Saturday, March 13, 2010

Anna Jarvis Founder of Mother's Day

Sunday 14th March - Mother's Day, Ireland

Miss Anna Jarvis was the daughter of Anna Reeves and Granville E. Jarvis, born May 1, 1864 in Webster, West Virginia. Miss Jarvis' mother prior to the Civil War, organized what she called, "Mothers Day Work Clubs". These women did charitable work in their communities, including providing medicine for the poor, milk inspections for sanitary instructions to families in which the mothers were tubercular. The ladies provided professional nursing services for sick soldiers, who were mostly suffering from typhoid fever. It was a greatly needed service at that time.

Anna Jarvis' mother was her Sunday School teacher and one day as a memorial for soldiers killed in service, was discussed, Mrs. Jarvis said, "I hope someone, sometime establishes a special day as a memorial to our mothers". Young Anna Jarvis never forgot her mothers wish, and after her mothers death on May 9, 1905 she began to pursue diligently the establishment of a Mothers Day, in memory of her mother's words. She worked unceasingly at this task, holding meeting, talking to every available, influential person, of her mother's idea. she wrote letter by the hundreds and finally the first official Mother's Day service was held in her mothers own church, the Andrew Methodist Episcopal in Grafton, West Virginia. On that special day Miss Jarvis sent 500 white carnations to the church, one to be worn by each person attending the service. Anna Jarvis died in 1948 in a Philadelphia rest home, blind and penniless. Though she was founder of Mother's Day, she herself was never a mother, since she remained a spinster all her life.


  1. Thank you for providing this history. We always celebrated (second Sunday in May in the U.S.) but I never learned of how it came to be. Happy Mother's Day to all in Ireland! =D

  2. Thank you Anne for the Mother's Day information, it's history is something I wasn't aware of. I hope you enjoyed the day!

  3. Being from West Virginia I loved your posts!! One of our States more famous women!! It is part of our history and kids learn all about Anna Jarvis starting Elementary School ...debbie

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