Archives Center collections contain much documentary evidence of holiday celebrations and their impact on society. Greeting card collections contain Mother’s Day cards produced over the years, and advertising history collections document references to Mother’s Day and motherhood as components of advertising campaigns. If guilt sometimes motivates consumer spending for holidays like Mother’s Day, products also have been advertised and marketed in ways calculated to induce parental guilt: mothers worry that they may be not doing enough for their children’s well-being. An advertisement, by claiming that a product benefits growing children, implies that women who fail to purchase the product may fail in their motherly roles. More benign advertising illustration may motivate sales by simply playing upon sentiment and the sweet imagery of motherhood, as in the cover of this 1906 commercially published pamphlet, which presumes to tell women “How to Bring Up a Baby” with the aid of Ivory soap.
A product associated with motherhood may be the image itself. Professional portrait photographers continually re-invent the classic imagery associated with motherhood in personal, specific documents of real mothers with their children, as in this soft, elegant portrait of Mrs. E.P. Shaw and her daughter, made by Addison N. Scurlock around 1930, from the Scurlock Studio Records.