From United Methodist Communications:
In the late 1860s, before there was an official Mother’s Day holiday in the U.S., a Methodist mom organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. We asked Harriett Olson, the current head of United Methodist Women, and Donna Miller, archivist at Historic St. George’s United Methodist Church, to tell us more about the women behind the holiday.
[But be warned: this story does not have a happy ending.]
1. Early American Forerunners to Mother’s Day.
In the USA, Julia Ward Howe suggested the idea of Mother’s Day in 1872. Howe, who wrote the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic, saw Mother’s Day as being dedicated to peace. You can read more about the original proclamation of Mother’s Peace Day in 1870, including Julia Ward Howe’s powerful sentiments on the subject here: Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870. Here is how it begins:
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.” (more…)