The Origin of Father’s Day
on Jun 15, 2020
The Origin of Father’s Day

The Origin of Father’s Day 

Ever heard the idiom, “behind every great man is a great woman?”

Well, even in the case of Father’s Day, it was a woman who campaigned to celebrate her father and all fathers in America before it became a nationally celebrated holiday. Let’s take you back to 1909. 

Sonora Smart Dodd, was the daughter of William Jackson Smart. He was a twice married, twice widowed Civil War veteran with 14 children. Talk about a lot of responsibility! It all started when Sonora attended a Mother’s Day ceremony at her church in Spokane, Washington when she realized that her father deserved just as much appreciation as your mother. Sonora’s mother died when she was 16 years of age, so her father ended up taking care of her and playing both the role of the mother and father.

She never forgot how much her father loved her.

She decided to draft a petition for a special Father’s Day service to celebrate all fathers on her actual father’s birthday (June 5) and presented it before the Spokane Ministerial Alliance. The clergy agreed to arrange it, but due to June 5 coming up sooner than they could prepare, they set the date to the third week of June (June 19). Church sermons across Spokane were dedicated to celebrating fathers. Red roses were given if their father was still alive and white roses were given if their father had passed on. The mayor and even governor of Washington became involved, which motivated Sonora to travel the country petitioning for it to become a nationwide holiday.

It took her almost 62 years of campaigning for her dream of a national Father’s Day to eventually come true. In 1970, Congress passed the Joint Resolution 187 and President Richard Nixon signed it in 1972, officially making Father’s Day a national American holiday. 

Sonora Smart Dodd and the bond with her father, William Jackson Smart, is definitely something we should aspire to have. Her memory continues to live on and we agree with her, fathers should be appreciated and acknowledged for their hard work. 

Fast forward to 2019, in an article by National Geographic, we (Americans) were “expected to spend $16 billion for Father’s Day, with the most popular gifts being greeting cards, outings, and clothing,” according to the National Retail Federation. 

If you haven’t bought your father a card or something else to acknowledge Father’s Day, we hope you do so. 

Watch our video for some gift ideas!