Even though Julia Ward Howe (the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic) first made a "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870, the woman pictured above (Anna Jarvis) is considered to be the official founder of Mother's Day. Her own mother, Ann Marie Jarvis had been active in "Mother's Day Work Clubs," which had been established before the Civil War.
Born the ninth of eleven children on May 1st 1864, in West Virginia, Jarvis decided to make her own mother's wish come true. When Anna was only twelve years old (2: An Early Sense of Direction), she heard her mother say "I hope that someone, sometime will found a memorial Mother's Day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it."
When Anna's mother died, in 1905, Miss Jarvis vowed that "...by the grace of God, you shall have that Mother's Day." And from that point onwards, she worked tirelessly to persuade business and political leaders to recognize a national day of honor for Mothers (7: Magnificent Obsession).
On May 10th, 1908, John Wanamaker held a Mother's Day service at the 5,000 seat Wanamaker store auditorium in Philadelphia, but to every one's surprise 15,000 people tried to attend. In addition to Wanamaker, H. J. Heinz also worked to get Congress to acknowledge Mother's Day (4: Supportive Someone). In May 1914, The second Sunday of May was officially declared Mother's Day by both Houses of Congress and President Woodrow Wilson approved the measure.
Anna Jarvis never married (15: Forget About Prince Charming) or had children, but spent the rest of her life and much of her money campaigning to fulfill her mother's wish. Jarvis died on November 24, 1948 at the age of 84 and is buried next to her mother in Philadelphia.
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