1096 – Peter the Hermit and his army reached Hungary. They passed through without incident.
1450 – Jack Cade’s Rebellion-Kentishmen revolted against King Henry VI.
1541 – Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River. He called it Rio de Espiritu Santo.
1794 – Antoine Lavoisier was executed by guillotine. He was the French chemist that discovered oxygen.
1794 – The United States Post Office was established.
1846 – The first major battle of the Mexican War was fought. The battle occurred in Palo Alto, TX.
1847 – The rubber tire was patented by Robert W. Thompson.
1879 – George Selden applied for the first automobile patent.
1886 – Pharmacist Dr. John Styth Pemberton invented what would later be called “Coca-Cola.”
1904 – U.S. Marines landed in Tangier to protect the Belgian legation.
1914 – The U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution that designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
1915 – H.P. Whitney’s Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby.
1919 – The first transatlantic flight took-off by a navy seaplane.
1921 – Sweden abolished capital punishment.
1933 – Gandhi began a hunger strike to protest British oppression in India.
1939 – Clay Puett’s electric starting gate was used for the first time.
1943 – The Germans suppressed a revolt by Polish Jews and destroyed the Warsaw Ghetto.
1945 – U.S. President Harry Truman announced that World War II had ended in Europe.
1954 – Parry O’Brien became the first to toss a shot put over 60 feet. O’Brien achieved a distance of 60 feet 5 1/4 inches.
1956 – Alfred E. Neuman appeared on the cover of “Mad Magazine” for the first time.
1958 – U.S. President Eisenhower ordered the National Guard out of Little Rock as Ernest Green became the first black to graduate from an Arkansas public school.
1959 – Mike and Marian Ilitch founded “Little Caesars Pizza Treat”.
1960 – Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union resumed.
1970 – Construction workers broke up an anti-war protest on New York City’s Wall Street.
1973 – Militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered.
1984 – The Soviet Union announced that they would not participate in the 1984 Summer Olympics Games in Los Angeles.
1985 – “New Coke” was released to the public on the 99th anniversary of Coca-Cola.
1986 – Reporters were told that 84,000 people had been evacuated from areas near the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Soviet Ukraine.
1998 – A pipe burst leaving a million residents without water in Malaysia’s capital area. This added to four days of shortages that 2 million already faced.
1999 – The first female cadet graduated from The Citadel military college.
Beginning in the 1850s, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia started Mothers’ Day Work Clubs in order to teach women proper child-care techniques and sanitation methods. In the years following the Civil War, these same clubs became a unifying force for a country ripped apart by conflict. In 1868, Jarvis and other women organized a Mothers Friendship Day, when mothers gathered with former soldiers of both the Union and Confederacy to promote reconciliation. After Ann Reeves Jarvis died in 1905, it was her daughter Anna Jarvis who would work tirelessly to make Mother’s Day a national holiday.
Anna Jarvis, who had no children of her own, conceived of Mother’s Day as an occasion for honoring the sacrifices individual mothers made for their children.
In May 1908, she organized the first official Mother’s Day events at a church in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia, as well as at a Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia, where she lived at the time. Jarvis then began writing letters to newspapers and politicians pushing for the adoption of Mother’s Day as an official holiday. By 1912, many other churches, towns and states were holding Mother’s Day celebrations, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association. Her hard-fought campaign paid off in 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Jarvis’ conceived of of Mother’s Day as an intimate occasion—a son or daughter honoring the mother they knew and loved—and not a celebration of all mothers. For this reason, she always stressed the singular “Mother’s” rather than the plural. She soon grew disillusioned, as Mother’s Day almost immediately became centered on the buying and giving of printed cards, flowers, candies and other gifts. Seeking to regain control of the holiday she founded, Jarvis began openly campaigning against those who profited from Mother’s Day, including confectioners, florists and other retailers. She launched numerous lawsuits against groups using the name Mother’s Day, and eventually spent much of her sizeable inheritance on legal fees.
In 1925, when an organization called the American War Mothers used Mother’s Day as an occasion for fundraising and selling carnations, Jarvis crashed their convention in Philadelphia and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Later, she even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day as an occasion to raise money for charity. By the 1940s, Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the calendar. Her efforts were to no avail, however, as Mother’s Day had taken on a life of its own as a commercial goldmine. Largely destitute, and unable to profit from the massively successful holiday she founded, Jarvis died in 1948 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.
The sad history of Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis has done nothing to slow down the popularity—and commercialism—of the holiday. According to an annual spending survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $168.94 on Mother’s Day in 2013, a whopping 11 percent increase from 2012. In total, Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach $20.7 billion this year. In addition to the more traditional gifts (ranging from cards, flowers and candy to clothing and jewelry), the survey showed that an unprecedented 14.1 percent of gift-givers plan to buy their moms high-tech gadgets like smartphones and tablets.