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History of Mother's Day

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Some believe that two women were instrumental in establishing Mother's Day, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis. Other sources say that Juliet Calhoun Blakely was the basis for Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the late 1800s. Her sons paid tribute to her each year and urged others to honor their mothers.

Around 1870, Julia Ward Howe called for Mother's Day to be celebrated each year to encourage pacifism and disarmament amongst women. It continued to be held in Boston for about ten years under her sponsorship.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis held a private Mother's Day celebration in memory of her mother, Ann Jarvis, in Grafton, West Virginia. Ann Jarvis organized "Mother's Day Work Clubs" to improve health and cleanliness in the area where she lived. Anna Jarvis launched a quest for Mother's Day to be more widely recognized. Her campaign was later financially supported by John Wanamaker, a clothing merchant from Philadelphia.

In 1908, she was instrumental in arranging a service in the Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which was attended by 407 children and their mothers.

Mother's Day was established to recognize the bonds of motherhood and the contributions mothers have made to society. The first Mother's Day was observed by Women Peace Groups to honor mothers of sons that died on both sides of the American Civil War.

In today's society mothers now play many roles, head of household, wife, comforter, confidant and doctor. The contributions and sacrifices mothers have made throughout history and continue to make are priceless, and worthy of recognition all year long.

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