Julia Ward Howe, known for writing the lyric to ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was deeply disturbed by the carnage of the Civil War. She created a ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation’ in 1870 and wrote a poem about Mother’s not tolerating others leading their sons away from goodness. Here is part of what she penned:
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.
She must have believed that a nation is only as great as it’s women. She created a “Mother’s Friendship Day” to honor peace . It’s purpose was to reunite families and neighbors that were divided by the Civil War. The holiday was observed in several U.S. cities until Howe stopped funding it.
In 1908, Anna Reeves Jarvis created “Mother’s Day” and her daughter Anna M. followed it through to a U.S. official holiday in 1914. They too, wanted to honor motherhood and it’s powerful influence for good. The unexpected commercialization of the holiday left daughter Anna trying to “undo” the holiday the rest of her life.
A few kindred women that were mothers before “Mother’s Day” became official were: Martha STEPHENS 1872-1914, Elizabeth FITZGERALD 1870-1912, Mary COCHRAN 1853-1925 and Odella HARKNESS 1873-1944. Look for a new post about Odella soon.