

The bulletins gave a detailed breakdown of progress on the Ballot, returns from each county of Wales (with comparisons to England), and analysis / encouragement from key figures in Wales' Peace movements. The bulletins carried motivational 'Opinion Pieces' from leaders of Wales Peace movements, such as Gwilym Davies and David Davies; and in depth analysis of the returns received from constituencies all over Wales

Later bulletins and introduction of 'YMLAEN / ONWARD' newsletter, explore implications of the results for Wales' peace building movements, and impact upon domestic and international political affairs - in particular, the meeting of the 1936 League of Nations in Geneva, which was regarded as a failure on the part of national governments. A poster graphic illustrates the UK-wide results, and Wales' leading place within the polls - with 5 of the top 10 constituency returns being Anglesey, Aberdare, Swansea East, Rhondda West and Merthyr Tydfil.
1935 Peace Ballot – Briefing for Households 1935 Peace Ballot – Canvassers’ Briefing ‘Peace Calls for Plain Answers to Simple Questions’ – 1935 Media Article Bulletin 2, Jan 22 1935 Bulletin 3, Feb 6 1935
Bulletin 4, Mar 9 1935 Bulletin 5, Apr 9 1935 Bulletin 6, June 7 1935 Bulletin 7, Oct 1935: ONWARD YMLAEN / ONWARD Bulletin, May 1936

Outcomes for Britain

The will of the people was unequivocal – Wales and Britain wanted to remain in international circles – what this meant, however, remained open to interpretation.

The organisers of the Ballot presented the result to the prime minister and his cabinet, but it quickly became clear that, due to the binary nature of responses, that the format of the Ballot was a poor vehicle for dictating policy.

‘Remain may have meant remain’, and ‘disarm may have meant disarm’… but the Ballot gave no sense of the scale or manner of which these aims should be pursued.

This left little room for nuance, and instead general opinion was measured without details of its practical implementation. The failure of Ballot organisers to frame the poll’s questions within the myriad complexities of Britain’s international position, made integration of the Ballot’s result into policy making both confusing and impractical – and so the consequences of the Ballot in Britain’s foreign policy are hard to identify.

The Ballot may have failed to significantly influence policy, but the strength of the poll lay in its ability to measure popular opinion. It demonstrated that an overwhelming majority of the population supported Britain’s active involvement in the League of Nations, even if there was no uniform vision of what that involvement should look like.

Across Britain, League of Nations Union branches enjoyed a surge in membership and enthusiasm for the League which, despite the Abyssinia Crisis and the aggression of Hitler, was maintained right up until the outbreak of the Second World War.

UK wide returns against the 5 questions posed by the Peace Ballot.


Outcomes for Wales

WLNU Organiser Rev Gwilym Davies

The Welsh League of Nations Union had a very clear idea of what the result should mean for Wales. For Gwilym Davies (Organiser of the WLNU) the result of the Ballot was ‘the vindication of the democratic right of a free people’ and a demonstration of the ‘notable achievements’ of Wales in the cause for world peace.

In a bulletin on the subject of ‘facing the future’, Davies called for the ‘Welsh million’ to be converted into one hundred thousand new members across Wales. While this roughly eight-fold increase failed to materialise itself,

the WLoNU organisation more than doubled in size, reaching 27,545 paid members by 1937 – the highest at any point in the interwar period.

For Wales, Gwilym Davies published a Constituency by Constituency Analysis of the 1935 Peace Ballot voting returns – which can be viewed on People’s Collection Wales at:

Clearly then, far from being a fleeting spike of interest, the Peace Ballot was the source of revitalisation of Wales’ identity as an international nation.

Furthermore, the setbacks suffered by the League of Nations in the mid and late 1930s – instead of leading to disenchantment – only made people in Wales more determined that the principles they had committed to in the Peace Ballot should be upheld. This wave of enthusiasm for peace through internationalism was carried right through to the outbreak of war in 1939 and beyond, later providing the support structures and the much of the personnel for the creation of the United Nations.

