Anna Guérin

How Anna created the first poppies to raise money for widows and children affected by the First World War.

A member of the French YWCA, Anna Guérin was at the American Legion convention in 1920 and saw that the sale of large numbers of artificial poppies in her home country could fund support for those still suffering the after effects of war, particularly orphaned children.

Anna Guérin began production of fabric poppies and travelled the world encouraging countries to adopt the symbol. She made arrangements for the first nationwide distribution of poppies in America (working with Moina Michael), saw the promotion of the poppy in Canada and the adoption of it by the Canadian League and also in New Zealand and Australia.

In 1921 she met with Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig, founder and president of the British Legion, and persuaded him to adopt the poppy as an emblem for the Legion. The first British Legion Poppy Day appeal began in the autumn of 1921, with hundreds of thousands of French-made poppies selling across the country