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NATIONAL FLORAL EMBLEM
MONDAY, JUNE 30, 1958
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE LIBRARY
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to call, in room G-53, the Capitol, Hon. Paul C. Jones (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. JONES. The committee will come to order.
I am sorry that we do not have more members of our committee present, but if there is no objection, we will begin the hearing.
The subcommittee was called to meet this morning to consider House Joint Resolution 465, introduced by the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Davis. It is a joint resolution designating the rose as the national flower of the United States,
(H. J. Res. 465 follows:)
(H.J. Res. 465, 85th Cong., 2d sess.) JOINT RESOLUTION Designating the rose as the national flower of the United States Whereas the United States is the only major country in the world without a national flower; and
Whereas the rose has many years been the favorite flower of the American people, who prefer it by a margin of eighteen to one over any other; and
Whereas the rose has long represented love, courage, loyalty, and devotion and has become an international symbol of peace; and
Whereas several of the States already honor the rose as their official flower: Therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the flower commonly known as the rose is designated and adopted as the national flower of the United States, and the President is requested to declare such designation and adoption by proclamation.
Mr. Jones. We have some 5 or 6 people who would like to testify this morning. I think at the beginning of the hearing, without objection, we will authorize the filing of any other statements that others might care to make on this subject.
We would now like to ask Congressman Davis, the author of House Joint Resolution 465, if he will introduce one of his witnesses.
Mr. Davis. Mr. Chairman, I want to make a statement myself, which I will make whenever the chairman deems appropriate. Would you like to hear from the other witnesses first? Mr. JONES. Just suit your convenience, Mr. Congressman.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES C. DAVIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA
Mr. Davis. I will make a short statement myself.
Before you begin, I might say we will have other resolutions which have been introduced by Congressman Scott and Congressman McIntosh, which are similar and which would designate the rose. We will also have resolutions introduced by other Members of Congress which would designate other floral emblems. However, this hearing this morning was called principally for the rose. We will hear anyone who cares to appear either for or against this emblem, and either for or against any other emblem.
Mr. Davis. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I am James C. Davis, a Representative from the Fifth_Congressional District of Georgia, and I introduced House Joint Resolution 465 which, as the chairman has stated, is a resolution to designate the rose as the national flower of our country.
I want to thank the chairman and the members of the subcommittee for setting this resolution down for hearing today. We appreciate very much your consideration of the resolution.
In these days, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen, when practically every bill which is presented to the Congress involves an appropriation of money, in these days of national budgets approximating $73 billion per year, when we have a national debt of more than $275 billion, it is a pleasure to me and I am gratified to present to the Congress a bill which involves a matter of a good deal of significance and importance, which does not involve the spending of one dollar of taxpayer money,
In presenting this resolution to designate the rose as the national flower of our country, I did so at the solicitation of Mrs. Chester Martin, of Atlanta, Ga., who is the national chairman of the garden division of the General Federation of Women's Clubs of the United States.
Mrs. Martin has been and is very interested in having this resolution considered by the Congress, and of course, in having it adopted. She has worked very assiduously and unceasingly in behalf of the resolution, and I am very glad to state that at the annual meeting of the General Federation of Women's Clubs this year, a resolution was adopted endorsing the rose as the national flower of the United States.
The General Federation of Women's Clubs, as all of you know, I would say, is the representative body of womanhood of America. Their voice on any subject with which they are concerned represents the sentiment of the collective membership throughout the United States. We are very proud in Atlanta of the fact that Mrs. Martin has step by step rose from the status of just a member of the Federation of Women's Clubs to the status of national chairman of the Garden Division. It is a position of importance in the organization that represents the philosophies and thoughts, the ambitions of the women of America, and the fact, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, that the General Federation of Women's Clubs has endorsed the rose as the national flower of our country, I think, carries a great deal of significance with it.
Now as to the specific reasons why I think that this resolution should have your favorable consideration, I would like to present some facts along this line:
I have had the Library of Congress gather information on this subject and I am sure that what they have furnished me is accurate information. There are four States in the United States which have adopted the rose as a symbol. They are North Dakota, Georgia, Iowa, and New York State, which has unofficially-these other States have officially adopted the rose as their State flower and the State of New York, I am advised by the Library of Congress, has adopted it by unofficial action.
I am advised that the schoolchildren on Arbor Day, 1891, selected the rose as the State flower, ard it has been so regarded since that time, although no legislation has passed the State general assembly to that effect.
Throughout the years gone by, many poems have been written about the rose and many songs have been also written about it.
The Library of Congress advises me that there are approximately 80 poems about the rose, that there are 66 songs about the rose, 66 songs which begin with the word "rose.” There are some which do not have it as a beginning word, such as the song Only A Rose, and the Library of Congress advised me that, to make up a list and to tabulate a list of such titles would be such a lengthy task that it would take them a long, long time to perform it and therefore I am not able to tell you just how many songs there are about the rose which do not have the word "rose” as the beginning word, but there are hundreds, I am sure, of them. It was a task of such magnitude that the Library of Congress was not able to give me a tabulation on that by the time this hearing was to be held.
I think that we are somewhat negligent in not having adopted a national flower for our country. I am advised by the Library of Congress that 40 nations of the United Nations group have national flowers. Of this group, there are four-England, Honduras, Iran, and Luxembourg—which have the rose as their national flower. The other 36 nations have other flowers, which are more indigenous to their territory and for other reasons have been more suitable to them as their national flower.
In the June 8 issue of This Week magazine, the rose was featured and they conducted a poll on the rose as a national flower and asked those who were answering the poll to state the color of the rose which they preferred, and knowing of the pendency of this resolution before your honorable committee, Mr. Stewart Beach, who is the executive editor of this magazine, wrote me on June 25, and I would ask permission to include his letter in the record as a part of my remarks, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. JONES. Without objection, it will be done. (The letter referred to follows:)
This WEEK MAGAZINE,
New York, N. Y., June 25, 1958. Hon. JAMES C. DAVIS,
House Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. Davis: We have been much interested in the progress of the joint resolution which has been introduced to make the rose the national flower of the United States. In our June 8 issue we carried a rose poll, showing photographs of five different colored roses and asking our readers to vote for the color they liked best. There has been quite a lively interest in voting, and I am enclosing two of Mr. Nichols' weekly editorial letters in which I have marked the results. I am also enclosing a copy of the issue in which our poll originally appeared.