You know, when I started this page, I really thought there would be as much information about Father's Day as there was about Mother's Day. Boy, was I mistaken!! There isn't much out there at all - about the person who started it or the holiday itself.
Another thing that struck me was that no one is really quite sure what the name of the lady who initiated Father's Day was. I checked out about 10 different sources, her name is different in each one. If all the names were put together, her name would be - Sonora Louise Smart Bruce Dodd. I can only assume that she remarried at some point, because there isn't any personal information about her at all that I could find.
What I do know is that in 1909, in a church in Spokane, Washington, while listening to a Mother's Day sermon, she got the idea for a celebration honoring fathers. Her father, William Jackson Smart (a civil war veteran), had raised her and her 5 siblings all by himself after her mother died. She wanted a way to show him how special she thought he was.
She approached her minister and suggested a day where people could honor their fathers with small gifts and special church services. He, in turn, convinced the Ministerial Society of Spokane to go along with the idea. "The mayor of the city and the governor of the state endorsed her concept and issued proclamations in support. Even the famed politician William Jennings Bryan weighed in with words of support." Sonora wanted June 5th to be the day chosen, because that was her father's birthday, but the third Sunday in June was chosen because they figured that it would be easier to remember and logistically more acceptable. The first Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.
"Father's day was slow to catch on. It was not even well known in Sonora's own state despite the governor's proclamation. The idea of honoring fathers with a special day was actually reinvented independently in several other places, each locality thinking it was starting something new. Curiously, circumstances led other founders to independently choose the month of June. By 1916, President Woodrow Wilson had endorsed the idea and in 1924, Calvin Coolidge recommended national observance of the day 'to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligation' and strengthen intimate ties between fathers and children."
In 1926, there was a National Father's Day Committee formed in New York and since 1934, every third Sunday in June has been set aside for Father's Day. In 1956, Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday of June the official Father's Day. But it wasn't until 1972, when Richard M. Nixon was President that Congress voted Father's Day in as a national holiday.
However Father's Day came to be, it is a day set aside to honor our fathers and show them how much we love them.
(Quotes taken from June 19)
A Tribute To My Dad