Vintage Mother's Day Greetings: Item of the Week

A 21st-century mother might grow pale and wonder where she had gone wrong if she received a Mother's Day card saying " 'Mother's Day.' What sweet remembrance mingles with its happy thought, like fragrant breath of Maytime, by the smiling flowers brought." On Mother's Day, today's sons and daughters say it with flowers, candy, gifts and perhaps a card with a line or two of verse. But years ago, mothers treasured sentimental mottoes on embroidered samplers and framed prints. The Victorian home had framed perforated cardboard samplers stitched in wool with the motto "What Is Home Without Mother". The 1920s home would hang a "gift motto," a framed print picturing an idealized mother surrounded by sweet children in colonial dress and a poem, "....Who is everybody's friend, The greatest gift that Heaven can send? Why, Mother!"

The Buzza Company, founded in Minneapolis in 1907, was the first big maker of gift mottoes, framed lithographs with pleasant pictures and syrupy verses on family, friendship, religion, patriotism, and other topics. For Mother, Buzza mottoes expressed mushy sentiments like "No love like Mother Love ever has shone. No other worship abides and endures, Faithful, unselfish and patient like yours"; and "God sent the birds and sunshine, to gladden all the world. He sent the foliage and flowers in radiance unfurled. He sent the June, the stars, the moon, the pearly dewdrops sweet. And then He sent you Mother dear, to make it all complete." Very popular in the 1920s and '30s, but not like popular cards today with sentiments like Hallmark's "Mom, You always said, 'Someday, you'll thank me.' And as usual, you were right! Thanks! (Love you!) Happy Mother's Day!" or "Just for you. Happy Mother's Day!"