We have her to thank. She’s Julia Ward Howe — and in 1872 she was all up in Boston’s face trying to promote peace, so she called for A Meeting of Mothers. Of course Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic and here’s what we know about Julia Ward Howe: she was not a subtle broad:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on.
Next we jump to Michigan. On May 11, 1877 three teenage boys were roaming the streets of a town called Albion and they were totally wasted. Because — get real — it’s Albion and it’s 1877. What else is a brother gonna do in Albion in 1877?
But this made the town madder than a wet hen, because all three of the boys were sons of strict temperance advocates. Also? One of the boys was the pastor’s son.
The very next Sunday the pastor was so upset about his son he left the pulpit before the services were over. This is where we meet a certain Juliet Calhoun Blakeley:
Juliet Calhoun Blakeley was sitting in the front row that day and she gladly pointed her sassy Victorian lace-up boots in the direction of the pulpit and took over the sermon, calling on other mothers to join her.
In other words this whole Mother’s Day deal was originally an anti-drinking campaign.
Then for years after, Mrs. Blakeley’s super perfect wouldn’t be caught dead drinking in the streets of Albion sons decided to honor their mother — and all mothers — with a churchy celebration held the second Sunday in May. In Albion. Albion Michigan, which only had like sixty-five residents, three of them drunkards.
So how did Mother’s Day grow from that to this?
As always we get to blame Philadelphia. Because this is one of its turn-of-the-century residents, Anna Jarvis:
Anna Jarvis launched an intense campaign in 1908 to honor the memory of her own mother by creating a national day dedicated to all mothers. She called on local clergymen, business leaders, and department store owner John Wanamaker – who offered the use of his store for the first Mother’s Day service, attended by 15,000 people.
The final element of the equation stepped off a train in Kansas City two years later holding two shoeboxes containing postcards.
And that chucklehead was J.C. Hall, the 18-year old founder of Hallmark.
blackbeardswyfe saysMay 10, 2009 at 9:58 am
Happy Mother’s Day Bossy!!
Thanks for the lessons of the day. My crowd thinks that mothers day is like “mom’s vacation day”. In theory I don’t have to do anything and they wait on me hand and foot….. but again… only in theory….(in their minds, I can always get to it tomorrow)
Bossy's friend Amy saysMay 10, 2009 at 10:13 am
Happy Mothers Day Bossy!
Mimi saysMay 10, 2009 at 10:27 am
Perfect! Happy Mom’s Day, Bossy!!
kidsmom saysMay 10, 2009 at 10:29 am
HEY! We live in KC and that CHUCKLEHEAD is the reason we have food on the table.
Buy Hallmark Cards.
Thank you very much.
(Two kids to put through college.)
Joan saysMay 10, 2009 at 11:25 am
Happy Mother’s Day, Bossy, and thanks for my daily laugh.
Debby saysMay 10, 2009 at 11:42 am
Classic! This was my homemade year, cards, flowers, breakfast in bed. Take that Mr. Halllmark where Hallmark = $5.00 for a mass produced card.
Happy Mother’s Day Bossy!
junebug saysMay 10, 2009 at 11:48 am
Happy Mother’s Day! Mr. Wanamaker was a very wealthy man. “In 1889 Wanamaker began the First Penny Savings Bank in order to encourage thrift. That same year he was appointed United States Postmaster General by President Benjamin Harrison. Wanamaker was credited by his friends with introducing the first commemorative stamp, and many efficiencies to the Postal Service. He was the first to make plans for free rural postal service in the United States, although the plan was not implemented until 1897.” (wikipedia) Around here (Oklahoma) we associate the Wanamaker with Gun Show.
Melissa saysMay 10, 2009 at 1:06 pm
Happy Mother’s Day!
My son is taking me to the movies to see Star Trek!
Angie F saysMay 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm
I love it! Thanks! Happy Mother’s Day Bossy!
Caroline saysMay 10, 2009 at 2:06 pm
In honor of Juliet and Julia, and righteously indignant mothers everywhere, I think I shall indulge in some wrathful grapes that were wrathfully trampled into some fine wine. Happy Mother’s Day to us all!
sevedra saysMay 10, 2009 at 3:28 pm
Happy Mother’s Day!
Nora saysMay 10, 2009 at 3:36 pm
I was just sitting here feeling sorry for myself, now I know that maybe I should just go get drunk. I always learn something over here.
David saysMay 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm
I’m getting the sense that your not necessarily one of the biggest boosters of Mother’s Day as a national holiday.
Hunter saysMay 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm
Now I know why I thought that perhaps I should call my mother later today, which came to me as I was sitting outside in the gorgeous sunshine drinking a nice glass of wine at one of my favorite local gourmet pubs.
It all makes sense now.
carma saysMay 10, 2009 at 9:47 pm
so THATS who’s responsible for all this mass-produced insanity!
Hope you had a delightful Mother’s Day!
Beth saysMay 10, 2009 at 11:15 pm
Three loads of laundry, two sinkfuls of dishes, three bounced check notices, and one temper-tantrum later, I am pouring myself a stiff drink and toasting the pastor’s drunken son.
vuboq saysMay 10, 2009 at 11:16 pm
Preacher’s kids are the absolute worst!
(but we still *heart* our mothers)
Donalyn saysMay 10, 2009 at 11:18 pm
Thanks for the history lesson – & Happy Mother’s Day!
MommyTime saysMay 10, 2009 at 11:20 pm
Do you suppose there’s something in the name Julia/Juliet/Julie that creates wizened apple-face-doll women? Those photos are priceless.
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you had a lovely one.
MariaV saysMay 11, 2009 at 5:33 am
Thanks. That was interesting. I hope you Happy Mother’s Day, Bossy.
Bush Babe saysMay 11, 2009 at 6:10 am
Oh bossy, only YOU could mix up history and maths and make us all laugh and nod in agreeance!
Well done, my dear…
Kristine saysMay 11, 2009 at 9:35 am
That’s interesting, considering the first plans we make for Mother’s Day are about what kind of beer we need to buy.
Say What? saysMay 11, 2009 at 10:39 am
Yay! A history lesson and a math lesson that I can understand!
So, when does “Barbie Theater” put on the “History of Mother’s Day?” I want to see headless Ken as the drunken preacher’s son!
Say What? saysMay 11, 2009 at 10:40 am
Oh, I forgot! Happy Mother’s Day to Bossy and Bossy’s Mother!
foolery saysMay 11, 2009 at 2:01 pm
Glad to see that the portrait artist was kind to Juliet Calhoun Blakeley with regard to her righteous eyebrows. Hope you day was tranquil. Or exciting. Whatever you wanted.