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Jarvis, Anna

  • By: Katharine Lane Antolini
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Anna Jarvis was the founder of Mother's Day. Legend contends that Jarvis once overheard her mother's special plea for a day honoring mothers when she was a child: “I hope and pray 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.”

When her mother died in 1905, Jarvis promised at her graveside to honor that wish. She organized the first official Mother's Day service at Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, on the morning of May 10, 1908. That same afternoon, 15,000 people attended a Mother's Day service at the Wanamaker Store Auditorium in Philadelphia, which she also organized. Jarvis chose the second Sunday in May for Mother's Day to ...

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