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Throw Your Cards Away: The Founder Of Mother’s Day Hated Mother’s Day

By / 05.11.14
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All those Mother’s Day gifts you bought for your mom this year, the ones that made her smile? Well, go back to your parents house and throw them all away. The founder of the holiday was not fond of her creation; she even cared less for it than Mark Wahlberg. Take it away, National Geographic:

It was founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. And when the holiday went commercial, its greatest champion, Anna Jarvis, gave everything to fight it, dying penniless and broken in a sanitarium.

It all started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis—Anna’s mother—held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

My mom tried to fight a priest because I almost died in a church parking lot, so she will continue to get gifts from me forever. Since Jarvis was so against the idea of Mother’s Day, did she try to stop it?

Jarvis incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association and tried to retain some control of the holiday. She organized boycotts, threatened lawsuits, and even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day to raise funds for charities.

“In 1923 she crashed a convention of confectioners in Philadelphia,” Antolini said.

A similar protest followed two years later. “The American War Mothers, which still exists, used Mother’s Day for fund-raising and sold carnations every year,” Antolini said. “Anna resented that, so she crashed their 1925 convention in Philadelphia and was actually arrested for disturbing the peace.”

And then she lived happily ever…

Jarvis’s fervent attempts to reform Mother’s Day continued until at least the early 1940s. In 1948 she died at 84 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.

Oh. The important thing is that we all celebrate our moms. Today is the day where we buy them stuff and reward them for loving us no matter how terrible we were at baseball when we were 11 but still made them come watch us. Forever will we repay them for hitting that foul ball into that parked car.

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Via National Geographic


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