Before the 1850s, there were celebrations of mothers, including ancient rituals for goddesses like the Greek Rhea and the Roman Cybele. But we can safely say the American holiday had its beginnings in the 1850s. That's because it began with the mother of the woman who ultimately established Mother's Day.
In the 19th century, there were extremely high infant mortality rates in the area that's West Virginia today. Caused by everything from poor sanitation to contaminated milk, it was a problem that Anne Reeves Jarvis was all too familiar with: only four of her 13 children survived into adulthood.
The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
St Andrew's Methodist Church now holds the International Mother's Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother's Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is "the person who has done more for you than
In 1912 Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrase "Second Sunday in May, Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis, Founder", and created the Mother's Day International Association]