It's important to recall, at this moment, that Mother's Day was called into existence by Julia Ward Howe, as Mothers' Day for Peace in 1872. Perhaps many of you know this, but Carolyn and I discovered it when we were putting together a show for Mother's Day in 2013, and Carolyn asked, "Where does the apostrophe go? Is it before or after the "S"?" This is a very important question, and the answer is that now, the apostrophe goes BEFORE the "S", since the holiday centers around each child honoring her individual mother.
But when the holiday was called into being in 1872, the apostrophe went AFTER the "s." Julia Ward Howe was calling ALL women, but especially mothers, to join together in an international organization to work for peace.
MOTHERS' DAY FOR PEACE
This is Julia Ward Howe's original proclamation:
Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall 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, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, man as the brother of man, each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality, may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient, and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.