_Mother’s Day History

May 5, 2021

The First Mother’s Day

All About Flags…Not Flowers

“I…direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

Pres. Woodrow Wilson declaring the first national “Mother’s Day” on May 9, 1914, but the campaign for it began years earlier.

The Daughter Behind Mother’s Day
  • Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her own mother, who founded “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach health and sanitation to mothers in the Appalachian communities during the 1860s.
  • Jarvis’ mother also cared for both Union and Confederate soldiers, and formed “Mothers Friendship Day” to encourage reconciliation after the Civil War.
  • After her mother’s death, Jarvis began a campaign to honor mothers. She held the first Mother’s Day celebration to honor her mother (and all mothers) in West Virginia in 1908 and two years later the state declared it a holiday.

By the 1920s, mothers nationwide were showered with candy, flowers, cards, & other gifts to celebrate Mother’s Day, but Jarvis grew frustrated with the commercialization of the holiday, that she intended as a day to honor the role mothers play in the family, church, and community. She spent the rest of her life fighting against its commercial success because she wanted it a “to be a day of sentiment, not profit.”

Mother’s Day Proclamation: https://www.archives.gov/global-pages/larger-image.html?i=/historical-docs/doc-content/images/mothers-day-proc-l.jpg

The Tenacious Woman Who Helped Keep Mother’s Day Alive: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/tenacious-woman-who-helped-keep-mothers-day-alive-180955205/

Trending: The Mother of Mother’s Day: https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2016/05/lcm-trending-the-mother-of-mothers-day/

by Jenna Lee,