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Mother's Day centennial May 11 celebrated lavishly at Washington's Willard Hotel

On Mother's Day 1925, a poppy wreath by Mothers of World War is placed at Arlington National Cemetery. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Mother's Day is 100 years old on May 11.
On Mother's Day 1925, a poppy wreath by Mothers of World War is placed at Arlington National Cemetery. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Mother's Day is 100 years old on May 11.
On Mother's Day 1925, a poppy wreath by Mothers of World War is placed at Arlington National Cemetery. Library of Congress

Happy 100th anniversary, Mother’s Day, May 11.

President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 proclaimed the second Sunday in May a national holiday "as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."

The Woodrow Wilson House and the Willard InterContinental Hotel -- where President Wilson initiated the League of Nations -- are celebrating with a Mother's Day Centennial Luncheon May 11. Proceeds benefit the historic Woodrow Wilson House, Washington's only Presidential museum.

The luncheon with dessert buffet in the Beaux Arts hotel's elegant Crystal Room is $100 per person, $40 for children aged 12 to 5, and free for children under 5.

The Willard's "Flashback Lobby" during Mother’s Day weekend creates a 1914 ambiance with:

  • Songs from that era
  • Vintage fashions courtesy of Amalgamated Clothing in Alexandria, Virginia
  • Vintage floral stand designed by Greenworks, selling corsages and bouquets
  • President Wilson himself, courtesy of Madame Tussauds Washington D.C.

The Willard hotel is known as the "hotel of Presidents" dating back to Lincoln. He slept there before his inauguration, watched the inaugural parade from it, and paid the hotel bill with his first presidential paycheck. The total for his five-member-family's ten-day stay, including meals, was $773.75.

The idea of Mother's Day dates back to 1870, with Julia Ward Howe's poem "A Mother’s Day Proclamation". Howe is far better known for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". In 1861, Howe wrote the words to the melody of "John Brown’s Body" -- while staying at the Willard.

For more info and reservations: Mother's Day Centennial Luncheon, May 11, Willard InterContinental Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Reservations can be made online or by calling the Woodrow Wilson House, 202-387-4062 ext. 41228. Proceeds benefit the Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 202-387-4062. The Woodrow Wilson House is honoring another centennial, the beginning of World War One, with an exhibit "Images of the Great War" through Aug. 10.