CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
THE ORIGIN OF MOTHER'S DAY
The popular version of the story of how Mother's Day came to be a holiday in the United States of America is generally told like this:
In 1907 Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Miss Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By the next year Mother's Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia. Miss Jarvis and her supporters began to write to ministers, businessman, and politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. It was successful as by 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.
What is always left out is the vital role which Camden played in the campaign which Miss. Jarvis initiated. Dan McConnell's 1939 article for the Camden Courier-Post was entered into the Congressional Record by Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky, who would later serve as Vice President under Harry Truman, from 1949 through 1953. The veracity of the matter is confirmed by the fact that Miss Jarvis wrote Senator Barkley to insist that the facts as Dan McConnell wrote them were the true and accurate account as the events which gave America Mother's Day.
While it is true that Miss Jarvis organized the first Mother's Day Association in Philadelphia, the first city to host an organized mass event was (you guessed it) Camden NJ, on Sunday, May 12, 1907. Camden would continue to hold such events, which would grow larger in size and scope. The success of the Camden event gave impetus to Ms. Jarvis organization, which in short order grew into a national force. In May of 1914, the Congess of the United States formally acknowledged the second Sunday of May as Mother's Day. Miss Jarvis was later presented with the pen that President Woodrow Wilson used to sign the resolution.
Congressional Record - August 2, 1939
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Camden People - Dan McConnell, Newspaperman
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