One such example is Gwilym Davies himself, Director and co-founder of the WLNU, who not only became president of the Welsh National Council of the United Nations Association, but is considered to be a key architect in the creation of world education & scientific body UNESCO.

Temple of Peace: Headquarters befitting a ‘Booming’ Movement

One of the most striking and longstanding results of the Peace Ballot in Wales is the Temple of Peace and Health, which was opened in Cardiff in 1938.

Envisioned by Lord Davies as ‘a memorial to those gallant men from all nations who gave their lives in the war that was to end war’, construction of the building was started in 1937 at a time when the organisation was rapidly expanding.

'A New Mecca'

Account from the Opening Ceremony, ‘A New Mecca’, from the Temple of Peace Archives

It was felt that, in light of the precarious international situation, it was more important than ever for Welsh internationalism to have a headquarters which suitably reflected its growing influence. Thus rose the Temple – a bastion of peace, intended to make good the sacrifice of those who fell in the ‘war that was to end war’.

Today the Temple of Peace still stands – an enduring legacy of the Ballot’s success. The organisations it now houses continue to work in the spirit of the Ballot’s organisers, inheriting the desire that Wales should be at the centre of the international community.

The WCIA – Welsh Centre for International Affairs, founded in 1973, is the modern iteration (the ‘grand daughter’, via UNA Wales) of the Welsh League of Nations Union. WCIA continue the work and vision of WLNU, and the million Welsh people who voted in the 1935 Peace Ballot, to build a better, more peaceful world.

WCIA, like their predecessors, believe that Wales is a nation which can create real and lasting change in the wider world. It is for this proud tradition – driven by the dedication and commitment of local people across Wales – that the galvanising effects of the Peace Ballot should be remembered today.

Blog article and research by WCIA Research Intern Rob Laker, on placement with Wales for Peace from Swansea University History Dept over Summer 2019 with ongoing research through 2020. Drawing on materials from the National Library of Wales and Temple of Peace Archives; and Annual Reports of the Welsh League of Nations Union 1922-45 on People’s Collection Wales, digitised by WCIA (with support of Swansea doctoral student Stuart Booker) for open access research. Final edit by Craig Owen, Wales for Peace.

Rob Laker, WCIA Archives Intern

Global Perspectives on COVID Pandemic: Solidarity, Community and Cooperation

Published on 25th March, in a fast changing international situation.

As the COVID Pandemic of 2020 has reached ‘lockdown’ for the UK and many other nations, the need for our communities – and community of nations – to work together has never been greater. Wales and the World are inextricably linked through global health: pandemics know no borders – and information is international. In an age of social media we are intertwined, and interdependent; we are Humankind.
Kindness, compassion and clarity will help us to face this world crisis, and support the most vulnerable, through cooperation and humanity – from the local to the global. Over coming weeks, WCIA will be sharing (via WCIA’s website, Twitter and Facebook feeds) ‘stories of solidarity’, links to reliable information / updates, and examples of inspiring civil society, individuals and community leadership from around the world.

View WCIA’s ‘Global Perspectives’ Blogs


Wales amidst a Global Health Crisis

Wales and Welsh communities must do all we can within a crisis of global proportions – and requiring global solutions. Summarised below are quick links to key sources of information and updates from around the world; ways that people can take action in local to global solidarity; learning from our heritage; and stories of solidarity from individuals around the world.

Quick References and Information Sources

UK & Welsh Government, NHS and Voluntary Sector

Global Health Bodies & Cooperation

Reference Resources and Useful Articles

temple of peaceWCIA and the Temple of Peace & Health

As with all venues and workplaces, the Temple of Peace is closed throughout the shutdown period and WCIA staff have been working from home since Monday 16th March (though as with many in this challenging time, our capacity is limited).

