Sunday, June 21, 2009


Searching for the Origin of Father's Day
by Mike Krumboltz
38 hours ago

359 Votes Searchers have a question they'd like answered: Who started Father's Day? Who do they have to thank for the mandatory bonding time they're spending with dear ol' dad this weekend? Lookups on "father's day origin" and "who started father's day" inspired us to investigate. The results of our research shook us to our very core.

OK, maybe not to our core, exactly. But the story of how Father's Day came to be is still pretty interesting. A blog from a Detroit church explains that most historians credit a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd with creating the holiday. Ms. Smart Dodd was "inspired by her father, a widower and Civil War veteran named William Jackson Smart." She wanted to do something to honor his memory while paying respect to all fathers.

Clearly she was a woman with a plan. Alas, not everybody agreed with her pleas to "give it up for the papas" (our words, not hers). In fact, Ms. Smart Dodd's proposal was often mocked when it first made the rounds. Folks felt it unnecessary. And the all-male United States Congress felt that having a holiday for fathers might look like they were trying to give themselves "a pat on the back."

Additionally, many just plain didn't want the holiday. An article from Inspiration Line explains that, according to an article in The Spokesman-Review, "one group of men conventioneers laughed and said they didn't want a Father's Day. A National Fishing Day would be better, they told her."

Though many scoffed, the holiday was eventually accepted. In 1910, the first local Father’s Day was held. It wasn’t until 1924 that President Calvin Coolidge "made it a national event." Then, in 1966, President Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day. President Nixon made it law in 1972.

It's hard to imagine a time when the idea of Father's Day was mocked and dismissed as ridiculous. If it weren't for the tenacity of a grateful daughter, it may never have come to pass.


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