100 Years of Mother’s Day

Hammacher Schlemmer wishes all the moms out there a happy Mother’s Day.

(We also give their procrastinating kids a gentle nudge to order a gift already if you haven’t yet. Treat Mom to an indulgence like The Heated Full Body Massage Chair and she’ll forgive your lateness.)Anna-Jarvis

This year marks 100 years since Mother’s Day has been a recognized holiday in the U.S. Its 1914 founding is usually attributed to Anna Jarvis, who launched the event to mark her late mother’s passing on the second Sunday in May, 1905.

Jarvis envisioned the celebration as intimate and heartfelt, a time to share a handwritten note or a white carnation, her mother’s favorite flower. After appealing to state and national leaders for the official recognition — legend has it she had to buy the house next door just to store all her correspondence on the subject — President Wilson finally granted her wish.

Then Jarvis watched in horror as her “baby” grew and got away from her.

She hated the mass-produced greeting cards, and the frivolous and unique gifts, and what she felt was the commercialization of a sacred day. To make her disgust known, Jarvis once disrupted a convention of candymakers, and she tried to ban Mother’s Day festivities that hadn’t received her blessing. In 1943 she even launched a petition to rescind the holiday.

This time her efforts failed.

Jarvis died in 1948, reclusive and bankrupt. She never had children of her own.

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