  • Venue bookings, and all WCIA events, have been postponed until the COVID situation becomes safer.
  • WCIA are sharing Stories of Solidarity (see below) from around the world; and useful resources (such as home learning and means to take action) via WCIA’s Twitter and Facebook social media feeds.
  • WCIA are supporting international volunteers on placements through UNA Exchange to self-isolate if in UK, and to find passages to their home countries where possible / appropriate.
  • Hub Cymru Africa and the Wales Africa Health Links Network are offering guidance to local linking organisations and charities supporting or whose work is affected by COVID.

Internationalism in Action: Taking a Global Stand

How are internationally-minded individuals in Wales able to contribute to understanding and combating the COVID crisis in any way… on top of looking after themselves and their loved ones in a lockdown? WCIA will be gathering and sharing actions and ideas of people Wales and world-wide via our social media channels, and here:

Community Action

Gemma from Hong Kong shares her experiences of COVID in WCIA’s Global Perspectives blog.

Global Learning

Global Action

Global Partnerships

Global Perspectives: Stories of Solidarity

Campaigner Glenda Fryer with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose leadership has been praised worldwide, shared her feelings as Kiwis entered a month long lock-down.

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. In uncertain times like these, it is heartwarming to see communities uniting in solidarity, and even song in some cases. We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share the positive stories emerging from the situation as a source of inspiration for people in these challenging times.

Personal ‘Stories of Solidarity’ from across the world, mapped.

Learning from the Past: Heritage of Cooperation

Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire – Canadian War Graves from 1918-19 Spanish Flu Epidemic (Geograph)

Not since the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic of 1918-1920, has the world experienced something of the scale the world is facing today in COVID19. Affecting as many lives globally as World War 1 itself, “Spanish flu” (so called, ironically, as Spain was the only WW1 nation that allowed uncensored reporting on it to save lives), ended up infecting 500 million – of whom 17-100 million died, making it the world’s worst epidemic since the ‘Black Death’ Plague of 1331-1353. In Wales, between 8,700 and 11,400 people are thought to have died.

Alongside Tuberculosis, the combined impact of World War One and Spanish Flu inspired the creation of Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health – home to WCIA today, and opened in 1938 as a beacon for the nation’s efforts to end the scourge of tuberculosis, and secure sustainable peace through global cooperation – initally through the work of the WNMA (Wales National Memorial Association for Eradication of Tuberculosis) and WLNU (Welsh League of Nations Union).

After World War 2, these movements evolved to support creation of the NHS (National Health Service) and the United Nations – two of humanity’s greatest achievements in facilitating cooperation for the common good. In the words of the Temple’s founder, David Davies:

“A ‘Temple of Peace’ is not of bricks and mortar: It is the spirit of man. It is the compact between every man, woman and child, to build a better world.”  

Has a generation taken our grandparents’ inheritance for granted? Over recent decades, support for and resourcing of these ‘institutions of humankind’ has fallen, health services and social care have suffered strident Austerity cuts, and many nations – the UK and US in particular – have turned inwards and away from the very bodies that enable international cooperation in times of crisis.

The COVID Pandemic will seriously test – and potentially reverse – many of these policy approaches. Working in global cooperation and solidarity with others, we will owe it to a generation who lose their lives, to come through this crisis to build a better world.


Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford addresses the nation on 23 March.  

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:

Neges Heddwch ac Ewyllys Da 2024: ‘Gweithred yw Gobaith’

Eleni mae Neges Heddwch ac Ewyllys Da yr Urdd yn dathlu ymgyrch arwrol Deiseb Heddwch Merched Cymru 1923-24, ac yn datgan yr angen i barhau gyda’r alwad am heddwch can mlynedd yn ddiweddarach. 

Ganrif yn ôl, ar yr 19eg o Chwefror 1924, agorwyd cist Deiseb Heddwch menywod Cymru gyda’i 390, 296 o lofnodion o flaen 600 o fenywod yr Unol Daleithiau yn y Biltmore Hotel, Efrog Newydd.

