the International Mother’s Day Shrine in 1962.
In 1908 a U.S. Senator from Nebraska, Elmer Burkett, proposed making Mother's Day a national holiday at the request of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). The proposal was defeated, but by 1909 forty-six states were holding Mother's Day services as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.
Anna Jarvis quit working and devoted herself full time to the creation of Mother's Day, endlessly petitioning state governments, business leaders, women groups, churches and other institutions and organizations. She finally convinced the World's Sunday School Association to back her, a key influence over state legislators and congress. In 1912 West Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother's Day, and in 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.
The Fight Over CommercializationThe holiday flourished in the United States and flowers, especially white carnations, became very popular. One business journal, Florists Review, went so far as to print, “This was a holiday that could be exploited.” But the budding commercialization of Mother's Day greatly disturbed Jarvis, so she vociferously opposed what she perceived as a misuse of the holiday. In 1923 she sued to stop a Mother’s Day event, and in the 1930's she was arrested for disturbing the peace at the American War Mothers group. She was protesting their sale of flowers. In the 1930’s Jarvis also petitioned against the postage stamp featuring her Mother, a vase of white carnations and the word “Mother’s Day.” Jarvis was able to have the words “Mother’s Day” removed. The flowers remained. In 1938, Time Magazine ran an article about Jarvis's fight to copyright Mother's Day, but by then it was already too late to change the commercial trend.
In opposition to the flower industry’s exploitation of the holiday, Jarvis wrote, “What will you do to route charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and other termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations?” Despite her efforts, flower sales on Mother's Day continued to grow. Florist's Review wrote, “Miss Jarvis was completely squelched.”
Anna Jarvis died in 1948, blind, poor and childless. Jarvis would never know that it was, ironically, The Florist's Exchange that had anonymously paid for her care. (Mother's Day Central)
Some friends asked me the other day if my son would do something to celebrate Mother's Day with me. I told them that I had already received the best Mother's Day gift I could get. One evening last week, I came home from work to find a beautiful pink cupcake sitting on the kitchen counter. There was no card but underneath the cake was a little note in his handwriting that simply said, "Thanks Mom for everything." I've already gotten my gift this year, no matter what he does or doesn't do on Sunday.
Happy Mother's Day!
Visit Anita Renfroe's video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYukEAmoMCQ. It says it all.