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A Few Famous Mothers -- and "Mothers"

Mother's Day History

By

Lucy Stone with daughter Alice Stone Blackwell

Lucy Stone with daughter Alice Stone Blackwell

Courtesy Library of Congress

In honor of Mother's Day, here are some of history's more famous (and infamous) mothers -- and women who were given the nickname Mother.

  • Abigail Adams - married to a US president, she was also the mother of a president.
  • Aelfgifu - mother of the long-serving Anglo-Saxon king, Aethelraed.
  • Josephine Baker - she adopted twelve children after World War II to make her home a model of world "brotherhood."
  • Lydia Maria Child - she wrote books in the early 19th century to guide mothers in raising their children and running a home; she was also an active abolitionist.
  • Marie Curie - twice a Nobel Prize winner (in different fields), her daughter also was awarded a Nobel.
  • Margaret Douglas - her son, Henry Steward, Lord Darnley, married Mary, Queen of Scots, and gave his family name to the royal family following the Tudors, the Stuarts.
  • Earth Mothers - goddesses of the earth worshipped around the world.
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine - mother of three kings; her daughters married into the royal houses of Europe; she's been called the Mother of Europe.
  • Elizabeth, Queen Mum - Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, mother of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Sally Hemings - many conclude that she was the mistress of Thomas Jefferson and that her children were his.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots - mother of James I of England, first Stuart king.
  • Empress Matilda - mother of Henry II, first Plantagenet king.
  • Mother Jones - called the "most dangerous woman in America," all four of her children died in a yellow fever epidemic long before her career as a labor organizer.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - mother of John F. Kennedy, jr., Caroline Kennedy, and the short-lived Patrick Kennedy.
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh - a pilot herself, married to the famous Charles Lindbergh; their son was the subject of a tragic kidnapping.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton - mother of eight; one daughter also became a leader in the 
  • Lucy Stone - a suffrage leader, so was her daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell.
  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta - she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work as part of an order of nuns serving in Calcutta.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft - famous as an early feminist; her daughter, Mary Shelley, wrote the novel Frankenstein.
  • Roman Mothers - seven famous mothers in Roman history.
  • Greek Mothers - ten famous mothers in Greek history.

More Mother's Day History

© Jone Johnson Lewis

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