Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis as a memorial to her own mother. Sounds like a sweet story, right?
Jarvis wanted a day commemorating her mother, and she spent her life first campaigning for the holiday and then trying to control it. To advocate for an official Mother’s Day, Jarvis wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt and later, President William Taft, as well as author Mark Twain. Finally, Mother’s Day was recognized as a national holiday under President Woodrow Wilson.
But the story unfortunately doesn’t end there.
“I guess Anna Jarvis’ mother wanted her to live as a bitter, lawsuit-wielding witch of a woman because that is exactly what she became,” Stu Burguiere explained on “The Wonderful World of Stu.”
Jarvis was horrified by the commercialization of Mother’s Day and spent the rest of her life bringing lawsuits against anyone who used the holiday to make money. She had chosen the carnation as the official flower of the holiday because it was her mother’s favorite, but she turned down the offer to get a commission for all carnations sold on Mother’s Day. In one memorable moment, she went to a restaurant and ordered a “Mother’s Day salad” specifically so she could throw into onto the floor in anger.
The story’s ending isn’t completely unhappy. The same florists that Jarvis had tried to sue later paid her bills when a penniless Jarvis ended up in a sanitarium after psychotic episodes.