In 1872 Julia Ward Howe called for women to join in support of disarmament and asked for 2 June 1872, to be established as a "Mother's Day for Peace".
Her campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died.
The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a "Mother-in-law's Day".
The first state officially recognizing Mother's Day as a local holiday being West Virginia, Jarvis' home state, in 1910.
Owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother's Day as a local holiday.
In 1912 Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrase "Second Sunday in May, Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis, Founder", and created the Mother's Day International Association.
In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Jarvis specifically noted that "Mother's" should "be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world." This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his 1914 presidential proclamation, by the U.S. Congress in relevant bills, and by various U.S. presidents in their proclamations concerning Mother's Day.
The first Mother's Day in Brazil was promoted by Associação Cristã de Moços de Porto Alegre (Young Men's Christian Association of Porto Alegre) on 12 May 1918.
By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother's Day cards.
Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother's Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit.
As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother's Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved.
Jarvis protested this idea (the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother's Day) at a candy makers' convention in Philadelphia in 1923.
In the Czech Republic, Mother's Day is celebrated every second Sunday in May. It started in former Czechoslovakia in 1923.
Jarvis protested this idea (the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother's Day) at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925.
It was first celebrated in 1925 by the Hungarian Red Cross Youth.
In 1932, President Getúlio Vargas made the second Sunday of May the official date for Mother's Day.
Mother's Day in Italy was celebrated for the first time on 24 December 1933 as the "Day of the mother and the child" (Giornata della madre e del fanciullo).
The idea (Mother's Day) was first ridiculed by president Gamal Abdel Nasser but he eventually accepted it and Mother's Day was first celebrated on 21 March 1956.
In 1956, the celebration was given a budget and integrated into the new Code de l'action Sociale et des familles.
In 1997 Mother's Day was set as the day to help poor mothers and to remind people of the poor mothers in rural areas such as China's western region.
Georgia celebrates Mother's Day on 3 March. It was declared by the first President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia in order to replace the International Women Day, and it was officially approved by the Supreme Council in 1991.