Area professor pens new work

If you are from West Virginia, chances are you have heard of Anna Jarvis.

If you live close enough to the small town of Grafton, you may have even visited the old church that stands as a shrine to her accomplishments.

Jarvis was the founder of Mother’s Day, organizing the first official celebration in 1908 and spending four decades promoting the holiday and defending it from commercialization and ideological exploitation.

Katharine Antolini, assistant professor of history at West Virginia Wesleyan College, knows the story of Jarvis all too well.

A history buff, Antolini will have her first book published by WVU Press this fall entitled “Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother’s Day.”

“Since the 19th century, the idea of a day honoring the role of ‘mother’ has provided a platform for a cultural debate over the intrinsic value of motherhood and the boundaries of the maternal role in society,” commented Antolini. “‘Memorializing Motherhood’ traces the varied conceptualizations of motherhood embedded within the history of Mother’s Day, from the first promotions of a maternal memorial day in the 19th century to the competing Mother’s Day celebrations of the early twentieth century.”

The subject matter is close to Antolini’s heart as she serves on the Board of Trustees of the International Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton.

Since this Mother’s Day will mark the 100th anniversary of the day’s designation as a national holiday, the Board is hosting a celebration at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, the current International Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton.