Mother's Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, motherhood, and the influence of mothers in society. This guide provides access to materials related to “Mother's Day” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
In 1908, Anna Jarvis holds a memorial service at a West Virginia church to honor her mother, Mrs. Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, who passed away three years prior. Philadelphia newspaper publishers latch onto the idea and widely promote a day for honoring mothers, to be held on the second Sunday of the month of May. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
May 10, 1908
Miss Anna Jarvis invites friends to honor her mother, Mrs. Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis at a ceremony in St. Andrew's Methodist Church, Grafton, West Virginia.
West Virginia passes a law designating the holiday and other states follow suit.
May 8, 1914
U.S. Congress passes a law that states the second Sunday in May is to be celebrated as Mother's Day.
May 9, 1914
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issues a proclamation declaring the first national Mother's Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.