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.”
- Father’s Day Proclamation: CLICK HERE
- Father’s Day Becomes A National Holiday CLICK HERE
- Background on Father’s Day from the Library of Congress: CLICK HERE
- Good background from Congress: CLICK HERE
- Fathers Day $$: Father’s Day ~ Seasonal Trend
- 2021 NRF Data: https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/fathers-day-spending-hit-201-billion-according-nrf
- NFR Mother’s Day 2021 Data: https://nrf.com/insights/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/mothers-day/mothers-day-data-center
- Newspaper Clippings from the Sonora Dodd Collection at Whitworth University, Spokane, WA: https://digitalcommons.whitworth.edu/fathers-day-newspapersPre1924/index.html
by Jenna Lee,