The History of Father’s Day

This Sunday, June 17, is Father’s Day.

Yes, it probably doesn’t have the same connotation as Mother’s Day, but it’s just as important.

But how did it come about?

According to, it all started on July 5, 1908, when a West Virginia church held an event to honor 362 men killed in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monogah seven months prior. Many of the men were fathers.

The following year, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd started her quest to establish Father’s Day as a national holiday. Dodd was one of six raised by her single father and thought fathers should be honored the same way as mothers.

After a year of petitioning her local community and government, Dodd’s home state of Washington became the first state in the country to make it a state-wide holiday on June 19, 1910.

Slowly the holiday began to spread with the help of President Woodrow Wilson.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged all state governments to observe Father’s Day, but it did not become an official national holiday until 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed it into law. It is now observed on the third Sunday in June.

Needless to say, Mother’s Day had been celebrated as far back as the 1860s and become a national holiday several decades earlier, in 1914.