The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum 

The Treaty of Portsmouth of 1905 is considered one of the most powerful symbols of peace in the Northern Pacific region and the most significant, shared peace history for Japan, Russia and the United States. The Treaty also marks the ability of local citizens to engage in multi-track diplomacy by hosting direct formal and informal negotiations between the foreign delegations.

The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum studies the history of New Hampshire's state and local hosting of the treaty in the context of multi-track diplomacy theory. In 1905 Portsmouth, a small New Hampshire town with no international peace negotiation experience, rose to the occasion of hosting direct peace negotiations between Russia and Japan to end the largest war then being fought between two nations. For almost thirty days the U.S. Navy hosted the formal negotiations at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, while the Governor and the Executive Council of New Hampshire, the Mayor of Portsmouth, and the citizens of New Hampshire served as informal hosts to the Russian and Japanese delegates by offering their good offices, local hospitality and creating every opportunity to foster goodwill and trust between them.

Commemorating the Portsmouth Peace Treaty


In 1905 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, an uncommon commitment to peace became a common virtue. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum commemorates and continues that tradition by presenting events, lectures and performances that employ different media and different perspectives “in the spirit of the Treaty of Portsmouth.”  This concert is one of those events.


In 2005, dozens of local organizations and hundreds of their volunteers celebrated the theme of the 1905 peace treaty -- reached with ordinary citizens providing a crucial, neutral, supporting atmosphere, not for one or the other of the protagonists, but for peace. Intensive research in local archives, newspapers of the time and other primary sources energized the entire Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary celebration. The creation of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail to accurately explain the multi-track diplomacy of the Treaty encouraged and fostered many other parties’ involvement in the Treaty celebrations, ultimately resulting in:

·          10 exhibits, including the central “An Uncommon Commitment to Peace” permanent and satellite version (currently on display at the New Hampshire State Archives), as well as exhibits by the Portsmouth Athenaeum, NH Art Association, Seacoast African-American Cultural Center, Children’s Museum of Portsmouth, Green Acre Baha’i School, Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, Old York Historical Society, Wentworth By the Sea Hotel and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard;

·          4 original plays including the 2005 NH Humanities Council statewide Chautauqua,

·          15-week concert series and three original musical compositions and multiple original art works,

·          22 lectures presented in conjunction with the Portsmouth Public Library, the Portsmouth Athenaeum, the Portsmouth Historical Society, Green Acre Baha’i School and Dartmouth College,

·          9 publications, 

·          an official port visit by the U.S. Navy’s USS Ross,

·          re-enactments of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard welcome and Treaty signing commemoration, the New Hampshire National Guard’s Welcoming Parade,

·          two State Dinners hosted by the Governor of New Hampshire and a Mayor’s Tea Reception for Portsmouth’s Sister Cities of Nichinan, Japan; and Severodvinsk, Russia,

·          visits by the Japanese Ambassador to the US, the Cultural Minister to the US, and the Consul-General of Japan in Boston

·          the creation of a Curriculum Guide to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty distributed to all school districts in the state

·          creation of a permanent website as a hub for ongoing research, recognized by the Library of Congress for its educational value and accessibility


2008 Calendar of Events


“Flags Over Portsmouth” Film Marathon, Portsmouth Public Library, Spring TBD 2008


Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail, Self-guided Tour Maps at Portsmouth Historical Society & Information Kiosk; Guided Tours: 603-436-3988


New Hampshire State Archives Exhibit, “An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905” New Hampshire State Archives, 71 So. Fruit Street, Concord NH, M-F 8:30 am - 4 pm


Portsmouth Historical Society Museum Exhibit, “An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905” Middle & State Streets, Portsmouth, 603-436-8420, May 24- October 31, 2008


“Theodore Roosevelt’s Nobel Peace Prize” Lecture by Charles B. Doleac, Dublin Historical Society, Dublin NH, 603-563-8545, August 22, 2008


Pontine Theatre, “The Peace of Portsmouth

Islington Street, Portsmouth
, www., 603-436-0666, August 2008


Sarah Farmer Exhibit & Peace Flag-Raising Commemoration, Green Acre Baha’i School, Eliot ME,, August 31, 2008


Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Commemoration & Bell-Ringing throughout Portsmouth

September 5, 2008, 3:47 pm


Portsmouth Peace Treaty “Beat Night: Poetry & Jazz” The Press Room, Portsmouth,, September 18, 2008


Labor/Portsmouth Peace Treaty Parade, Downtown Portsmouth, September 28, 2008


Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum Theodore Roosevelt Nobel Peace Prize Commemoration

Wentworth By the Sea Hotel, New Castle NH, December 2008

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