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May 10, 2020

For Mother's Day, See How Moms Around the World Have Cared for Their Children for the Last 100 Years

The origins of Mother’s Day are attributed to different people. Many believe that two women, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis were important in establishing the tradition of Mother’s Day in the United States. Other sources say that Juliet Calhoun Blakely initiated Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the late 1800s. Her sons paid tribute to her each year and urged others to honor their mothers.


Around 1870, Julia Ward Howe called for Mother’s Day to be celebrated each year to encourage pacifism and disarmament amongst women. It continued to be held in Boston for about ten years under her sponsorship, but died out after that.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis held a private Mother’s Day celebration in memory of her mother, Ann Jarvis, in Grafton, West Virginia. Ann Jarvis had organized “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to improve health and cleanliness in the area where she lived. Anna Jarvis launched a quest for Mother's Day to be more widely recognized. Her campaign was later financially supported by John Wanamaker, a clothing merchant from Philadelphia.

In 1908, she was instrumental in arranging a service in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which was attended by 407 children and their mothers. The church has now become the International Mother's Day Shrine. It is a tribute to all mothers and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Mother’s Day has become a day that focuses on generally recognizing mothers’ and mother figures’ roles. Mother’s Day has also become an increasingly important event for businesses in recent years. This is particularly true of restaurants and businesses manufacturing and selling cards and gift items.

The mothers in these vintage images strike familiar poses that span the globe and cross cultural and geographic barriers. Their clothing and hairstyles may differ, but their actions are similar, showing that a mother's love is universal.

A Bedouin mother, elaborately adorned with jewelry, gazes at her infant child in the early 1900s. (Photograph by Garrigues, Nat Geo Image Collection)

Dressed in traditional clothing, a woman in northern Mongolia carries her son on her back. (Photograph by Ethan C. Le Munyon, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A mother in the Middle East breastfeeds her baby as she sits outside her home. (Photograph by American Colony Photographers, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A mother and daughter watch for a signal fire through a telescope in Arizona's Grand Canyon. (Photograph by Kolb Brothers, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Javanese mother nurses her child on Java Island, Indonesia. (Photograph by Eliza R. Scidmore, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A young Algerian couple in Biskra stand with their toddler in front of a building. (Photograph by Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Toda infant child sleeps in her mother's embrace at Nilgiri Hill, near Madras, India. (Photograph by Eliza R. Scidmore, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Chinese mother and her child wear traditional clothing from the Manchurian region of China. (Photograph by Eliza R. Scidmore, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Swiss mother reaches for her daughter's hand, which is full of flowers. (Photograph by Der Vereinigten Kunstanst A.G., Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Ceylonese mother rests a child on her hip. (Photograph by Eliza R. Scidmore, Nat Geo Image Collection)

In the Yunnan Province, China, the horn-shaped hairstyle these women are wearing indicates they have had children. (Photograph by China Inland Mission, Toronto, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Tingian woman carries a child on her back and balances a basket on her head in Luzon Island, Philippines. (Photograph by Dean C. Worcester, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Slovak Hungarian immigrant to the United States holds her infant and stands by her son. (Photograph by Frederic C. Howe, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Russian immigrant to the United States stands with her three children. (Photograph by Frederic C. Howe, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A sleeping baby in a woven cradle hangs from his mother's head in Papua New Guinea. (Photograph by A.B. Lewis, Nat Geo Image Collection)

An elderly Flemish grandmother in Belgium hugs a child. (Photograph by Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Sami woman, toddler, and infant in Lapland, Finland, sit on pelts that soften their surroundings and keep them warm. The infant is in a cradleboard, a traditional protective baby carrier. (Photograph by Borg Mesch, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A mother in Cambodia balances her child on her hip. (Photograph by Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Japanese woman carries her twins on her back with a cross wrap. (Photograph by Eliza R. Scidmore, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A maid and her mistress hold the hands of a small child while shopping for dishes on a Ter Goes sidewalk in Holland. (Photograph by Emil P. Albrecht, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A Hungarian woman spins wool as her baby sleeps on her lap. (Photograph by D.W. Iddings, Nat Geo Image Collection)

Women walk hand in hand with their children in northern Mongolia. (Photograph by Ethan D. Le Munyon, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A mother and child stand under corn hung to dry over the entrance to their home in Postyen, Hungary. (Photograph by A.W. Cutler, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A mother holds her baby and a surgeon's yardstick while posing for a photo in Cuzco Valley, Peru. (Photograph by Hiram Bingham, Nat Geo Image Collection)

A mother carries her baby, surrounded by pillows, down the street in Mezokovesd, Hungary. (Photograph by A.W. Cutler, Nat Geo Image Collection)

(via National Geographic Society)

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful photos !

    ReplyDelete
  2. Absolutely wonderful look at mothers and babies all over the world, thank you

    ReplyDelete

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