Birthplace of Anna Jarvis, Founder of Mother's Day - Grafton, West Virginia
Mothers' Day Observance
The aspiration of local
legend Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis and her daughter, Anna Jarvis, was
to establish a national memorial day dedicated to all mothers, both
alive and deceased. After her mother's death in 1905, Anna Jarvis
was relentless in achieving this goal. Jarvis was successful in
getting West Virginia Governor Glassock to proclaim a statewide
Mother's Day in 1910. Four years later, President Woodrow Wilson
signed into law a U.S. House of Representatives resolution,
introduced at Jarvis' request, making the second Sunday in May the
national Mother's Day. Mother's Day has since become an
international holiday, celebrated in 152 countries.
Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis and her family lived in
Taylor County in the mid-1800s. Stories about her many good deeds
and leadership qualities had become part of the local folklore by
the time of her death. She and her brother, a doctor, had formed
the Mothers Day Friendship Clubs to work with women to prevent the
deaths of children by teaching sanitation methods. They explained
to mothers the importance of boiling water, how to keep food from
spoiling, and other antiseptic methods.
Jarvis and the women who joined these Mothers Day
Friendship Clubs refused to take sides during the Civil War.
Instead they provided nursing services and taught sanitation
methods which helped save thousands of soldiers' lives on both
sides, North and South. After the war, Jarvis was tireless in
promoting peace and good will among neighbors who may have differed
politically. She conceived a family day picnic honoring mothers,
called Mothers Friendship Day; its real goal, however, was to
reunite alienated neighbors. Following a prayer, the band began to
play "Should Auld Acquaintances Be Forgot." By the time they
reached the word "forgot," neighbors were weeping and shaking
Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother in
1907, and all mothers the next year. Services were held at Andrews
Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, which is now the
International Mothers Day Shrine. Anna Jarvis' birthplace, where
the Jarvis family lived from 1854 to 1864, is now a museum.
The Mother's Day Observance project is documented
through photographs, a written report, a genealogy of the Jarvis
family, and a videotape of the Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum.
Originally submitted by: John D. Rockefeller,Senator.
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