Mother's Day became a national holiday due to the efforts of Philadelphia resident Anna Marie Jarvis.
Jarvis was born in Webster, W. Va., on May 1, 1864, to Granville E. Jarvis and Ann Maria Reeves. Before she helped spur the Mother's Day movement, Jarvis was a suffragist and was involved in the welfare and temperance movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the early 1900s, her family moved to Philadelphia.
Jarvis' mother died in 1905, and two years later, Jarvis held a memorial service in honor of her mother, vowing to start a national holiday that honored all mothers.
Mother's Day, now held on the second Sunday in May, was recognized in 1914. However, within five years, Jarvis was fighting against the very holiday she helped establish. She had become unhappy with how the day had grown commercialized, and she detested the idea of people only sending a greeting card or candy to their mothers. She and her sister Ellsinore spent the rest of their lives campaigning against Mother's Day.
Jarvis' final residence was at the Marshall Square Sanatorium in West Chester. She died there in 1948 and was buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd.
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