A Contested Day

Portrait of Anna Jarvis

This is a portrait of Anna Jarvis that currently hangs in the International Mother's Day Shrine.

“I’m trying in every possible way to prevent Mother’s Day from being desecrated by the greed of individuals and organizations who see in it only a way to make money.”

“Mother’s Day,” she sobbed “is being desecrated by the commercial racketeers. The telegraph companies with their ready-made greetings, the florists, the candy manufacturers and greeting card manufactures have made a lucrative racket out of my idea.”

Mother's Day Program - 1968

This is a 1968 program from the Mother's Day service at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church. On the cover of this program are white and red carnations.

After Mother’s Day gained official recognition as a United States holiday in 1914, Jarvis continued her efforts to keep the holiday as she intended it, a private and sentimental tribute to every mother. Anna recognized herself as the founder of Mother’s Day, although others contested this claim. She battled for recognition as the founder of Mother’s Day for the rest of life, and also battled various industries and organizations who sought to profit from the holiday. Floral, confection, and greeting card industries embraced Mother’s Day. Jarvis’ call for letter writing spurred greeting card sales, and the use of the carnation as the emblem of Mother’s Day increased flower sales.