History of Mother’s Day

History of Mother's Day

Many civilizations have created ways to honor motherhood. In the United States, Anna M. Jarvis, born in 1864 in Webster, (W.) Va., is credited as the force behind Mother’s Day. When Jarvis was 41 years old, her mother died. On the second anniversary of her mother’s death (the second Sunday in May 1908), Jarvis made public her plans to establish a day to honor mothers.

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Other sources report “mother’s day” church services on May 10, 1908, in Grafton, W. Va., and a celebration of mothers at the Wannamaker Auditorium in Philadelphia, Pa., on the same day. The observance became official in 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation naming the second Sunday of May as a day for “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

  • 1920s
    What cards lacked in color—in those days, color was hand-applied rather than printed—they made up for in formality.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1920s mother with flowers
  • 1930s
    A mother’s place was in the kitchen, baking with her little one, in this Mother’s Day greeting.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1930s mom in kitchen
  • 1930s
    Mother’s Day wishes came with a spot of hot tea and some pretty flowers.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1930s teapot
  • 1940s
    No grande mocha latte for the mom receiving this coffeepot card, which pictured a few of the roles society expected of her in those days.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1940s coffeepot
  • 1940s
    A pin cushion, a thimble and other familiar icons of the sewing basket conveyed best wishes for mom.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1940s pin cushion
  • 1950s
    Raccoons, bears and cats with human qualities were common greeting card characters in the 1950s in cards for all occasions, including Mother’s Day.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1950s cats
  • 1950s
    A gingham-themed tea party shared love for mom in this decade.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1950s gingham tea party
  • 1960s
    An aproned June Cleaver was stylin’ in her TV kitchen, and so was this card.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1960s apron
  • 1960s
    Who taught you how to behave? “Nobody!” says the inside of this rebellious Mother’s Day card. “But I gotta give you credit, Mom. You tried like #($&(”
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1960s pink flowers
  • 1960s
    Remember that prim and proper 1920s mom? She burst out of her shell in the 1960s!
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1960s feather boa
  • 1970s
    Moms from any era can relate to this card acknowledging that household chores rarely take a day—even Mother’s Day—off.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1970s ironing board
  • 1970s
    Office scenes began to appear in 1970s Mother’s Day cards as more women, including women with children, began working outside the home.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1970s office scene
  • 1980s
    The Mahogany card line debuted in the 1980s, and with it many more choices recognizing African-American moms for Mother’s Day and all occasions.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1980s Mahogany card
  • 1990s
    “Happy Mother’s Day to Mom, the original seat belt,” says this card for Moms from every decade who know this move.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1990s mom in car
  • 1990s
    “That way you can’t see what we did to the kitchen,” says the message inside this card.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1990s breakfast in bed
  • 1990s
    Mother’s Day isn’t always happy for those who have suffered a loss or are going through difficult days. Some cards started to acknowledge tough times with gentle thoughts and caring.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1990s tough times
  • 1990s
    It really does take a village, and this card recognized women in a community of caring.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 1990s takes a village
  • 2000s
    Moms-to-be could now receive cards for their very first Mother’s Day.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 2000s mom-to-be
  • 2000s
    No baking or sewing images to honor the fashionable 21st century mom!
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 2000s fashionable 21st century mom
  • 2010s
    It looks like a regular card, but hold this one up to a webcam and watch it come to life through augmented reality technology. A 2010 feature that surely would amaze the mother of 100 years ago!
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 2010s augmented reality card
  • 2010s
    Mom isn’t perfect these days. Actually, she never was—we’re just willing to laugh about the challenges in the new millennium.
    Hallmark Mother's Day cards through the years: 2010s mom food pyramid