Did you ever wonder how Mother's Day came about? Well, there's lots of ways mothers have been honored throughout the ages, but here's how it became an official U. S. holiday (from Wikipedia):
The first attempts to establish a "Mother's Day" in the U.S. were mostly marked by women's peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War. There were several limited observances in the 1870s and the 1880s but none achieved resonance beyond the local level.Interesting, huh? Happy Mother's Day!
In 1868 Ann Jarvis created a committee to establish a "Mother's Friendship Day" whose purpose was "to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War", and she wanted to expand it into an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular. Her daughter Anna Jarvis would continue her mother's efforts.
In New York City, Julia Ward Howe led a "Mother's Day" anti-war observance on June 2, 1872, which was accompanied by a Mother's Day Proclamation. The observance continued in Boston for about 10 years under Howe's personal sponsorship, then died out.
Several years later a Mother's Day observance on May 13, 1877 was held in Albion, Michigan over a dispute related to the temperance movement. According to local legend, Albion pioneer Juliet Calhoun Blakeley stepped up to complete the sermon of the Rev. Myron Daughterty who was distraught because an anti-temperance group had forced his son and two other temperance advocates to spend the night in a saloon and become publicly drunk. From the pulpit Blakeley called on other mothers to join her. Blakeley's two sons, both traveling salesmen, were so moved that they vowed to return each year to pay tribute to her and embarked on a campaign to urge their business contacts to do likewise. At their urging, in the early 1880s, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion set aside the second Sunday in May to recognize the special contributions of mothers.
Frank E. Hering, President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made the first known public plea for "a national day to honor our mothers" in 1904.
In its present form, Mother's Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker following the death of her mother Ann Jarvis on May 9, 1905. A small service was held on May 12, 1907 in the Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia where Anna's mother had been teaching Sunday school. But the first "official" service was on May 10, 1908 in the same church, accompanied by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in the Wanamaker's store on Philadelphia. She then campaigned to establish Mother's Day first as a U.S. national holiday and then later as an international holiday.
The holiday was declared officially by the state of West Virginia in 1910, and the rest of states followed quickly. On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day and requesting a proclamation. On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother's Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
In 1934, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a stamp commemorating the holiday.
In May 2008 the U.S. House of Representatives voted twice on a resolution commemorating Mother's Day, the first one being unanimous (with 21 members not voting). The Grafton's church, where the first celebration was held, is now the International Mother's Day Shrine and is a National Historic Landmark.