Collecting “Mother” Motto Prints

In the early part of the twentieth century a popular gift was a framed motto print. Usually sentimental, sometimes funny, they were always charming. Some had a strong Art Deco design, others harkened back to the Victorian era. Some of the most popular mottos, then and now, are devoted to mothers.

These mottos are endearing, the text is ornate, the frames are lovely, and they make a stunning collection when grouped together. They can be hung in bathrooms, bedrooms, guest bedrooms, kitchens, really any room in the house. I’ve even seen tiny ones tucked into a Christmas tree.  

There were a few companies who made and sold these mottos. The Buzza company and P.F. Volland are the names you will see most often. 

Interior display room at the Buzza company

There is a definite joy and sweetness to motto prints. When I see one it always makes me smile. Some can be emotional and might bring a little tear to your eye but without some sadness, happiness is not as sweet. There are friendship mottos, “going home” mottos, ambition mottos, etc. Mottos devoted to fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, birds, dogs, etc. But probably the most common is the mother motto.  

You can find motto prints at estate sales, flea markets, yard sales, antique malls and online. Prices vary – generally from $20 – $75, with some going for a couple hundred. But watch out! Once you have one, you will want more!

Carol Fenn 5-2017