In 1923, with the horrors of World War 1 having galvanised a generation against conflict, women of Wales organised an unprecedented campaign for world peace. 390,296 women signed a Memorial petition through the Welsh League of Nations Union, calling for ‘Law not War’ – for America to join and lead the new League of Nations – through appealing to the women of America; ‘from home to home’.
A beautiful gilded Moroccan leather and vellum Memorial was illuminated by Cecily West and produced through the Davies sisters’ Gregynog Press; and a great oak chest created by E J Hallam to contain the signatures, to be presented to the US President Calvin Coolidge and held ‘for all time’ to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The Women’s Peace Petition campaign of 1923 was a truly remarkable Wales-wide effort involving almost every household, through peace activists going door-to-door, supported through county and community organisers of ‘the League’. The New York press noted that the final petition presented to the women of America was over 7 miles long.
3 Short films: The Women’s Peace Petition (Trailer); Alaw Primary School learning project; ‘Annie’s Diary’ feature on Volunteers uncovering the story of the 1924 American Peace Tour.
By Tracy Pallant and Amy Peckham, Valley & Vale Community Arts
Download / Print PDF Booklet 'Inspired by Annie'
A women’s delegation, led by Welsh League of Nations Chair Annie Hughes-Griffiths, travelled from Wales to America in March 1924 for a 2 month ‘Peace Tour’ of the States, building support through American women’s organisations involving over 20 million people. The 9 networks / organisations through whom the Welsh delegation worked, joined forces to form the ‘Conference on the Cause and Cure of War’ as a response to the trip – and became hugely influential in American society through to the outbreak of WW2.
The Women’s Peace Petition is one of the most treasured items in the Temple of Peace Archives, along with supporting collections from the Welsh League of Nations Union women’s campaigns, and WCIA look forward to working with others to mark the centenary in 2023-24 of this remarkable campaign.