Anna Marie Jarvis

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Anna Marie Jarvis

Birthplace: Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, United States
Death: November 24, 1948 (84)
West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Granville Eskridge Jarvis and Ann Maria Marie Jarvis
Sister of Alonzo E. Jarvis; Dr. Josiah William Pickens Jarvis; Annie Elizabeth Jarvis; Columbia Margaret Jarvis; Claude Solomon Jarvis and 6 others

Managed by: Randy Stebbing
Last Updated:

About Anna Marie Jarvis


American Folk Figure. She is considered the "Founder of Mother's Day". She petitioned the United States Congress to create a holiday honoring all Mothers after the death of her own mother. President Woodrow Wilson signed Mother's Day into law in 1914. Towards the end of her life, Anna Jarvis came to detest her creation, due to the over commercialization of it by the public. She tried to fight this commercialization in the last years of her life.

Anna Marie Jarvis (May 1, 1864, Webster, West Virginia – November 24, 1948, West Chester, Pennsylvania) was the founder of the Mother's Day holiday in the United States.

Anna Jarvis was born to Granville E. Jarvis and Ann Jarvis on May 1, 1864 in Webster, WV.

Her birthplace, today known as the Anna Jarvis House, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. She was one of thirteen children born to her parents and was the tenth child, seven of her siblings having died prior to her birth. The family moved to Grafton, West Virginia later in her childhood...."

"...Ann Reeves Jarvis was a social activist, founder of Mothers’ Day Work Clubs, and a unifying force within her community during the American Civil War. Ann was friends with Julia Ward Howe, who had first advocated in 1870 for the idea of a Mother's Day as a call for mothers throughout the world to work together for peace. As a woman who was also defined by her faith, Ann was very active within the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church community..."

"...On May 10, 1908, three years after her mother's death, Jarvis held a memorial ceremony to honor her mother and all mothers at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, today the International Mother's Day Shrine, in Grafton, West Virginia, marking the first official observance of Mother's Day. The International Mother's Day Shrine has been a designated National Historic Landmark since October 5, 1992. Although Jarvis did not attend this service, she sent a telegram that described the significance of the day as well as five hundred white carnations for all who attended the service. As she spoke in Philadelphia at the Wanamaker's Store Auditorium, she moved her audience with the power of her speech.

In the ensuing years, Anna Jarvis embarked upon a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday. She spent a significant amount of time writing to countless business executives, church groups, and politicians at the state and national level to promote the commemorative day. Jarvis was singularly dedicated throughout this process, resigning her position at Fidelity Mutual and incorporating the Mother’s Day International Association (MDIA) in 1912 to encourage national and international recognition of the day. During her campaign, the holiday spread throughout every U.S. state and numerous foreign countries, including Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, and throughout South America and Africa. After her persistent efforts, Mother’s Day was finally proclaimed a national holiday in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson..."

"...Anna Jarvis died on November 24, 1948 and was buried next to her mother, sister, and brother at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, near Philadelphia, in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Although the Anna M. Jarvis Committee supported her and helped to continue her movement during her declining health, it ultimately disbanded with the assurance that the Jarvis family gravesite remained under the care of the only heir to the estate, her oldest brother's granddaughter. Anna Jarvis never married nor did she have any children..."


  • Residence: Prunty Town, Taylor, West Virginia
  • Residence: Age in 1870: 8; Grafton, Taylor, West Virginia, United States - 1870
  • Residence: Age: 16; Marital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Daughter, Grafton, Taylor, West Virginia, United States - 1880
  • Residence: Age: 55; Marital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Head, Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 1920

Anna Jarvis was the founder of MOTHER'S DAY. She never married, and was never a mother herself.

When I was a child we often went past her birthday place at Webster, West Virginia. The house was marked with a West Virginia Historical Marker.

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Anna Marie Jarvis's Timeline

May 1, 1864
Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, United States
November 24, 1948
Age 84
West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States
November 24, 1948
Age 84
Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States