Origin of Mother’s Day and the Free Love Movement


Victoria Woodhull's Legacy?

Get Naked For Mom's Day?

What Was the Post Office Thinking?

HappyMothersDay-main_FullMother’s Day: I had always assumed that Mother’s Day was invented by some card company like Hallmark.  I was wrong. It was just hijacked by the entreprenuerial spirit of America!  There’s all sorts of stuff about it going back to the early church and then going on through the 17th century in Europe, still associated with the church.  It had been to celebrate Mother Mary, then the Mother Church with Mothering Sunday. But when the folks came across the pond to America, the colonists were too busy working to do such things and it died out. 

Mother of Mother's Day

Mother of Mother's Day

Then along comes the Civil War and a woman named Anne Marie Reeves Jarvis.  She started “Mother’s Friendship Day” as a way to improve sanitation in 1858.  During the Civil War she continued the practice by organizing women on both sides to try and improve the nasty situation. Afterword, she organized Mother’s Friendship Clubs to teach women the basics of nursing and sanitation. She also took the opportunity to bring reconciliation to the nation following the war.  Anne died in 1905 and her daughter Anna missed her greatly.  Anna felt that children didn’t appreciate their mother’s enough while they were alive. in 1907, she decided to start a day to honor mothers. She began a letter writing campaign to ministers and such an in 1908, the first Mother’s Day service was held in honor of Anne Marie Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, where she went to church for 20 years and her church in Philadelphia, the city where she died.

It caught on and in 1912 The International Mother’s Day Association had come into being and by 1914, a Presidential Proclamation by Woodrow Wilson designated the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day.  But Anna Jarvis’ happiness didn’t last long.  It was in just a few short years that people started giving cards and flowers and presents and all sorts of things.

Wilson With Wife and Daughters Mother's Day 1912

Wilson With Wife and Daughters Mother's Day 1912

It became more secular than what Miss Jarivs had envisioned.  Commericialization had taken over and it continues today as Mother’s Day is one of the most financially successful days on the calendar.  Anna Jarvis died as a cranky old woman who fought to oppose Mother’s Day.  I guess she created a monster like Frankenstein.  But not as much as the Postal Service. 

Yes indeed…in 1934 they decided to get into the act and make a stamp to commemorate Mother’s Day.  And what did they pick to commemorate the day to honor the wholesome beauty of Motherhood?  The portrait of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s mother!  You look at it and try to figure out what they were thinking. It sure wasn’t “Happy Mother’s Day.”

On This Date In History:  This obviously wasn’t Mother’s Day because it was before the day was established.  But, this woman was seen by many as the antithesis of motherhood. On this date in 1872 Victoria Woodhull began her campaign for President.  At that time, women weren’t even allowed to vote.  Her platform was as a “free-thinking reformer” and supported free love, abortion, divorce, legalized prostitution and, of course, the women’s right to vote. One of the photos above is a portrait while the other is a cartoon showing her as the Devil.   As part of her campaign, she sent out an article congratulating preacher Henry Ward Beecher for having an affair with a married woman in his congregation.  But, she chastised him for not advocating the free love that she said he obviously practiced.  On election day, she was in jail.  The charge was for sending obscene material through the mail.   The offensive material was the Beecher article.  Reports of her personal practices of free love did not help her at the polls.  An opponent of hers didn’t learn from her mistake.

Woodhull Covorting With Satan!

Also on the ballot was George Francis Train.  He was a millionaire with nothing else to do except to try and break speed records and advocate what he saw as struggles for freedom.  Jules Verne is said to have based his novel Around the World In 80 Days on a trip that Train once took.  But, Train didn’t count the days he spent in prison in France against his 80 days.  He got involved in an attempted revolution and barely escaped a firing squad before he continued his global journey.  He later beat his own record by going around the world in 67 1/2 days.  No word on if he cheated on that one too.  Neither he nor Woodhull were elected President. In fact, I bet you won’t find them on any 1872 election tally boards. 

But, Train had a penchant for making money because his campaign proved to be a money making venture for him.  He charged money for people to hear his speeches and he spoke over 1000 times to more than 2,000,000 people.  In an attempt to show support for Woodhull, he published a collection of biblical quotations that he said were much more obscene than anything Woodhull had written.  They slapped the old bracelets on him too and he was whisked off to jail.

Victoria Woodhull's Legacy?

Victoria Woodhull's Legacy?

Here’s a funny thing about this story.  If you look at the platform of Ms. Woodhull that was so scandalous in 1872, you will find almost every single one of them are accepted today.  If you live in Nevada, they are all legal and part of the landscape.  And to carry that point further, if you look at the Socialist Party platform of the early twentieth century that helped to feed a “red scare” following the Russian Revolution of 1917, you will be amazed at how many of the items in the platform were eventually adopted by Congress.  I bet that if  you told someone in 1900 the things would be legal and acceptable in 2000, they’d probably fall over.   Then again, they’d probably also collapse if you told them that man had walked on the moon, cured any number of diseases and that baseball players were making millions of dollars a year.

By the way….US Grant won re-election in the 1872 presidential race.

SPC Wednesday Severe Weather Outlook

SPC Wednesday Severe Weather Outlook

Weather Bottom Line:  Last year, Mother’s Day was chilly and windy.  This Mother’s Day is outstanding.  I saw a knucklehead on TV claim we’d have cloudy skies by the afternoon but there will be just some high whispy  mare’s tails floating about.  I hope you got a chance to visit your mom and enjoy her special day. 

Now, tonight a little boundary will drop down and give us the clouds that the knucklehead was speaking of but from the different direction from where it was said to be coming from.  This is not from the south but from the north and while there may be a few showers, my guess us that it’s too dry to produce much to talk about so I shant do so any longer.  High pressure builds in for Monday and Tuesday.  Tonight and Monday night will be pretty cool with seasonally mild afternoons.  The GFS is showing a small short wave moving through the flow that will produce some clouds and maybe some showers but I shouldn’t think it would be too active if it indeed materializes as shown by the GFS.  Now, on Wednesday there will probably be an outbreak of strong storms in the north-central plains but the main support for those storms should track well to our north in the Great Lakes region.  For that reason, when the front comes through on Thursday, its likely at this time that we will see some rain and t’storms but the severe threat should be limited, though I suppose with afternoon heating and higher moisture, we may have a few warnings.  But, that’s several days away so enjoy your Mother’s Day and don’t worry about it.

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