Celebrating Mothers

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The practice of honoring mothers has been around for centuries, but Mother’s Day was not an official holiday in the United States until President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation in 1914 establishing the date as the second Sunday in May.

Some people buy cards, flowers, or jewelry to honor their mothers. Others have said it with music, as in this piece, “Sweet Little Mother.” This score and other Mother-related musical materials can be found in the Polley Music Library collection.


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Cherished photographs bring back memories of mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and more, like this photograph of four generations in Clara Zellinger’s family from the Butler County Gallery collection. Nebraskans must be a hardy bunch as other photographs in Nebraska Memories show multiple generations. Formal and informal photographs of mothers with their children and family groups show a variety of family combinations. And check out the size of some of those families in past years. In comparison, the Census Bureau reports that the average number of births per woman in the United States had dropped to two in 2009.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://www.nlc.state.ne.us/nebraskamemories/ for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Government Information Services Director, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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