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Anna Jarvis and Mother's Day

Grafton Daily Sentinel
November 24, 1948


Miss Anna Jarvis Dies Today In West Chester, Pa., Sanatorium

First Motherís Day Held At Andrews At Her Request

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 24 Ė Anna M. Jarvis, the little old lady whose reverence for her dead mother led to national recognition of Motherís Day, died today after a long illness. She was 84.

Her attorney, H. S. J. Sickel disclosed her death hours after it occurred at a quiet sanitorium in suburban West Chester.

It was on the second anniversary of her motherís death in 1907, that the Philadelphia spinster assembled a few friends at her home for a memorial service. Out of that small gathering grew Motherís Day, observed in more than 40 countries.

It was a year later that Miss Jarvis, a native Grafton woman, requested that a Motherís Day service be held at Andrews Methodist church, which is recognized throughout the nation as the ďMother Church of Motherís DayĒ.

Fame, but not happiness, trailed Miss Jarvis as she fought to keep Motherís Day free from commercialism.

In her latter years, blinded, ill, and impoverished of her share of a $100,000 estate, she presented herself at Philadelphia general hospital and asked to be allowed to commit herself as a patient.

Friends learned of her plight within a few days and formed a committee, pledged funds for her support and transferred her to the sanatorium where she died at 1 a. m. today.

Miss Jarvis suggested the observance of Motherís Day in honor of her mother, Mrs. Anna Reeves Jarvis, who served as a teacher in the primary department of the Andrews church for over 20 years. The first Motherís Day observance was held in the local church on May 10, 1908.

It was at the general church conference, which convened at Minneapolis, Minn., in July, 1912, that Judge Robinson, a delegate from the Andrews church, introducing a resolution recognizing Miss Anna Jarvis as the founder of Motherís Day in the church.

Later in 1914 congress authorized the president to designate the second Sunday of each May as Motherís Day and since then it has spread to all corners of the earth.

Miss Anna Jarvis received her honored mother, soon after she was united in marriage to Granville E. Jarvis, moved to Webster where Anna was born on May 1, 1864. She was one of eleven children. In 1865, they moved to Grafton, where Mrs. Jarvis was engaged in the mercantile business. Following his death, the family took up their residence with the son and brother, Claude, at Philadelphia, on December 31, 1902. It was there, three years later, on May 9, 1905, that Mrs. Jarvis died.

Miss Anna Jarvis received her early education in Grafton schools and later entered Female Seminary, Wheeling, in 1881. She graduated from the school in 1884, and was employed by the Board of Education as a teacher in the public schools in Grafton for seven years.


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West Virginia Archives and History