The Activist Origins of Mothers Day

Julia Ward Howe

“Women need no longer be made a party to proceedings which fill the globe with grief and horror.” -Julia Ward Howe, 1870

Mothers Day did not begin as a dedicated time to shower mothers with flowers and gifts. Activist Julia Ward Howe started Mothers Day in 1870 as a festival to promote awareness of the need to bring an end to war: “a time for the women and children to come together; to meet in the country, invite the public, and recite, speak, sing and pray for ‘those things that make for peace.'”

Julia Ward Howe is one of the suffragists featured in the first Ask a Suffragist book, Stories and Wisdom from America’s First Feminists. Get it today!

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April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series, host of the Religious Feminism Podcast and a writer for the Exponent II. For more information about April, see

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The Activist Origins of Mothers Day