Roedd y ddeiseb yn apelio am weld cydweithredu dros heddwch yn y byd, ac mae ei stori wedi ysbrydoli’r Urdd i annog criw o ferched ifanc i ddod at ei gilydd i lunio’r Neges Heddwch ac Ewyllys Da eleni.

Mae’r neges yn datgan yr angen i weithredu ac i barhau i alw am Heddwch. Rhaid rhoi diwedd ar erchyllterau, rhyfeloedd a thrais, gan nodi’n glir y gall cydweithrediad, angerdd a gobaith ein harwain tuag at ddyfodol gwell.

Gweithdy Neges Heddwch ac Ewyllys Da 2024

I baratoi at neges eleni, cynhaliodd yr Urdd weithdy yng ngwersyll Caerdydd ar y 25-26 o Ionawr. Daeth staff, prentisiaid a gwirfoddolwyr yr Urdd, a myfyrwyr cwrs ESOL (dysgwyr Saesneg fel ail iaith) Coleg Caerdydd a’r Fro at ei gilydd ar gyfer y gweithdy a chreu neges 2024. Merched oedd yr holl fynychwyr, a hynny er mwyn adlewyrchu Deiseb Heddwch Menywod Cymry 1923-24.

Elan Evans a’r bardd a chantores, Casi Wyn, oedd yn arwain y gweithdy. Llwyddwyd i greu awyrgylch saff ac arbennig iawn yn ystod y deuddydd wrth ymdrin â thrafod heddwch a hanes y ddeiseb. Cynhaliwyd trafodaethau pwysig ymysg y merched er mwyn lleisio eu barn a phenderfynu ar drywydd y neges.

Er mwyn cyfoethogi’r gweithdy, gwahoddwyd gwesteion arbennig i’r gweithdy. Cafwyd sgyrsiau pwerus iawn gan Mererid Hopwood, Ffion Fielding o WCIA, Zoey Allen a Mah Kakar. Diolch yn fawr iawn i’r pedair am ymuno yn y sesiwn ac ysbrydoli y merched ym mhellach. Mae Casi Wyn nawr wedi trosi syniadau a geiriau pwerus y merched lawr ar bapur ar gyfer neges 2024, a bydd Efa Blosse-Mason wedyn yn mynd ati i greu’r animeiddiad.

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. 


Ymweliad gan grŵp o Balestiniaid Ifanc â Chaerdydd: 29 Chwefror 2024 

stafell gyffredin yng Nghanolfan yr Urdd, Bae Caerdydd.  Mae grŵp o bobl ifanc yn ymgynnull rownd bwrdd pŵl; Mae eraill yn eistedd mewn grwpiau ar eu ffonau symudol neu’n sgwrsio.  Does dim byd yn anghyffredin am hyn – dim ond grŵp o bobl ifanc ‘normal’….. Normal, hynny yw, nes i’r bobl ifanc ddechrau rhannu eu straeon.  Pan fydd hyn yn digwydd, maen nhw’n sôn am y ffordd i mewn ac allan o’u pentref yn cael ei rhwystro; am beidio gallu cerdded ar y brif stryd ar y ffordd i’r ysgol rhag ofn i rywun ymosod arnynt; o ymosodiadau gan y fyddin ar eu hardaloedd, a dymchwel tai.   

