Mother’s Day Turns 100: Thank You President Woodrow Wilson!

by Karen on May 11, 2014

in Collections, Exhibits, History, Museum Issues, Museums in the News, Shopping

Did you know this is the 100th year of Mother’s Day celebrations in the United States? On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation recognizing Mother’s Day as an official holiday. You can read the proclamation in full at this link from the National Archives.

President Wilson's Mother's day Proclamation
Digital scan of President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation on May 9, 1914 that made Mother’s Day an official national holiday.

President Wilson’s proclamation encouraged Mother’s Day to be a patriotic holiday and asked people to display their flags at their homes, on government buildings and other key locations “as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

Anna Jarvis is considered the founder of Mother’s Day. She grew up in West Virginia and was the child of an activist mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis. Ann Reeves Jarvis founded Mother’s Day Work Clubs, which helped educate families in hopes of decreasing infant mortality and reducing disease. She and her clubs then worked tirelessly during the Civil War, providing care to both Union and Confederate soldiers. She stressed the need to be neutral politically so the clubs could focus on giving much needed medical care no matter who the patient was.

Anna Jarvis, Mother's Day Founder
Anna Jarvis is considered the Founder of Mother’s Day.

Inspired by her mother’s work and legacy, Anna Jarvis organized the first public Mother’s Day celebration in her mother’s hometown in West Virginia in 1908. The ceremony honored her mother and women in the community. She later went on to found the Mother’s Day International Association (MDIA) in 1912 and created a letter writing campaign to try and get Mother’s Day recognized as a holiday in the U.S. and other countries. After much encouragement, President Wilson took action in 1914 by issuing a national proclamation declaring the second Sunday in May to be celebrated as Mother’s Day.

Anna Jarvis later spoke out about the increasing commercial nature of Mother’s Day, concerned that giving flowers, candy, cards and other goods took away from the pureness of celebrating one’s mother and her accomplishments. While that may be true, the evolution of the Mother’s Day holiday over the last 100 years is fascinating.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the national Mother’s Day holiday, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton, Virginia has teamed up with the Hallmark Visitor’s Center in Kansas City, MO to offer a unique look at the history of Mother’s Day. Both locations are offering exhibits sharing President Wilson’s Mother’s Day proclamation and Hallmark cards from the 1920s to the current day.

100 Years of Celebrating Mothers Mother's Day Exhibit
The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton, VA and the Hallmark Visitor’s Center in Kansas City, MO have co-exhibits called “100 Years of Celebrating Mothers.” 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day as an official U.S. holiday.

Here at ShopforMuseums.com, we are proud to have a relationship with both the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum and Hallmark. ShopforMuseums.com helps museums and related organizations across the U.S. raise funds when people do their everyday shopping online. To participate, simply start your shopping trip at ShopforMuseums.com, select a museum or organization to support with your donation then click through on any of our thousands of store links. When you check out, a percentage of your purchase amount will be donated back to your chosen museum or organization for free. We encourage you to shop on behalf of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library when you make purchases at Hallmark and hundreds of other online stores.

Shop Hallmark ECards at ShopforMuseums.com
You can support the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum or other organization of your choice when you shop online at Hallmark through ShopforMuseums.com

We wish you a very happy 100th Mother’s Day and thank you in advance for helping out the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum and other museums across the U.S. when you shop online!

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