Tag Archives: History of Mother’s Day

Saluting the Real Nurturer of the National Mother’s Day

This post is doing double duty as an observance of Mother’s Day (this Sunday) and the current (Week 19) #52Ancestors theme of “Nurture!”

Skip’s 2nd cousin once removed, Mary Towles Sasseen, is considered by many to be the actual founder of Mother’s Day in the United States. Netta Mullin, President of the Henderson County, Kentucky Historical Society, wrote that Mary “Mamie” Sasseen , a former schoolteacher, sought to have April 20, her own mother’s birthday, declared a national holiday for individuals to celebrate their mothers. Ms. Sasseen published and circulated a pamphlet in 1893 explaining her efforts to create a holiday that would be celebrated in the public schools. During her lifetime, her efforts led to the establishment of Mother’s Day in the Springfield, Ohio school system, and in many other cities celebrations were organized.

Mary Towles Sasseen married Judge William Marshall Wilson in 1904, and sadly, died while delivering her first and only child, in 1906.

Anna Jarvis is credited with bringing about the existence of the National Mother’s Day, which was declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, to be observed every second Sunday in May.  She wrote letters and rallied votes for the cause, true, but we recognize the lifetime achievement of Mary Towles Sasseen in laying the groundwork. She was a patient and dedicated nurturer of the national holiday, although it came into full bloom after her death.

Mary Towles Sasseen jennyskip
Mary Towles Sasseen, photo originally shared on ancestry by georgepbeaumaster