All across the world, over 46 countries honor mothers with a
special day, but not all
nations celebrate on the same day. We honor mothers with cards,
candy, flowers and
dinner out. But have you ever considered how this became a legal
holiday in the United
Mother's day was first suggested in the United States by Julia
Ward Howe, writer of
the Battle Hymn of the Republic. She suggested that this day be
dedicated to peace. Miss
Howe organized Mother's Day meetings in Boston, Mass. yearly.
In 1877, Mrs. Juliet Calhoun Blakely inadvertently set Mother's
Day in motion. On
Sunday, May 11, 1877, which was Mrs. Blakely's birthday, the pastor
of her Methodist
Episcopal Church left the pulpit abruptly, being distraught over the
behavior of his son.
Mrs. Blakely stepped to the pulpit to take over the remainder of the
service and called for
other mothers to join her. Mrs. Blakely's two sons were so touched by
her gesture that
they vowed to return to their hometown of Albion, Michigan every year
to mark their
mother's birthday and to pay tribute to her. In addition, the two
brothers also urged
business associates and those they met while traveling as salesman to
honor their mothers
on the second Sunday of May. They also urged the Methodist Episcopal
Albion to set aside the second Sunday of each May to honor all
mothers, and especially
While there were local celebrations honoring mothers in the late
1800's, it was largely
due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis that Mothers Day became a national
holiday in the
United States. Anna's mother, Mrs. Anna M. Jarvis, had been
instrumental in developing
"Mothers Friendship Day" which was part of the healing process of the
Civil War. In
honor of her mother, Miss Jarvis wanted to set aside a day to honor
all mothers, living
In 1907, Miss Anna began a campaign to establish a national Mother's
persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate
Mother's day on the
second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By
the next year
Mother's Day was also celebrated in her own city of Philadelphia.
Miss Jarvis and her supporters began to write to godly
businessmen, and politicians in their crusade to establish a national
Mother's Day. This
campaign was a success. By 1911, Mother's Day was celebrated in
almost every state in
the Union. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the official
proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held
each year on the
second Sunday of May.
The one-woman crusade of Anna Jarvis is often overlooked in
History books. Women
during the early 1900s were engaged in many other reform efforts that
the history behind
Mother's Day is often neglected. But it is likely that it was these
other reforms and the
avenues they opened for women that paved the way for Anna Jarvis to
succeed in her
campaign for Mother's Day.
Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and creator of History's
Women Website at http://www.HistorysWomen.com. Visit her site
and sign up for her FREE weekly newsletter.
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