A brief history of Father’s Day

Ever wonder about the genesis of Father’s Day? Tim Atkinson, the dad blogger who writes Bringing Up Charlie, has just brought out his book Fatherhood: The Essential Guide and who will be selling and signing it at CyberMummy, has done a bit of research (we hope) into the matter in this special guest post. Over to Tim!

Although Mother’s Day (or Mothering Sunday) goes back a long, long way (as early as the Middle Ages) dads have had to make do without a special day until relatively recently.

The first-ever ‘Father’s Day’ was held on July 5th 1908 in Fairmont, West Virginia. The year before, a mining disaster in nearby Monongah had killed 361 men, 250 of whom were fathers and on the first anniversary of the disaster the local Methodist Pastor held a service of commemoration for the victims which he extended to commemorate all fathers everywhere.

Meanwhile, a year later in Spokane, Washington a lady named Sonora Smart Dodd, daughter of Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was suggesting a similar day. She was inspired by her own father – who had reared all six of his children as a single parent and thought there could be no better day to celebrate than on his birthday, June 5th.

Unfortunately, Sonora didn’t get her act together in sufficient time and so the ‘first’ official Father’s Day was postponed third Sunday in June, where it has remained ever since. Let’s hope – if you’re a dad – there’s no delay in getting your salutation. Happy Father’s Day!

— Tim Atkinson

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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at Jenography.net, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.