This Sunday is Mother’s Day in the United States (you’re welcome, to those who had forgotten). I did a little poking around in our digital collections and NCpedia, to find some Mother’s Day tidbits for you.
If you’re interested in reading about particular mothers, NCpedia can help you there. There’s an article about one recognizable mother and native of Wilmington, North Carolina: Whistler’s Mother (pictured at right). You might also want to read about Mary T. Martin Sloop, who was once named America’s Mother of the Year, or about Nanye’hi and Cherokee matrilineal customs.
Maybe you’re interested in the holiday itself? Mother’s Day was officially recognized by Congress in 1914, after many years of effort to create such a holiday by West Virginian Anna Jarvis and her mother, Ann, as well as earlier efforts by Julia Ward Howe.
North Carolina Education published an article entitled “Mothers’ Day–Its Origin and Celebration” in the same month the holiday was officially recognized (May, 1914, print p. 11). The author of the article describes the spirit behind Mother’s Day. Schools are mentioned as celebrating the day on the Friday before Mother’s Day, using the slogan “In Honor of ‘The Best Mother Who Ever Lived,’ the Mother of Your Heart. ‘”
The author of the article also talks about earlier commemorations of mothers, including a festival in Boston for “mothers who have not had a vacation from the city and who get few opportunities for such enjoyment of city parks.” Over 15,000 mothers were mentioned to attend the Boston festivities, which included storytellers, music, and educational talks. “Democracy was symbolized by the mingling of people of all nationalities and by the mayor dancing with the children of the poor.”
Another publication in our digital collections, Observance of Special Days, from 1959 (print p. 90-91), gives teachers details about major holidays and lists recommended activities. Here are a few examples for Mother’s Day:
- Collect and show pictures of mothers and “good family living” groups.
- Read or tell suitable stories. Then let children discuss and dramatize mother’s place in the home, showing appreciation for her kindnesses.
- Visit a homebound mother and present her with a gift — plant or flowers.
- Interview old people in the community and report to class on the customs of family living in early times.