Why Are These Moms So Magnificent?
“Don’t call me an icon,” Princess
Diana once said. “I’m just a mother trying to help.” Test your knowledge of the famous mothers who in raising their children changed the course of history. As William Ross Wallace wrote, “For the hand that rocks the cradle/Is the hand that rules the world.”
Question 1 of 11
Who was the brilliant, determined First Lady, who not only married a future president of the United States, but mothered one? As she once wrote to her husband, "Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could."
Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States, and the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. She was an advocate of educational opportunities for women and the property rights of married women, as well as being vehemently opposed to slavery.
Question 2 of 11
When this famous inventor was labeled "addled" by his teacher for being easily distracted as a child, his mother removed him from class and homeschooled him. As a grown man, he remembered, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint." Who was he?
Thomas Alva Edison was the youngest and seventh child of Nancy Matthews Elliott and Samuel Ogden Edison. Nancy had received some formal education, which enabled her to teach her son.
|George Washington Carver|
Question 3 of 11
While she set about restoring the White House to its former glory for future generations, this First Lady also made sure the place was child-friendly, organizing a first-grade class in the White House. She saw herself as a wife and mother first, and insisted that her children not only had regular access to their father but enjoyed as normal, playful, and private a childhood as possible. Her name is:
|Mary Todd Lincoln|
As one of the youngest and most fashionable faces ever to grace the White House, Jacqueline Kennedy was a breath of fresh air as First Lady, but never forgot her most cherished role as mother and grandmother. As she once remarked, "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."
Question 4 of 11
Her "Mother's Day Proclamation" was a call to peace after the devastation of war. Her activism grew out of her desire as a mother for social reform.
Julia Ward Howe
Best known for writing the words to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," Julia Ward Howe made her Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870, in the wake of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War: "Arise then…women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts!"
Question 5 of 11
This Polish scientist is called the "mother of radioactivity" for her work in isolating radioactive isotopes and discovery of the elements, polonium and radium. She became the first person to be honored with two Nobel Prizes, in physics and chemistry. She also was the mother of a future Nobel Prize winner. Who was she?
Marie Curie shared her first Nobel Prize in physics with her husband. After her husband's death, she became the first female professor at the University of Paris. The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she also was the mother of a Nobel Prize winner, daughter Irene Joliot-Curie.
|Mileva Mariæ Einstein|
Question 6 of 11
This pioneering American author (and mother of another accomplished writer) is best known for her writing about life on the prairie.
|Caroline Augusta Woodhouse|
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Ingalls Wilder was first encouraged to write down her childhood memoirs by her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, an accomplished writer and editor in her own right. Remembering her childhood as a "pioneer girl," she titled her first manuscript, When Grandma Was a Little Girl. This was later published as Little House in the Big Woods.
Question 7 of 11
The first Mother's Day was celebrated in a West Virginia church in 1907. The practice was soon adopted by 45 other states before being declared a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. Who was one of the first women to recognize the need to honor and celebrate mothers with a special day of their own?
Ann Jarvis was a young Appalachian mother who tried to establish a Mothers' Work Day in support of pacifism and social activism. At her funeral, her daughter Anna Jarvis distributed 500 white carnations to the mothers present. A few years later, Jarvis campaigned to make Mother's Day a national holiday. After achieving success, she became pained by what she saw as the commercialization of the holiday.
Question 8 of 11
This famous entertainer adopted 12 children from around the world, calling them her "Rainbow Tribe," and declaring their home "a world village" and "showplace for brotherhood."
Baker was a well-sung war hero, assisting the French resistance during World War II by hiding intelligence in her sheet music. For her efforts, she received the Croix de Guerre, the Rosette de la Resistance, and was made a Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur. After the war, the star (whose own mother Carrie was adopted) became a civil rights activist and adopted 10 sons and two daughters from around the world.
Question 9 of 11
She became a devoted stepmother to Abraham Lincoln, who had lost his own mother at the age of 9. The affection and respect between the two was such that he addressed her as "Mother" and said, "I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."
Sarah Bush Johnston
Sarah Bush Johnston was already a widow with three children when she married Thomas Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's father. Treating Lincoln as one of her own children, she encouraged him to become an avid reader and to learn as much as he could. The two remained close, even after Lincoln grew distant from his own father.
Question 10 of 11
This world leader would remark of his mother, "In my interest she left no wire unpulled, no stone unturned, no cutlet uncooked." Although he was mostly raised by nannies, his mother grew to become one of his most loyal supporters in adulthood. As he later remembered, "She soon became an ardent ally, furthering my plans and guarding my interests with all her influence and boundless energy."
Lady Randolph Churchill (formerly Jennie Jerome) was the American-born mother of British politician Winston Churchill. She was considered one of the foremost beauties of her time. Later in his life, Churchill wrote of his mother, "She shone for me like the Evening Star. I loved her dearly, but at a distance."
Question 11 of 11
She's been described as "cozy, nice, sweet, friendly, and dear" and dubbed the "First Granny." It is said that the president and his wife could not move to the White House without her. Still, this independent grandmother was "kicking and screaming" when she left behind her home, friends, and family in Chicago to care for her granddaughters in the White House. Who is she?
|Elivera M. Doud|
|Bessie Lillian Carter|
Marian Robinson, a retired bank secretary who left a comfortable life in Chicago to care for granddaughters Malia and Sasha, brings a sense of normalcy to the White House. According to her daughter, First Lady Michelle Obama, "She has a very full social life, so much so that sometimes we have to plan our schedule around her schedule." Nevertheless, the devoted grandmother is proud to note, "It makes it very easy to be a grandmother when your children are good parents."
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