Annual Bell-ringing on September 5 at 3:47 pm Marks 104th Anniversary of Portsmouth Peace Treaty

Portsmouth NH (August 22, 2009) – On September 5, 1905 at 3:47 pm, the bells of Portsmouth rang in celebration of the signing of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. Signaled from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where the negotiations and the Treaty signing took place, the bells expressed the joy of the local community who had taken personal interest in the world event happening in their hometown, and reverberated around the world as relief that what historians would later call “World War Zero” had ended the bloody conflict between Russia and Japan. President Theodore Roosevelt, who invited the warring nations to the negotiating table and chose Portsmouth, New Hampshire for its secure Shipyard and welcoming citizens as the venue, would win the Nobel Peace Prize for the back-channel diplomacy he had orchestrated from Sagamore Hill.

That bell-ringing is re-enacted each year in celebration of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty anniversary and the role local citizens had in making a difference to the proceedings in 1905.

On Saturday, September 5, 2009 an official US Navy salute on the Shipyard mall, followed by a 3:47 pm blast on the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard whistle, will serve as the signal for the bells of Portsmouth and Eliot to ring.

The bell-ringing is organized by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum with local churches and schools who participate in the bell-ringing each year. Last year the list included:

  • First Congregational Church of Eliot (1361 State Road, Rev. David Avery)
  • First Methodist Church of Portsmouth (129 Miller Avenue, Rev. Deborah Shipp)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church (South Church, 292 State St., Rev. Roberta Finkelstein)
  • Middle Street Baptist Church, (18 Court Street, Rev. Vivan Martindale
  • North Congregational Church (Market Square, Rev. Dawn Shippee)
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church (101 Chapel Street, Rev. Robert Stevens)
  • Portsmouth Public Schools (Dr. Robert Lister, Superintendent)

Those who would like more information about joining the bell-ringing salute should call Suzanne Moulton at 603-436-4010.

On Sunday, September 6th, Green Acre Baha’i School will raise the Peace Flag, with a presentation by “Sarah Farmer” (Dr. the school’s founder in 1894. Green Acre’s role in the peace process and the Treaty summer will be remembered with a special program on the grounds, starting at 2 pm.

Other commemorative Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum events in September include:

  • “The Peace of Portsmouth” A Pontine Community Theatre Workshop based on the original play Pontine created from actual newspaper accounts of the Treaty summer of 1905. The six-week series of lessons in performance and stagecraft takes place on Tuesdays, September 15 through October 20 (5:45-7:30 pm) at West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington Street, Portsmouth. No experience necessary and open to all, the workshop is especially good for teachers of world history looking for creative ways to incorporate "World War Zero" and turn of the century international relations in their classrooms. The workshop will conclude with a public performance (reading from the script and using original props created for the play in 2005) of “The Peace of Portsmouth” on October 25th at the Discover Portsmouth Center. Fee to participate in all 6 workshops is $45. Contact Pontine at 603-436-0666 or
  • Portsmouth Peace Treaty Beat Night with Larry Simon and the Groove Bacteria on Thursday, September 17, 7-8 pm. The monthly “Beat Night” fusion of jazz and poetry, upstairs at The Press Room on 77 Daniel Streetexplores a Portsmouth Peace Treaty theme, that “Poems can make a difference -- creative, non-mainstream influences matter in diplomacy. This Beat Night welcomes poems that speak to the idea that ordinary people can make a difference, that individual voices can affect diplomacy and help end conflict. Participants welcome. To read an original poem, contact:Larry Simon,
  • The ongoing “An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905 exhibit was created for the 100th anniversary of the Treaty in 2005. Based on extensive local research that was recognized by the Library of Congress, this exhibit tells the story of how local people made a difference in creating the atmosphere for peace that helped resolve the stalemate between the Russian and Japanese plenipotentiaries. President Theodore Roosevelt, who did not come to Portsmouth for the peace conference but exercised back channel diplomacy from the summer White House at Sagamore Hill would win the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. After the successful conclusion of the peace conference, TR expressed his thanks to locals who had aided the proceedings, for example, sending the Presidential yacht for an excursion by the Carey family who had entertained both delegations at Creek Farm. The Treaty exhibit, created by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum through the Japan-America Society of NH, is displayed in the John Paul Jones House Museum of the Portsmouth Historical Society at 43 Middle St.downtown Portsmouth. The museum is open 7 days a week, 11 am to 5 pm. (This exhibit is also displayed in the New Hampshire State Archives in Concord. 71 So.
    Fruit Street, open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4 pm).
  • Free maps for the self-guided walking tour of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail that links iconic sites of the Treaty summer, are also available at the museum, at the Discover Portsmouth Center and at the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce information centers on Market Streetand in Market Square.

The commemoration of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty is supported by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum through the Japan-America Society of NH. To learn more about the Treaty, scheduling an exhibit, NH Humanities Council lecture or other programs, visit or contact Charles Doleac,, 603-436-4010.

Media contact: Stephanie Seacord,, 603-772-1835

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