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Women's History
Mother's Day
Anna Marie Jarvis: The Mother of Mother's Day

Anna Marie Jarvis: The Mother of Mother's Day
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.18

     challenging words:    commercialism, de-commercialize, philanthropist, legacy, sentiment, influential, letter-writing, sanitation, better, shrine, shortly, profit, conflict, homemaker, poverty, merchant
     content words:    Anna Marie Jarvis, Ann Jarvis, West Virginia, Civil War, Work Day Clubs, Day Clubs, Friendship Day, Anna Jarvis, John Wanamaker, Woodrow Wilson

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     Spanish: Anna Marie Jarvis: la Madre del Día de la Madre

Anna Marie Jarvis: The Mother of Mother's Day
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     Mothers are important to everyone; after all, where would we be without them? While their contributions were known, there was little support to celebrate their efforts until Anna Marie Jarvis came along.
2     Anna, born on May 1, 1864, was the daughter of Ann Jarvis, a West Virginia homemaker. It was Ann's life and work that made such an impression on Anna.
3     Even before the Civil War, Ann Jarvis looked for ways to help other mothers. She understood that disease could be stopped with proper sanitation. She started organizing Mothers' Work Day Clubs in several towns in 1858. They worked to help provide money, medicine, and housekeeping assistance for women who were ill. They were so successful that after two years doctors were endorsing the formation of more groups.
4     Ann strongly urged the Mothers' Work Day Clubs to remain neutral during the Civil War. The Clubs cared for and fed soldiers from both the Union and the Confederacy. She wanted the soldiers on both sides of the conflict to be helped. Her idea was that it would help build places of peace during a terrible war.
5     Ann herself did not have an easy life and lost eight of her twelve children before they reached adulthood. Perhaps it was because of these tragedies that she could identify with others going through hardship.
6     After the war, Ann Jarvis organized Mothers' Friendship Day to help bring together a community shattered by war. It was held annually for several years.
7     Anna Jarvis had a strong example of what a woman can do to help those around her. Anna never married, and when her mother died, she dedicated herself to getting a day established to honor all mothers.
8     While everyone had a mother, few were interested (at first) in having a day set aside to honor them. The first memorial for mothers was celebrated in Jarvis's home town of Grafton, West Virginia, a year after Ann's death. It's now the location of the International Mother's Day shrine.

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