Mother’s Day Celebrated a Hundred Years Ago

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, May 11, 1913:  Mother’s Day. Went to Sunday School this morning. Managed to while away the time for I didn’t go any place, because I didn’t.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (May 15, 1911)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

According to Wikipedia, Anna Jarvis organized the first modern Mother’s Day celebration in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia to honor mothers and motherhood. Ms. Jarvis promoted the holiday, and it soon spread to other places. It became an official US holiday in 1914.

It’s surprising how quickly Mother’s Day caught on throughout the country. Grandma considered it important enough to mention in the diary in 1913—only 6 years after the first celebration of Mothers Day.  And, the local newspaper, The Milton Evening Standard, had an article about it two years earlier.

15 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Celebrated a Hundred Years Ago

  1. Would you believe it? Just two seconds before I opened your post, the radio was telling me the history of Mother’s Day. However, the radio commentator mentioned that it has always been Mother’s Day, as Helena and you write it, but I notice The Milton Evening Standard writes Mothers’ Day.

    1. I like Mother’s better than Mothers’. It is much more personal, and to me it is the day for each Mother. It is her special day from her children.

    2. It is interesting that the old newspaper used Mothers’. When I wrote the post I wasn’t sure which way to write it–so I googled it and the general consensus seemed to be that it should be Mother’s Day.

  2. I thought Grandma’s entry was humorous: “I didn’t go any place because I didn’t.”.
    And I wondered what the article meant in the sentence about particularly the men celebrating the day “in spite of the counter attractions”…!
    Your posts seem to leave us with many things to ponder!
    And I prefer Mother’s to Mothers’ too.

    1. I enjoyed the phrase, too. It’s humorous but also has a nice ring. If I was a song writer, I almost think I could start a country song: “I didn’t go anyplace because I didn’t. . . . ” 🙂

  3. When I was a child, mother’s wore a white carnation if their mother was deceased and red if their mother was living – to mass on Mother’s Day. They were given out outside the church. My mother had a little pin that had a small vial of water – just for that purpose. Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. I remember a similar tradition when I was a child. People wore a white flower if their mother was deceased and a colored one if she was living. Before going to church, our family would go out and pick flowers from our flower bed and pin them onto our clothes,

    2. Yeah, I was skimming through one of your readers’ blogs, Sheryl, and came across an article about this tradition. She wrote something like “I didn’t know it then, how special it was to wear a red one”. Was that you who wrote that, Karin? I never knew about the flowers until I read that post, but I think I’ll try to remember it for next year.

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