Ysabel LeMay is an artist who in 2010 was announced the winner of the KiptonART Rising Star Program. Her visually stunning images of fantasy and nature combined have captured the world in her flora and fauna. To see more of her work (you will be glad you did!) go to her website here.
The story of how Mother’s Day came about-and why the founder tried to stop it.
It was during the 19th century when women’s peace groups in the USA tried to establish holidays and regular activities in favor of peace and against war. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War to try and help bring peace to both sides. Ann Jarvis, the mother of the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, created a group in 1868 called “Mother’s Friendship Day”, the purpose of which was “to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War.” She tried repeatedly to make this and annual national holiday, but died in 1905 before she could see her plan through.
In honor of her mother, Anna Javis, along with the help of John Wanamaker (a civic and political figure), created Mother’s Day. The first “official” Mother’s Day was held on May 12th, 1907 in Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where Anna’s mother taught Sunday school.
On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requesting a proclamation. The next day, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war. In 1934, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a stamp commemorating the holiday.
In just six years, Anna Jarvis had taken her idea from one church to the entire nation. It sounds like the ultimate success story, but by the time of her death, Jarvis wanted it removed from the calendar altogether. What caused her contempt for this holiday she tried so hard to create?
Anna wanted this to be a time for children to personally celebrate their mothers in a creative, meaningful way. Soon, however, she realized her dream had become a nightmare with the commercialization of her holiday. She took offense to the florists, candy makers, and greeting card companies that used the occasion to make profits. As the magazine National Geographic noted, Jarvis took to boycotts and lawsuits to regain control of her holiday, and she was even arrested for crashing the 1925 American War Mothers convention (the organization sold carnations for Mother’s Day). She unsuccessfully attempted to reform her holiday until the 1940s, using most of her savings on the process.
Overall, Anna Jarvis saw a need for change–and changed history forever.