Infant Anna Jarvis with her mother Ann Maria Jarvis.
Anna Jarvis was born in the tiny town of Webster, West Virginia. She was the daughter of Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. The family moved to nearby Grafton, West Virginia in her childhood. She graduated from what is now Mary Baldwin College in 1883. On May 12, 1907, two years after her mother's death, Anna held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday. She succeeded in making this nationally recognized in 1914. The International Mother's Day Shrine was established in Grafton to commemorate her accomplishment. By the 1920s, Anna Jarvis had become soured by the commercialization of the holiday. She incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", and was once arrested for disturbing the peace. She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against what the holiday had become. Both died in poverty. According to her New York Times obituary, Jarvis became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card.
Women who Made Difference Malcolm S. Forbes & Jeff Bloch 1991.