The Healer and the Pirate

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Mothers Day 1921


Florists Say Price Is Due to Supply and Demand, but Others Call it Profiteering.
Buds and Blossoms of Other Varieties Decorate Lapels in Observance of the Day.

--The New York Times, May 9, 1921

The article notes that people observed Mother's Day by wearing flowers, and that churches that preached Mother's Day sermons had increased attendance (!). In addition to the carnation shortage, it notes that Mother's Day was only 14 years old (!!), the holiday having been originated by Miss Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia and fixed unanimously by Congress in 1914. She suggested the carnation be worn, or any other flower (like the wearer's mother's favorite). But if's history is correct, she vehemently opposed the selling of carnations on Mother's Day.

Reverend Dr. G. F. Bartholomew from the First Methodist Church called for men to wear dandelions instead. Supposedly, that caused a dip in the prices of expensive flowers like carnations.

To be honest, I can't help but wonder if the extreme spike in carnation prices was in part encouraged by the New York Times, who, in a smaller article, noted carnation prices were high and it was hard to supply the demand.


In Some Churches There Will Be Special Services in Honor of the Occasion.
Dr. Grant, Rabbi Wise, Dr. Packard and Dr. Goodchild Will Preach on "Mothers."

--The New York Times, May 8, 1921

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise preached for the Free Synagogue at Carnegie Hall (!) on "The Harmonies and Discords of Home." Dr. Frank M. Goodchild of Central Baptist Church preached on "A Mother's Influence." Dr. Harold Pattison at Washington Heights Baptist Church preached on "Mothers" in the morning and "Fathers" in the evening (Father's Day wasn't a holiday yet).

Other Mother's Day sermons were titled "Unpaid Bills," "The Blessed Mother of Our Lord," "Eve, the Mother of All Living," "An Old-Fashioned Mother," "Mother's Day; Has It Come?" and "Mother's Place in the Sun."

Beneath that article is a sub-article titled, "FLORISTS DENY EXTORTION. Carnations $3 to $6 a Dozen--Ask Public to Buy Other Kinds." They explain supply and demand, which, again, I think may have led to people buying, afraid the supply would run out....

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