Julia in her Oak Glen Parlor

Did you know that Julia Ward Howe was the first to propose a Mother’s Day? She envisioned it as a Day of Peace in protest to war?

“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!… 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.” ~Julia Ward Howe, 1870
From her Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace
She wrote in Reminiscences in 1914:  “I had desired to institute a festival which should be observed as Mother’s Day, and which should be devoted to the advocates of peace doctrines. I chose for this the second day of June thus being a time when flowers are abundant and when the weather usually allows of open air meetings. I had some success in carrying out the plan. In Boston I held the Mother’s Day meeting for quite a number of years. The day was also twice in Constantinople and often a place nearer home. In Philadelphia we are informed it is still observed as established by Mrs. Howe in June.”

Women’s Suffrage Movement:

Julia was an important organizer for the women’s interests.  In the interest of gaining the vote for women, she helped found the New England Suffrage Association in 1868 and the statewide Massachusetts Women Suffrage Association.  She was in favor of the 15th Amendment which was to grant the vote to black men but not all women.  This was a break with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  She sided with Lucy Stone in founding the American Woman Suffrage Association.  She edited the Woman’s Journal for 20 years.  In 1889 the groups were back together again to support votes for women.  When Susan B Anthony came to stay with Sarah Eddy, she visited Julia at her home in Portsmouth.

Clubs to Promote the Interests of Women:

Julia organized clubs of various sorts wherever she went.  In 1873 she helped create an organization (Association for the Advancement of Women ) to improve education for women and help them enter into professional jobs.  Julia was especially fond of Women’s Clubs.

These are just some of her causes.   She didn’t just support these efforts, she dug in and worked hard for the success of the causes dear to her heart.