May 9, 1905. After weeks of illness and visits from ten different doctors, Anna Jarvis’s mother dies. In the days that follow, Jarvis makes a promise to herself: to fulfill her mother’s dream of creating a holiday devoted to celebrating mothers. Her campaign to create and define Mother’s Day would become her life’s work, and also her downfall. How did Anna Jarvis become a minor celebrity known for her fanatical devotion to this annual holiday? And why did she come to hate the holiday she created?
Special thanks to Katharine Antolini, author of Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother’s Day.