For the second straight year in the U.S. Senate, a bill has been introduced that seeks to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day with up to 400,000 silver dollar coins.
The bill, entitled Mother’s Day Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, S.1012, would have the United States Mint issue proof and uncirculated coins in 2014 that are "emblematic of the 100th anniversary of President Wilson’s proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller submitted the legislation and it contains virtually identical language to the prior bill (S. 2883), which died at the conclusion of the 110th Congress. (Ironically, a companion version (H.R. 2268) managed to pass in the House, but never made it through the Senate.)
"What started out as a tribute from a West Virginia daughter to her mother, is now a nationally and internationally recognized holiday," Rockefeller said. "I hope that Mother’s Day coins can become a meaningful gift and part of our family celebrations."
Mother’s Day History
Rockefeller is from West Virginia, as was Anna Jarvis — the founder of Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis was born in the small town of Webster in Taylor County in 1864 and later moved with her family to Grafton, West Virginia. Soon after the 1905 death of her mother, Anna campaigned for a national Mother’s Day holiday.
The Matthews Methodist Episcopal Church of Grafton officially celebrated Mother’s Day in 1908. In 1910, West Virginia Governor, William Glasscock, issued the first Mother’s Day Proclamation, encouraging all West Virginians to attend church and wear white carnations.
Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914 when the Sixty-Third Congress approved H.J. Res. 263. President Woodrow Wilson issued a Presidential Proclamation directing government officials to display the American flag on all government buildings and inviting the American people to display the flag at their homes on the second Sunday of May as a public expression of the love and reverence for the mothers of our Nation.
In an interesting turn, later in life Anna Jarvis became discouraged with the commercialism of the special day. She eventually campaigned against Mother’s Day, and went as far as filing a suite regarding its celebration.
Anna Jarvis was blind and penniless when she died in 1948.
Surcharges for commemorative silver dollar sales
While Anna Jarvis disliked the commercialism of Mother’s Day and an argument can be made that a commemorative Mother’s Day coin would add to her disdain, S. 1012 would at least turn coin profits toward positive causes.
"These coins will not only raise awareness of the proud history of Mother’s Day, but will help improve the health of thousands of our Nation’s mothers," Rockefeller said.
Each coin sold would include a $10 surcharge paid to:
(1) 1/2 to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure for the purpose of furthering research funded by the organization. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has raised more than $1 billion for breast cancer research since 1982
(2) 1/2 to the National Osteoporosis Foundation for the purpose of furthering research funded by the Foundation.
For coin legislation to become law, it must pass both in the House and Senate, and get signed by the President.