Oherwydd nid grŵp o unrhyw bobl ifanc yn unig yw hwn.  Grŵp o Balestiniaid ifanc yw’r rhain (13 – 14 oed) o ar draws y Lan Orllewinol, sydd dan feddiant.  Mae eu hymweliad â Chaerdydd yn rhan o ymweliad ehangach yn y DU sydd wedi cael ei gydlynu gan CADFA  (Camden – Abu Dis Friendship Association), gyda’r nod o roi llais i’r bobl ifanc hyn, eu rhoi mewn cysylltiad â phobl ifanc yn y DU sy’n angerddol dros heddwch a hawliau dynol, a lledaenu ymwybyddiaeth o realiti eu bywydau bob dydd i gynulleidfa ehangach, gan gynnwys y rhai sydd mewn pŵer. Mae’r ymweliad hefyd yn gyfle i’r bobl ifanc brofi rhai o’r pethau ‘normal’ y mae pobl ifanc efallai’n eu cymryd yn ganiataol yn y DU – hongian allan mewn man diogel a chael hwyl gyda’u ffrindiau. 

Cafodd rhaglen y diwrnod ei llunio gan Urdd Gobaith Cymru gyda chefnogaeth Canolfan Materion Rhyngwladol Cymru (WCIA).  Roedd yn cynnwys ymweliad â’r Senedd, cyfarfod â ffoaduriaid ifanc o Afghanistan sy’n byw yng Nghymru, taith ar gwch a bowlio deg.  Ar ôl cinio, fe wnaeth y grŵp gymryd rhan mewn sesiwn gyda rhai o’r bobl ifanc sydd wedi llunio Neges Heddwch ac Ewyllys Da eleni.  Fe wnaethon nhw ddysgu am hanes ac arwyddocâd y Neges ac am y thema eleni, sy’n canolbwyntio ar Ddeiseb Heddwch Merched 1923 – 24.  Yn dilyn y cyflwyniad, fe wnaethant gymryd rhan mewn gweithdy, lle gwnaethant dynnu lluniau mewn ymateb i’r cwestiwn: Beth mae heddwch yn ei olygu i chi?  Roedd eu hatebion yn adlewyrchu eu realiti presennol a’r hyn maen nhw’n teimlo yw’r cynhwysion angenrheidiol i greu heddwch.  Iddyn nhw, mae heddwch yn golygu ‘byw heb fygythiadau’, ‘rhyddid’, ‘eistedd yn fy lle fy hun –y môr ac olewydden.  Felly, sut mae creu heddwch?  ‘Pan mae pobl yn dod at ei gilydd’ dywedodd un person ifanc ‘bod waliau’n dod i lawr’. ‘Mae angen amrywiaeth o liwiau arnom’ meddai un arall.  Roedd y lluniau yn cynnwys y golomen – sy’n arwyddocaol oherwydd y gall symud a hedfan yn rhydd, heb rwystrau.  

Yn ystod eu hymweliad, cafodd y grŵp gyfleoedd i gwrdd â phobl o’r byd gwleidyddol – Jeremy Miles, Gweinidog y Gymraeg ac Addysg, a’r Prif Weinidog, Mark Drakeford.  Gwrandawodd y ddau yn ofalus ar hanesion y bobl ifanc am y rhwystrau sy’n eu hwynebu.  Er nad ydym yn clywed bron dim am y Lan Orllewinol yng nghyfryngau’r DU, mae’r rhanbarth (gyda phoblogaeth o fwy na 2 filiwn o Balestiniaid a thua 450,000 o ymsefydlwyr o Israel) wedi bod dan feddiant milwrol ers 1967.  Realiti bywyd i’r Palestiniaid yw siecbwyntiau, waliau a weiars pigog, ymosodiadau gan  ymsefydlwyr a dymchwel tai.  Mae’r diriogaeth fach hon (mwy neu lai maint Powys) yn llawn ymsefydlwyr o Israel (sy’n anghyfreithlon o dan 4ydd Confensiwn Genefa), sy’n gwneud bywyd yn fwy neu lai yn amhosibl i’r boblogaeth frodorol.   

