The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.
Having been raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.
In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day just like we honor our mothers on Mother's Day.
The excert below is from the Silver Anniversary Book on Father's day published in 1935. I would like to thank William Jackson Smart's great granddaughter, Bonnie, for sharing this with me.
This year, 1935, the Silver Anniversary of Fathers' Day is being observed. Thirty-seven years ago, in the Big Bend hills of Washington, the day had its nativity in a lonely farm dwelling. There Sorrow ministered amid the moaning of the March winds.
Afather sat with bowed head in his aloneness. About him clung his weeping children. The winds outside threw great scarfs of powdered snow against the window panes, when suddenly the last born tore himself from the group and rushed out into the storm calling for his mother. Yet even his baby voice could not penetrate the great silence that held this mother.
Hurriedly, the father gathered him back to his protection and for more than two decades, William Jackson Smart, alone, kept paternal vigilance over his motherless children.
This poignant experience in the life of Mrs. John Bruce Dodd of Spokane, Washington, who was then Sonora Louise Smart, was the inspiration for Fathers' Day which materialized through the devotion of this father and the father of her own son, John Bruce Jr., born in 1909. Through the observance of the love and the sacrifice of fathers about her everywhere, her idea of Fathers' Day crystallized in 1910, through a formal Fathers' Day petition asking recognition of fatherhood."