The year was 1933, America was in the middle of the great depression, and women were taking on many roles in society in order to make ends meet for their family.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 the key to the family and by honoring mothers the fabric of our society was strengthened.
In 1935, New York Cityʼs 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 and 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, educational and professional 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. An organization comprised of strong moms who strengthen families!
Every year, American Mothers continues this special tradition of honoring and recognizing these extraordinary women. They are genuine examples of that ʻtypicalʼ American mother and their stories are inspirational. They embody all of the admirable qualities for which that first honor was given. They are stay at home mothers, working mothers,young mothers and grandmothers whose invaluable and selfless contributions will benefit the next generation.