Father’s Day

June 21, 2020

Happy Father’s Day

A beloved single dad inspired it.

His daughter rallied for it.

A president made it official.


  • William Jackson Smart: Civil War veteran. His wife died in childbirth and he raised 6 children alone.
  • His daughter, Sonora, felt inspired to honor him after listening to a 1909 Mother’s Day sermon and rallied local support for fathers to have a day too.
  • First Father’s Day: Spokane, WA, June 19, 1910. Sonora encouraged people to honor fathers in June because his birthday was on June 5th.

Interesting To Note

  • While Mother’s Day became official in 1914, Father’s Day did not become *official* until 1972.
  • That said, Father’s Day was observed in various ways around the country in the decades in between.
  • 1966: Pres. Johnson declared the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.
  • 1972: Pres. Nixon signed a prolamation designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

Flowers For Fathers?

Original Fathers Day Gift

  • In 1910, children gifted red roses to living fathers; white roses honored deceased.
  • Americans are expected to spend about $174 on average for Father’s Day – an increase of $26 over last year’s record number. Nearly half of this increase is due to more spending on clothing, special outings, and electronics. On Mother’s Day, Americans were expected to spend about $220 on average.

“To have a father – to be a father – is to come very near the heart of life itself.” Pres. Richard Nixon’s opening statement in his Father’s Day proclamation in 1972 – over sixty years after Sonora Dodd began lobbying for the day. In 2009, Congress passed a resolution commending “her contribution in recognizing the importance of Father’s Day and recognizing the important role fathers play in our families.”

by Jenna Lee,