The South Carolina Mother of the Year award began in 1942 when Caroline McKissick and Sam Latimer, editor of The State newspaper, organized the South Carolina Mother Committee under The American Mother’s Committee, organized in 1933 as a division of J.C. Penney’s Golden Rule Foundation. The Committee’s purpose was to select a South Carolina State Mother who, in turn, would be nominated for American Mother of the Year. Each year, on Mother’s Day, the editor of The State and the governor of South Carolina joined the Mothers Committee to honor the South Carolina Mother of the Year with a pin and the Golden Rule Scroll. The front page of The State featured the award winner in a front page article describing the attributes that made the lady deserving of “the greatest honor for mothers in the state.”

The selection of each year’s award winner was made each spring by a committee of judges from nominations made by the citizens of South Carolina. The winner was given the award in her home town. She then attended the national convention in late spring where award winners from other states competed for the title of National Mother of the Year.

As the state organization grew, the name was changed to the South Carolina Mothers Association. In 1968, Josephine McNair, wife of Gov. Robert McNair, hosted a tea honoring the SC Mother of the Year at the Governor’s Mansion beginning a new tradition for the organization. In the subsequent years, the honor was awarded in Columbia at the governor’s office. The Mother of the Year was often asked to speak throughout the state during her year as the award winner. The South Carolina Mother of the Year Award was given for 70 years between 1942 and 2012.

The records relating to the South Carolina Mother of the Year award are housed at the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections at Winthrop University.

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South Carolina Mother of the Year Oral History Archives