Every year, the second Sunday of May brings Mother’s Day, a celebration of mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds. Other women, such as aunts, grandmothers and close female friends are often included in the celebration. This year, Mother’s Day is May 13th.
The holiday was proclaimed by the U.S. Congress in 1908, and has since become a widely celebrated occasion. In the U.S., Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant, and more long-distance phone calls are made than any other day. Traditions include the gifting of flowers, cards and handmade presents.
Mother figures feature significantly in both history and fiction across the human experience, so to celebrate Mother’s Day and honor mothers, here’s a look at a few of the most famous—and infamous—mothers. Try and match these notable mothers to their descriptions!
1) Sometime in the 17th century, the image of this woman, an imaginary author of a collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes, was popularized.
2) The image of this woman, also known as Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, is set on canvas by James McNeill Whistler. The portrait, one of the most famous paintings by an American artist, captures the image of the painters’ mother sitting in profile.
3) This woman, the quintessential 1950s housewife from “Leave It to Beaver,” is one of television’s most enduring images of motherhood, and was long seen as an ideal image of motherhood and female accomplishment.
4) Both an adoptive and biological mother, this woman is the mother of several children. She adopted two of her children as a single mother, and has become an international figure of adoptive motherhood.
a) June Cleaver
b) Angelina Jolie
c) Mother Goose
d) Whistler’s Mother
(Answers: 1c, 2d, 3a, 4b)
Additionally, many famous women are not only scientists, authors and politicians, but mothers as well! Marie Curie, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sandra Day O’Connor and Alice Walker, among countless others, are women who count motherhood among their accomplishments.
This year, celebrate motherhood by thanking and remembering the women in your life: mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, nieces and friends. Happy Mother’s Day!