Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (August 1, 1837 – November 30, 1930), born in Cork, Ireland, was a prominent American labor and community organizer, who helped co-ordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. Her activities were done under the moniker of Mother Jones, after which Mother Jones magazine is named.
She was born Mary Harris, the daughter of a Roman Catholic tenant farmer, Richard Harris and his wife Ellen Cotter, on the northside of Cork city, Ireland. Some recent materials list her birthday as August 1, 1837, although she claimed her birthdate to be May 1, 1830. Her claims to an earlier date may have been an appeal to her grandmotherly image. The date of May 1 was possibly chosen symbolically, to represent the national labor holiday and anniversary of the Haymarket affair.
Jones emigrated with her family to Canada when she was roughly fourteen or fifteen years old. The young Mary acquired a Catholic education in Toronto before her family moved to the United States. She became a teacher in a convent in Monroe, Michigan. After becoming tired of her assumed profession, she moved first to Chicago and later to Memphis, where she married George Jones, a member of the Iron Workers' Union, in 1861. She eventually opened a dress shop in Memphis on the eve of the Civil War.