Over 2023-24, WCIA and Academi Heddwch – alongside Women’s Archive Wales, Heddwch Nain Mamgu, the National Library and National Museums of Wales, the Senedd and Welsh Government, Universities and other prospective partners – will join ‘peace forces’ on a campaign marking the centenary of Wales’ remarkable Women’s Peace Appeal of 1923-24 – led by the Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU, to which WCIA is the modern-day descendant). This homepage draws together the work of WCIA’s volunteers, heritage team and many different community partners since 2014, and was launched for International Women’s Day 2020. The page is regularly updated as new materials come to light, in liasion with Academi Heddwch’s Women’s Peace Appeal Research Group; and users can find links to most digitised materials via the navigation boxes down this page.
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 ArtsDownload / Print PDF Booklet 'Inspired by Annie'
Through the 1920s-30s, the Women’s Committee of the Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU) led some ‘world-inspiring’ campaigns for world peace. In 1923 – the horrors of World War 1 having galvanised a generation against conflict – Women of Wales organised an unprecedented appeal: 390,296 women signed a Memorial petition, through the Welsh League of Nations Union, appealing to the women of America ‘from home to home’ and ‘hearth to hearth’, to join them in a call for ‘LAW NOT WAR’ – for America to join and lead the new League of Nations. A beautiful gilded Moroccan leather and vellum Memorial Binding was illuminated by Cecily West and produced through the Davies sisters’ Gregynog Press; and a great oak chest carved by E J Hallam to contain the signature sheets, to be presented to the US President Calvin Coolidge and held ‘for all time’ to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The Women’s Peace 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.
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. Annie kept a diary of their travels, recently discovered and digitised by WCIA and the National Library, offering an incredible insight into the Peace Tour and the time – an invaluable history and learning resource. 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 Wales’ visit – which became a key organ of the Women’s movement and hugely influential in American society through to the outbreak of WW2.
The Petition binding is one of the most treasured items in the Temple of Peace Collections – albeit, rediscovered itself in 2014! – along with supporting materials 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. Download and print the booklet, and explore the digitised materials and projects inspired by this remarkable campaign via the links below.