While thanking the important women in your life Sunday, there’s one more person to add to your list. Luckily, she’s local.
Anna Jarvis, a Philadelphia transplant, is often credited with creating Mother’s Day, a national celebration meant to recognize all the hard work that mothers do. The first Mother’s Day was observed in 1908, and it was given federal recognition in 1914.
“The purpose of Mother’s Day,” Jarvis told The Inquirer in May 1913, “is to make men and women realize their individual responsibility to right the wrongs of motherhood and childhood, not only in the home but also in the industrial world, and in the name of ‘mother’ to inspire men to carry forward the work for the home, which would mean not only its uplift, but would deepen their brotherhood toward each other.”
Brainstorming what kind of gift Jarvis might have liked? Don’t bother. Jarvis, a West Virginia native who later moved to Philadelphia, “fought bitterly against commercialism of the day,” according to her 1948 obituary.
Read on to impress your mom with some Mother’s Day trivia during your Sunday get-together.
The two shared a close relationship — a friend said that they cared for each other “with a love which was more than love,” according to a 1987 Inquirer story. Carnations became a symbol for the day because it was her mother’s favorite flower.
No. Mother’s Day was federally established as the second Sunday in May in 1914, according to the Library of Congress.
Jarvis was against the day’s commercialization, from florists and candy-makers to card manufacturers.
A 1987 Inquirer article explains:
Jarvis’ contributions are noted in a historical marker at Market and Juniper Streets, dedicated in 1998.
Jarvis, who died at Marshall Square Sanitarium in West Chester after she became ill and went blind, according to her obituary, is buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd.
If you’re following the Anna Jarvis model, saying thanks is enough. Alternatively, there are a handful of events to enjoy together throughout the day. Staff writer Grace Dickinson’s roundup suggests skipping brunch in favor of a riverboat ride to Bartram’s Garden or a yoga class complete with baby goats.