Bu dirywiad amlwg yn y sefyllfa ers 7 Hydref y llynedd.  Yn ôl mudiad hawliau dynol Israel, Yesh Din, bu 242 o ddigwyddiadau treisgar ers 7 Hydref, gyda 10 o Balestiniaid wedi eu lladd, dwsinau o gartrefi a cheir wedi eu torchi, ac olewydd wedi’u difrodi neu eu dinistrio.  Mae B’tselem, sefydliad hawliau dynol arall yn Israel, wedi adrodd mai dim ond 50% o ffermwyr Palesteinaidd oedd yn gallu cynaeafu eu holewydd yn 2023 – sy’n ffynhonnell fawr o incwm.  Mae Swyddfa’r Cenhedloedd Unedig ar gyfer Cydlynu Materion Dyngarol (UNOCHA) yn adrodd bod mwy na 820 o Balesteiniaid wedi cael eu dadleoli’n rymus o’u cartrefi ers ymosodiad Hamas ar 7 Hydref. Dyma realiti bywyd bob dydd i’r bobl ifanc hyn.  Fe wnaeth y Gweinidogion wrando yn gwrtais a chydymdeimlo – ond mewn gwirionedd, does dim llawer maen nhw’n gallu ei wneud. 

Yn wyneb realiti’r sefyllfa wleidyddol, mae’n hawdd teimlo’n anobeithiol.  Fodd bynnag, mae hyn yn union beth sydd ddim ei angen. Trwy drefnu ymweliadau fel y rhain yn unig, gall pob un ohonom chwarae rhan mewn datgelu’r gwir, rhoi pwysau ar wleidyddion, a rhoi llais i ddyheadau pobl ‘gyffredin’, fel y grŵp hwn o bobl ifanc o’r Lan Orllewinol sy’n meiddio lleisio gweledigaeth ar gyfer dyfodol heddychlon a llewyrchus, lle mae gan eu breuddwydion le i flodeuo a dod yn realiti. 

Diolch yn fawr i Taith am gefnogi ymweliad y grŵp ieuenctid hwn â Chymru.  

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”.

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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:

Swyddi – Cydlynydd Gwirfoddolwyr, Climate Cymru

Mae Climate Cymru wedi sicrhau cyllid i redeg rhaglen wirfoddoli blwyddyn o hyd yng Nghymru o’r enw “Negeswyr Hinsawdd”, a fydd yn rhedeg ochr yn ochr ag ymgyrchoedd a gwaith Climate Cymru, yn bwydo i mewn iddynt ac yn eu hategu.

Rydym yn chwilio am Gydlynydd Gwirfoddoli brwdfrydig a threfnus i ymuno â’n tîm a chwarae rhan hanfodol wrth roi hwb i’r rhaglen. Fel y Cydlynydd Gwirfoddolwyr, byddwch yn gweithio’n agos gyda Chydlynydd y Rhwydwaith, ymgyrchwyr, a chydweithwyr cyfathrebu i wreiddio gwirfoddoli yn ein gwaith trwy sefydlu systemau, hyfforddiant a phrosesau recriwtio newydd, yn ogystal â sefydlu a chefnogi gwirfoddolwyr newydd.

Byddwch hefyd yn cefnogi cydweithwyr ac yn eu helpu i ddeall sut i ymgorffori profiad gwirfoddoli o safon yn eu ffrydiau gwaith eu hunain. Byddwch yn ysbrydoli cyfranogiad gan wirfoddolwyr, gan ddefnyddio eich brwdfrydedd ynghylch gweithredu cyfiawnder amgylcheddol a chymdeithasol yn ogystal â’ch sgiliau rhyngbersonol rhagorol.

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. “

Page 51

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.

Page 52

“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:

Week ‘6.5’ of ‘#AnniesDiary100’ #OnThisDay, where were our Welsh Peace Envoys on 8 March 1824 – future International Women’s Day?

Our post earlier this week explored the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition’s experiences of arriving in Californna, spending much of their first week in San Francisco. However, they then spent 2nd half of this week in Los Angeles, culminating in one of Annie Hughes Griffiths most packed addresses to the LA Welsh Church… but not before they had taken in the sights of Hollywood!

