Mother's Day--A Historical Perspective

Mother's Day--A historical perspective From H-Women weekend digest II, May 12,1996

_The Almanac of American Women in the 20th Century_(edited by Judith Freeman Clark) gives Philadelphia the credit for proclaiming the first Mother's Day, March 10, 1908. On May 7th, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson decreed the second day in May a national holiday for mothers---an understandable proclamation for the era of "glorified motherhood." But controversy over the forced nature and commercialization of the holiday soon followed. Katharine Anthony (1877-1965), a self-declared feminist and author of biographies on Margaret Fuller and Susan B. Anthony wrote of Mother's Day in 1922---"that travesty of a family festival which shames affection and puts spontaneous feeling to the blush." Katharine Anthony, "The Family," in Harold Stearns, ed., _Civilization in the United States_(New York:Harcourt,Brace & Co.,1922) pp 319-336 From Kriste Lindenmeyer, co-editor, H-Women