While many of us think of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as twin holidays, the two celebrations had very different historical trajectories. Mother’s Day became a national holiday only seven years after it was first celebrated on May 10, 1907, in Grafton, West Virginia. However, efforts to create a comparable federal holiday for dads took over six decades. The first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington in 1910 thanks to the tireless efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd, who wanted to honor her father, a Civil War veteran and single parent of six children. She chose June for the holiday because her father’s birthday fell in that month. Various presidents, including Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge, recognized the significance of the day but efforts to get official recognition for the holiday did not gain traction till 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day. The celebration finally became a federal holiday on April 24, 1972, with the passage of Public Law 92-278, signed by President Nixon, who urged Americans to “offer public and private expressions of the abiding love and gratitude which they bear for their fathers.” Sonora Smart Dodd died in 1978 at the age of 96, having lived to see the achievement of her dream to honor her father and fathers everywhere. So, in recognition of dad and of the day, click here to learn more about the history of Father’s Day; and, click on the titles below for links to some dad-worthy books.
"No man stands taller than when he stoops to help a child." Abraham Lincoln
“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.” Anne Sexton