Celebrate Mother’s Day With 10 Powerful Images of Mothers from the Past

These powerful images from the past demonstrate the strength, dedication and unconditional love that makes a MOM a MOM — no matter her position or place in time. Happy Mother’s Day!!

All images and descriptions are from the collections of the Library of Congress.


Twins become mothers together for second time in less than two years. Washington, D.C., April 7, 1939. Accustomed to doing practically the same things all their lives, these Washington twins, now mothers, have apparently decided that having their children together would certainly be in order. The mothers, Mrs. Eileen Moon, left, and Mrs. Kathleen Robie, last week gave birth to daughters to set a new record at Columbia Maternity Hospital. Mrs. Moon’s youngster, whom she named Carol, was born on March 29, while Mrs. Robie’s new daughter Nancy Lee first saw the light of day on April 1. This same thing happened in July 1937 when Mrs. Robie gave birth to a girl and a few hours later Mrs. Moon’s baby, a boy, arrived.



Mothers and children in a city park on a hot day, New York City. Between c 1908 and 1919


3c03638vA happy Japanese mother and babe. c 1902



Mother and child, Little Rock, Arkansas 1935



Migrant mother feeding her baby while the family was stopped by the roadside for lunch, east of Fort Gibson, Muskogee County, Oklahoma. 1939



War workers nursery. Leaving her youngster at a well-run nursery school in Oakland, California, this war-working mother can devote all her thoughts to the job, knowing that the child will be kept busy and happy during the day. 1943



Teixiera family, 50 Lombardt St., New Bedford. Mary J., 11 years; Manuel 10 years. Mother and these two children pick 40 measures a day at 7 cents a measure. See scoops and pail in foreground. There were two out of eighteen workers apparently under 12 and they expected to work several weeks more–losing some weeks of schooling. Location: Falmouth – Plimmey [?] Bog, Massachusetts. 1911



Two mothers, each with a child on her back. c 1916



Mrs. Dora Stainers, 562 1/2 Decatur St. 39 years old. Began spinning in an Atlanta mill at 7 years, and is in this mill work for 32 years. Only 4 days of schooling in her life. Began at 20 cents a day. The most she ever made was $1.75 a day & now she is earning $1 a day when she works. She is looking for a job. Her little girl Lilie is the same age she was when she started work, but the mother says, “I ain’t goin to put her to work if I can help it. I’m goin’ to give her as much education as I can so she can do better than I did.” Mrs. Stainers is a woman of exceptional ability considering her training. In contrast to her is formed [?] another woman (this name was withheld) who has been working in Atlanta mills for 10 yrs. She began at 10 yrs. of age, married at 12, broke down, and may never be able to work again. Her mother went to work in the cotton mill very young. Location: Atlanta, Georgia. 1915



On Mothers Day, May 13. Thousands of Philadelphia veterans of the Amer. Legion journeyed to Wash. to honor the mother of the unknown soldier. 1923

All images and descriptions from the collections of the Library of Congress.

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