This Sunday, May 12, Mother’s Day will be celebrated around the world. Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 after her mother’s death as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908, she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.
Following the success of her first Mother’s Day, Jarvis—who remained unmarried and childless her whole life—resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood. By 1912, many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Anna Jarvis was persistent in creating a holiday to honor Mothers—a very precious resource. We also must be persistent about protecting another precious resource—groundwater! To learn more how you can help protect and conserve groundwater, go to www.groundwater.org.