For International Women’s Day, alhough marked at this point (1924) in Russia, it wasn’t until 1975 that the 8 March would become the internationally recognised, annual United Nations event it is today – find out the history of International Women’s Day.

Annie’s Diary Excerpts

Saturday March 8th – San Francisco to Los Angeles on ‘The Daylight’

Called up at 6:30 and by 7:15 a.m. mrs PJ Roberts – whose kindness has been beyond praise – and Mr. Samuel Jones, called for us in their car and drove us to the station where we took the train for Los Angeles.Leaving San Fran at 7:45 a.m. Mr. D Hughes arrived just before the train left, and asked me to write down a bit of what I said last night for him. A glorious day to come out, bright and Sunny. We travelled on the observation car until 4.30, when we went to the dining car for a meal. Had fried fish, fruit salad and Tea.  Have passed through groves of fruit trees & got to Los Angeles by 8:30 p.m.

Page 45

Rev. Dr. Jones minister of the Welsh chapel met us in his car – a Buick. Also Reverend & Mrs. John Davis ‘late of Skirland & later of Utica’,  and drove us to the Gates Hotel where we had engaged a room. Almost as soon as I got into the hotel a lady accosted me being anxious to have an interview with me for the Los Angeles Times. I sat and and talked with her and told her of our message and of our visit to the Presidents Tomb in Washington. The interview appeared in Monday’s paper, quite a nice lit.

After she left, Rev. Dr Jones have me promise to speak on Sunday evening at his church. I consented – tho somewhat reluctantly. We went to bed very tired, but I slept well – very comfortable bed. Got up on


a.m. & went out to breakfast at Savoy Hotel then walked to chapel. Dr Jones preached a sermon on peace, mentioned me & my message & announced that I was to speak in the evening service – went back to the Gates Hotel to lunch – then so on after 2. P.m. – Mrs Williams, whom Sara knew as Catherine Evans, & her sister Mrs Morgan, came round in their car & took us out.

We went first of all to Evergreen Cemetery to see J.Al. Saunders’ grave – & I put some lovely white carnaiteons (sic) on the grave – ‘A servant of Jesus Christ’ was the only inscription on the grave with his names & dates. From there we went to Alhambra – Ian Gabriel mission. Then I called at Huntingdon to hotel see Mr Ayres a friend of David. He was out. Then through South Pasadena to 212 Brauch street and tea with Mrs. Williams and her husband – Mr. Morgan and their husband joining us.

Page 46

All of us drove down to chapel in the car. Chapel crowded. Mr. Jones’s son commenced the service very earnestly and prayerfully. Doctor John Davis introduced me by questioning Sara and John Saunders, and brother John & myself. I then spoke for 40 minutes – without one note! – of our mission.  Mrs Williams drove us back to the hotel, and we went straight up to bed.

Monday morning March 11th

Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Morgan were in the hotel before 9:00 a.m. Went to office to get reservations and then drove to Hollywood went to West Coast Production studio, to Beverly Hills Hotel where they were shooting pictures in the garden. Then Santa Monica Ocean Park, Venice, where we went to a Chinese restaurant. Had Chow Mein and Tea in the Chinese-style. I didn’t enjoy it.

Then back to Los Angeles via Wilshire Boulevard to Gates Hotel, we went in and rested then took a taxi to American Express – as Mrs. Thomas wanted to change a cheque. Had tea at Bow Cafeteria soon after 4:00 p.m. Doctor Jones came round in his car to fetch us, Reverend & Mrs. John Davis. We drove to Long Beach about 20 miles distant and passed several very large oil Wells which had proved of immense value to their owners. Had a meal at a russian cafeteria & drove to call upon the a Mr. Hughes of Denver (whom Peter knew) he was out, saw his daughter, a girl of 18. After saying good-bye we drove back-to the Gates Hotel, a distance of about 20 miles.

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Tuesday March 12th 1924

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.

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

Next Stop – Grand Canyon

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