In the United States, Mother's Day developed its own traditions, where it ironically became popular from a woman who never had children. Ann Jarvis (Figure 2), who organized meetings between mothers from opposing sides in the Civil War. Her goal was to help reunite families after the war through the creation of Mother's Friendship Day. Others, such as Julian Howe, tried to also create a remembrance
Julia Howe. This idea received some local support but never spread in popularity across the United States. She did, however, inspired her daughter, Anna Jarvis. After the elder Jarvis died, Anna helped create the firs modern , US Mother's Day celebration in Grafton, West Virginia. Anna wanted it to simply be a day to remember her mother for her sacrifice in the local church because that is where her mother taught Sunday School. That day was May 12, 1905, which was 3 days after Ann had died. Anna became inspired to make this not just a one-time celebration but something relevant to all mothers who sacrifice for their children. She was also inspired by the fact that much celebration focused on male achievement but rarely on women, particularly mothers who often were instrumental for their children's success. In 1908, a larger, official celebration was held in Philadelphia due to her persistence and help from a business owner John Wanamaker, who helped her establish a space for a larger celebration. Before the decade had finished, many churches and secular places began holding Mother's Day celebrations in eastern US cities. What Ann could not achieve in life became achieve through her death.
By 1910, West Virginia was the first state to recognize Mother's Day, with other states quickly following. Jarvis had begun to actively campaign to have the day remembered as Mother's Day. White carnations, Ann's favorite flower and used by Anna as the symbol of her mother, became associated with Mother's Day and the House of Representatives passed a proclamation in 1913 making it the official flower worn by government employees on the Monday after Mother's Day. By 1914, an act of Congress officially declared the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. As World War I was about to start, Mother's Day even became more poignant as a celebration of mothers who gave up their sons in times of war.