EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The concept of Mother’s Day in the United States goes back to the 19th century, where Ann Reeves Jarvis started “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” in West Virginia to teach women how to properly care for their children and improve sanitary conditions, according to history.com.
Following her death in 1905, Ann Reeves Jarvis’ daughter, Anna Jarvis helped turn Mother’s Day into a national holiday by organizing the first official celebration in 1908 at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
Anna also gained support from John Wanamaker, a department store owner in Philadelphia. Reportedly thousands of people attended the Mother’s Day celebration at one of Wanamaker’s stores in Philadelphia, marking success to Anna’s efforts in establishing the national holiday, according to history.com.
Anna was persistent in adding Mother’s Day to the national calendar by writing to prominent people and founded the Mother’s Day International Association. By 1912, most states in country were celebrating Mother’s Day as a national holiday.
Another woman who contributed to the origin of Mother’s Day is Julia Ward Howe. She presented a Mother’s Day of Peace in 1873 which was directed to “heal the wounds of the American Civil War and European Franco-Prussian War,” and for women to gather annually, according to ancestry.com.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day in the U.S. In 1915, Mother’s Day becomes an official holiday in Canada and Mexico had its first official Mother’s Day on May 10, 1922.