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May 6, 2004 11:42 pm


Mother's Day: Who Invented It?



Jone Johnson Lewis, in About.com:

... Anna Jarvis, daughter of Anna Reeves Jarvis, who had moved from Grafton, West Virginia, to Philadelphia, in 1890, was the power behind the official establishment of Mother's Day

  • swore at her mother's gravesite in 1905 to dedicate her life to her mother's project, and establish a Mother's Day to honor mothers, living and dead
  • a persistent rumor is that Anna's grief was intensified because she and her mother had quarreled and her mother died before they could reconcile
  • in 1907 she passed out 500 white carnations at her mother's church, St. Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia -- one for each mother in the congregation
  • May 10, 1908: the first church -- St. Andrew's in Grafton, West Virginia -- responded to her request for a Sunday service honoring mothers
  • 1908: John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia merchant, joined the campaign for Mother's Day
  • also in 1908: the first bill was presented in the U.S. Senate proposing establishment of Mother's Day, by Nebraska Senator Elmer Burkett, at the request of the Young Men's Christian Association. The proposal was killed by sending it back to committee, 33-14.
  • 1909: Mother's Day services were held in 46 states plus Canada and Mexico
  • Anna Jarvis gave up her job -- sometimes reported as a teaching job, sometimes as a job clerking in an insurance office -- to work full-time writing letters to politicians, clergy members, business leaders, women's clubs and anyone else she thought might have some influence ....

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