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Who Invented Fathers Day?

Fathers Day is a date held on the third Sunday in June


ather and son fishing onpier
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Fathers Day is a date held on the third Sunday in June that celebrates and honors fathers. In the United States there are over 70 million fathers and while the first Mother's Day was celebrated in 1914, a Fathers Day did not become official until 1966. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation making Mothers Day the second Sunday in May.

The History of Fathers Day

Who invented Fathers Day? While there are at least two or three different people with that honor attributed to them, most historians consider that Sonora Smart Dodd, of Washington State, was the first person to think up the holiday in 1910.

Sonora Dodd's father was a civil war veteran named William Smart. Dodd's mother died giving birth to her sixth child. That left William Smart a widower with five children to raise on his own. When Sonora Dodd married and had her own children, she realized what a tremendous job her father had done in raising her and her siblings as a single parent.

After hearing her Pastor give a sermon about the newly established Mother's Day, Sonora Dodd suggested to her Pastor that there should also be a Fathers Day and suggested that the date should be June 5, her father's birthday. However, that was too soon for the Pastor to prepare a sermon and he moved the date to June 19, the third Sunday of the month.

Ways of Celebrating Fathers Day

One of the early ways established to celebrate Fathers Day was to wear a flower. Sonora Dodd suggested wearing a red rose if your father was still living, and wearing a white flower if your father was deceased. Later a special activity, gift, or a card to one's father became commonplace.

Dodd spent years promoting the celebration of Fathers Day nationally. She elicited the help of the manufacturers of goods for men, those who might benefit from a Father's Day, the makers of ties, tobacco pipes, and other potential gifts suitable for fathers.

In 1938, a Fathers Day Council was founded by the New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers to help with the commercial promotion of Father's Day. But the public was still resisting the idea of a Father's Day. Many Americans believed Fathers Day was just another way to make money by retailers, after the popularity of Mothers Day led to the successful sale of gifts for mothers.

Making Fathers Day Official

As early as 1913, bills had been submitted to congress to pass the national recognition of Father's Day. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson heavily promoted making Father's Day official, but he could not muster enough support from Congress. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father's Gay be observed by the nation, but did not go so far as to issue a national proclamation.

In 1957, Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus "singling out just one of our two parents". Finally in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation that made the third Sunday of June, Fathers Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon made Fathers Day a permanent national holiday.

What Do Fathers Want

Forget about snazzy ties, cologne, or car parts, here is what surveys say Fathers really want. According to a Fox News report, "About 87 percent of dads would rather have dinner with the family. Most fathers don't want another tie, as 65 percent said they would rather get nothing than another tie." And before you go running out to buy mens cologne, only 18 percent of Dads said they want some kind of personal care product. And only 14 percent of fathers said they want automotive accessories.
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