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Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis (September 30, 1832, Culpeper, Virginia — May 9, 1905, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was a social activist and organizer during and after the American Civil War. She and her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis (1864–1948), are recognized as the founders of the Mother's Day holiday in the United States.


Jarvis worked throughout western Virginia (now West Virginia) to promote worker health and safety. During the American Civil War she organized women to tend to the needs of the wounded of both sides of the war conflict. After the war she became active in the promotion of a "Mothers' Work Day" that, unlike the modern version of the holiday, specially emphasized the causes of pacifism and social activism. She organized meetings of the mothers of soldiers of both sides of the late war

Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis died in Philadelphia in 1905. In 1907, Jarvis' daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis, passed out 500 white carnations at her mother’s church, St. Andrew’s Church in Grafton, West Virginia—one for each mother in the congregation. The following year, she held a memorial to her mother in Grafton, West Virginia on May 10, 1908, and then embarked upon a campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday, a goal which was achieved when President Woodrow Wilson declared it so in 1914.

See also[]

  • Mother's Day (United States)


  • Kendall, Norman F. (1937), Mothers Day, A History of its Founding and its Founder
  • Wolfe, Howard H. (1962), Mothers Day and the Mothers Day Churchdelrica riggs

Further reading[]

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