Father’s Day Is Only 54 Years Old
It may be hard to believe that Father’s Day has not always been a nationally recognized event, but the fact is, it was not officially designated until 1966. I’ve reprinted some information about this day of recognition for fathers that may be fun to share with your family members whether near, far or near and far via digital technology! I’ve excerpted the information from a GoodHousekeeping.com slide show. You’ll find the link to the piece at the end. It’s kind of fun and interesting to see the journey from the first thought to the Presidential proclamation.
1908: Anna Jarvis founded Mother's Day.
The idea for Father's Day came after social activist Anna Jarvis proposed Mother's Day in the early 1900s. Within six years of its inception, Mother's Day was declared an official holiday by President Woodrow Wilson.
1908: The first event to explicitly honor fathers
The first celebration for fathers in the United States has rather dark origins. On July 5, 1908, a father-themed memorial was held by a West Virginia church for the 362 men were killed in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company mines.
1910: Sonora Smart Dodd honored her dad at the local YMCA.
After listening to a sermon about Mother's Day, Dodd was inspired to create a holiday to recognize her father William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran and single dad to six children. She held the first Father's Day celebration at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington.
1912: Dads play a role in the invention of the water fountain.
Love can be inspiration — just ask Halsey Taylor. In 1912, Taylor invented the modern drinking fountain as a tribute to his father.
1913: Fathers' Day becomes Father's Day.
Grammar geeks, your grievances with the name of this holiday are justified. While Dodd originally called it "Fathers' Day," the first bill which attempted to establish the holiday in 1913 used the spelling "Father's Day" — and it stuck.
1916: President Woodrow Wilson tried to make Father's Day a thing.
Six years later, news about the holiday reached the White House. President Wilson attended the Father's Day celebration in Spokane and confirmed that he was working to make the holiday recognized at a national level. Congress initially resisted because they were worried about commercialization.
1920s: Neckties were the #1 Father's Day gift.
Still, families around the country were celebrating Father's Day by gifting men Hallmark cards and silk ties. Neckties were mass-produced in the 1920s to keep up with the demand surrounding the unofficial holiday.
1924: President Calvin Coolidge supported Father's Day.
President Coolidge also had cold feet: He recommended that the nation observe the holiday, but failed to issue a national proclamation (a.k.a. the document that makes it a done deal).
1940s: Americans viewed Father's Day as propaganda.
Between the Great Depression and World War II, Americans were weary of anything that encouraged them to spend their hard earned money. During the war, advertisers even began telling housewives that supporting Father's Day was also a way to support their husbands away at war and the war itself.
1957: Margaret Chase Smith called out Congress.
By the 1950s, Father's Day was celebrated by most Americans even though it wasn't recognized at the federal level. Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith made a plea to Congress: "The Congress has been guilty now for 40 years of the worst possible oversight against the gallant fathers of our land. Either we honor both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honoring either one," she wrote.
1961: Walt Horan resurfaced the proposal for Father's Day.
During a House floor speech, the politician brought up Dodd's historic decision to start Father's Day. "Father's Day has gained nationwide observance but it has never been given the official recognition of Congress," he remarked.
1966: President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a presidential proclamation.
President Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and designated the third Sunday of June as Father's Day.