The Origin of Father’s Day

One Sunday in 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd listened to a sermon honoring mothers. Her mother had died some years before, so her father had raised her by himself. Dodd wondered why there wasn’t a day to honor fathers, so she arranged a tribute to her father at a church in Spokane, Washington.

The date was June 19, 1910. Many people believe this was the beginning of Father’s Day. Another account holds that a West Virginia church held a tribute service for fathers in 1908, following a mine explosion that killed 360 men. Regardless of which story is correct, President Calvin Coolidge was the first president to designate a special day to honor fathers. In 1924, he proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

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