The idea of a Mothers Committee began in 1933 when America was in the middle of a Great Depression, and women were taking on many roles in society in order to make ends meet for their families. Businessman J.C. Penny enlisted four prominent New Yorkers, including famous clergyman and author Norman Vincent Peale, to form a committee under his Golden Rule Foundation called the American Mothers Committee. He believed mothers were key to the family and by honoring them the entire nation would be strengthened.
In 1935, New York City’s elite gathered at the Waldorf Astoria where Honorary Chairman, Sarah Delano Roosevelt, presented Lucy Keen Johnson from Georgia as the first American Mother of the Year. It was written that she embodied the highest qualities found in the typical American mother at the time. Those qualities became the criteria for the selection of her predecessors; First, that she be a successful mother as evidenced by the character and achievements of her children. Second, that she be an active member of a religious body. Third, that she embody those traits highly regarded in mothers: courage, patience, cheerfulness, affection, kindness, understanding, and a homemaking ability. Fourth, that she exemplify in her life and conduct the precepts of the Golden Rule. Fifth, that she have a sense of responsibility in civic affairs and be active in service for public benefit. Sixth, that she be qualified to represent the Mothers of America in all responsibilities attached to her role as the National Mother.
Every year since, American Mothers has recognized mothers who are courageous, bold, innovative, and creative. Moms who come from all walks of life, different states, different faiths, and various cultural and educational backgrounds. Mothers who are making a significant difference, not just with their own children and families, but who have made a positive impact in their communities, their states, and our nation. For over 80 years, American Mothers, Inc.® has continued this rich tradition of honoring mothers and recently added another category recognizing Mothers of Achievement. This award, taken from the title of a book written by American Mothers, honors women who have made a positive difference in their communities and whose accomplishments have significantly improved the lives of children and families.
The extraordinary women recognized by this organization are genuine examples of that ‘typical’ American mother. They embody all of the admirable qualities for which that first honor was given and their stories are truly inspirational! We encourage you to nominate that remarkable mom in your community for one of our awards HERE.