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Celebrating Mothers & the History of Mothers Day

Posted 05/08/22

Celebrating Mothers & the History of Mothers Day

As we celebrate Mother's Day, we remember maternal figures everywhere. We also remember the history of Mother's Day - which has a special connection to West Virginia. Below are a few resources to help you celebrate Mother's Day with the maternal figures in your life and learn more about the history of this special day.

Inspire the children in your life with Mother's Day Crafts from Hoopla...

Mother's Day Crafts

Title: Mother's Day Crafts

Author: Jean Eick

Summary: Through easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step illustrations, this book shows readers how to make Mother's Day crafts and decorations using everyday objects and craft materials. Activities and games are also included, as well as a brief description of the holiday.




Did you know that Anna Jarvis organized the first Mother's Day celebration in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908? Jarvis would spend the the rest of her life promoting and defending the holiday, as she felt it should be celebrated. Learn more about Anna Jarvis and history with these books from our collection:

Memorializing MotherhoodTitle: Memorializing Motherhood : Anna Jarvis and the struggle for control of Mother's Day

Author: Katharine Lane Antolini

Summary: Few know the name Anna Jarvis, yet on the second Sunday in May, we mail the card, buy the flowers, place the phone call, or make the brunch reservation to honor our mothers, all because of her. 

Anna Jarvis organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908 and then spent decades promoting the holiday and defending it from commercialization. She designed her Mother’s Day celebration around a sentimental view of motherhood and domesticity, envisioning a day venerating the daily services and sacrifices of mothers within the home.

After Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914, many organizations sought to align the holiday’s meaning with changing perceptions of modern motherhood in the twentieth century. Instead of restricting a mother’s service and influence solely to the domestic sphere, they emphasized the power of mothers both within their homes and throughout their communities. 

Jarvis refused to accept this changing interpretation, claiming both intellectual and legal ownership of Mother’s Day. Her obsession with protecting the purity of her vision sustained a war of verbal and legal assaults against rival holiday promoters, patriotic women’s organizations, charitable foundations, public health reformers, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. The struggle for control of Mother’s Day ultimately threatened her livelihood, physical health, and emotional stability. 

Memorializing Motherhood explores the complicated history of Anna Jarvis’s movement to establish and control Mother’s Day, as well as the powerful conceptualization of this day as both a holiday and a cultural representation of motherhood.


Legacy of Anna JarvisTitle: Mother's Day : The Legacy of Anna Jarvis

Author: L. Wayne Sheets

Summary: Mother's Day is the most celebrated non-religious holiday in the world. In America alone, over $67.1 million is spent on Mother's Day cards in celebration of mother each year. Each individual spent an average of $126.60 in 2013 for cards, flowers and taking mother out for her annual Mother's Day dinner. While Mother's Day was not proclaimed a national holiday until 1914, some form of a Mother's Days celebration has been held since biblical times. The battle to have a special day proclaimed at the national level and set aside for mothers was not an easy one. Anna Jarvis took up her mother s dream that . . . [I hope that] someone, sometime will found a memorial Mother's Day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. . ., proclaiming at her mother's funeral as her mother was being lowered into her grave saying, Mother, that prayer [that you] made in our little church in Grafton calling for someone, somewhere, sometime to found a memorial to Mother's Day? The time and the place is here and the someone is your daughter, and by the grace of God, you shall have that Mother's Day. From that moment to that of her death, Anna dedicated her entire treasure and physical and mental stamina to the accomplishment of her goal. Anna did not, nor could she at the time, foresee the obstacles that she would face in her effort to fulfill her mother s dream. Unimaginable obstacles including those of governmental resistance, populace apathy, lack of treasure and fraudulent claims by others plagued her at every opportunity. Only through dogged determination and tenacity was she able to overcome these obstacles and carry to fruition her promise to her dead mother. This is also the story of Anna's fight against the commercialization of Mother's Day, which she believed was to be a special day when the best mother in the world your mother was to be shown the affection and love of her children without ritual or ceremony. Anna believed that Mother's Day was to be celebrated without special fanfare the one special day of the year when all children were to go home to visit their mother, or if that wasn't possible, they were to send her a hand-written note expressing their love and affection for their mother not a fancy commercially printed card. It was not a day to be commercialized by confection and floral industries. She fought the commercialism of her special day until the day she died. This then, is the story of how one woman, keeping her promise to her dead mother, overcome unbelievable hardships to establish the world's most celebrated non-religious holiday.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW Mother's Day : The Legacy of Anna Jarvis FROM THE OCPL


OCPL Online: 

OCPL at Home Discover more resources that you can enjoy with the maternal figures figures in your life from the comfort of your own home. Access is always available to many library services remotely. With an internet connection, you can enjoy online services from anywhere. There are plenty of ways to enjoy your library card while at home or on the go.
Visit OCPL@Home to get started

Browse and borrow downloadable books, audiobooks, and videos from the West Virginia Downloadable Entertainment Library Initiative (WVDeli - and Hoopla (

All it takes to log in is your library card number and PIN and with an internet connection, you are ready to start downloading or streaming to your tablet, smartphone, anytime, anywhere. 

Download e-books, audiobooks, graphic e-novels, music, and more through WVDeli or Hoopla.

Download e-books and audiobooks on WVDeli   

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