This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Most of us probably think that this is an international holiday that has been around since the dawn of time. It is in fact a fairly modern holiday, and no it wasn’t invented by Hallmark to sell more greeting cards.
The holiday is believed to have originated in Henderson Kentucky around 1887. It was the idea of a young school teacher named Mary Towles Sasseen, who is honored with a state marker he site of the old Center Street School in Henderson. There has been some debate over the last hundred years or so about the actual origin of the holiday, with some people claiming Philadelphia’s Anna Jarvis was the actual founder of the holiday. The facts however point to Sasseen.
In the spring of 1887 Sasseen enlisted her students to create hand made cards to be given out in a special Mother’s Day observation to honor their mothers. Sasseen went on to publish a booklet of Mother’s Day ideas based on what the students had created.
Sasseen’s booklet was distributed 14 years before Anna Jarvis announced plans for a Mother’s Day Holiday, and 21 years before Jarvis persuaded a U.S. senator to introduce the bill that would create the national observance we all participate in today. By 1894 Sasseen had begun presenting the idea at speaking engagements outside of Kentucky, and following a visit to Springfield Ohio, that city began formally observing Mother’s Day in all the public schools.
In 1914, through the instrumentality of Jarvis, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a legal holiday. Congress passed a resolution designating the second Sunday in May as the date for the observance. Because of this, many people equate the origination of Mother’s Day to Jarvis instead of Sasseen.
Now go give your mom a hug and tell her you love her.