Who started the tradition of Mother’s Day?

A daughter’ love for her mother along with her quest to carry on her mother’s legacy was the foundation for America’s national holiday of Mother’s Day.  Anna Reeves Jarvis was a pre-civil war “supermom.”  She was a hard working Virginian mom who balanced having eleven children along with organizing Mother’s Day Work Clubs in her community.  The premise behind these clubs was to educate and promote sanitation measures in her town.  In addition, Anna was instrumental with encouraging the mothers of these clubs to care and nurture soldiers from both the Confederacy and Union lines.

One of Anna’s dying wishes was to make sure that the contributions of a mother’s work in the home and in the community was recognized at a national level. After Anna’s death in 1905, one of her surviving daughters, (also named Anna) along with support from the community, began a national letter writing campaign.  The fruits of their campaign resulted in a new holiday that was first celebrated in Anna’s home town of Grafton, West Virginia. In May 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed and issued Proclamation 1268, creating a national holiday that recognizes mothers each year during the second Sunday of May.

The love of a mother and her work has endured for close to a century.  As the second Sunday of May approaches, take the time to reflect on the gifts our mothers have made in the home and community. It is never too late to honor our mother by passing on some of the unique legacies that have made a difference in our lives.


About the author

I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

More posts by Senior LivingTopics





Add a comment