“For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” – William Ross Wallace – Throughout history, men who have an unusually strong emotional attachment to their mothers have been known as “mama’s boys.” Mama’s boys are often stereotyped as being weak and ineffectual, but many great and well-known men have been mama’s boys.
This Scottish-born industrialist lived a rags-to-riches dream, and endowed libraries across the land. His father, a weaver, was unable to find work in America and died at age 51. Andrew was 20 years old and became the sole breadwinner for his family. He was a sentimental fool toward motherhood, especially poor mothers. Carnegie contributed his close relationship to his mother to the fact that he was not raised by nannies, as rich children were. He promised never to marry as long as she lived, and he kept his word. Carnegie married at age 51, five months after her death.
Edgar A Guest
Although Guest was a twentieth-century writer, his poems expressed the nineteenth-century ideal of motherhood. A prolific writer, he left a legacy of over ten thousand poems, a great number of them extolling motherhood.
William Randolph Hearst
This newpaper publisher’s mother, Phoebe, gave her son over seven million dollars to build up his father’s newpaper properties. He idealized her to the extent that acquaintances found “almost unnatural.” Hearst did not marry until he was 40 years old.
Houdini was born Erich Weiss, the fifth son of a rabbi. He promised his dying father he would always look after his mother, and kept the promise faithfully. She died at age 72, and Harry would lay face down on her grave, speaking to her as though she could hear. He desperately tried to communicate with her through seances, until he realized that many of the mediums he consulted used trickery.
J. Edgar Hoover
Hoover’s mother, Annie, was a dominant, pious woman who instilled in him a strong aversion to mothers who did not have uncompromising moral standards. The infamous Ma Barker, who raised her sons to a life of criminal mischief and bank robbery, drew much of his moral outrage. A life-long bachelor, he lived with his mother until her death at the age of nearly 80.
The twenty-eighth president of the United States was a self-proclaimed “mama’s boy.” When he began his political career, Wilson dropped his first name, Thomas, to use his mother’s maiden name. In 1914, Wilson signed the resolution setting aside the second Sunday in May to be celebrated annually as “Mother’s Day.”
Hitler was raised by a father who expressed his discontent with life by harsh words and frequent beatings of his children. According to his older brother, Alois Jr., Adolph was spoiled by their overindulgent mother, and she was incapable of disciplining him. When she died after a long illness, the attending doctor said he had never known a son so full of grief over the death of his mother. Hitler seemed to be comfortable with only two types of women: young, girlish ones and motherly figures. To the very end of his life, he kept his mother’s picture with him and was constantly gazing upon it.
General Douglas MacArthur
MacArthur was the youngest of three sons, and mama’s favorite. When he entered the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, his mother took a room in a nearby hotel that overlooked the academy grounds. It is rumored that his mother used a telescope to look over into his room to make sure he was studying.
After his death rumors of Elvis’ boyhood, and unnatural behavior with his mother, were in all the tabloids. While much of the gossip is unfounded, we do know that his mother, Gladys, was precious to him. Upon her death, Elvis had her body lay in state at Graceland, sitting by the coffin and staring at her, until his father insisted upon a burial. Elvis became hysterical as the casket was lowered into the ground. A witness at the funeral stated that “he didn’t seem like Elvis ever again.”