Origins of Sayings

Fathers' Day

In 1909, listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day, Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd felt inspired by Anna Jarvis’s efforts and felt there should also be a Father’s Day.

Her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, had as a single parent raised his six children in Spokane, Washington after his wife’s death.

She initially suggested June 5th, the anniversary of her father’s death, however, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday in June.

Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924 but the all-male U.S. Congress was mindful that passing a measure so favorable to males could be seen as a conflict of interest.

In 1926, The National Father's Day Committee met for the first time in New York City. Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday in 1966, but the holiday was not officially recognized until the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1972 when he signed into law a permanent U.S. Father's Day to be observed on the third Sunday of June.

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