2 Replies Latest reply on Nov 8, 2021 6:11 AM by STEPHEN HOSMER

    Seeking the origins of Father's Day

    STEPHEN HOSMER Adventurer

      I know that we all celebrate a Sunday in June, fathers day.  But when I thought of writing to ask what is the history and who began it and why.  Could you please provide me some history of fathers day. Also if you could provide me some historical links about the history of the day that would be great too.

        • Re: Seeking the origins of Father's Day
          STEPHEN HOSMER Adventurer

          I hope someone can reply to my question today,  please.

          Stephen Hosmer

          • Re: Seeking the origins of Father's Day
            Rachael Salyer Ranger

            Dear Mr. Hosmer,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            Although Father’s Day has its roots in Spokane, Washington in the early 20th Century, it did not become an official holiday until President Nixon signed Public Law (P.L.) 92-278 on April 24, 1972, which designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Nixon’s subsequent Proclamation 4127 dated May 1, 1972 designated June 18, 1972 as the nation’s first federal observation of Father’s Day.


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series White House Press Office Files, 1969-1974 in the White House Staff Member and Office Files (Nixon Administration) (Collection RN-SMOF) includes Presidential proclamations and may contain more information about his Father’s Day Proclamation. The series President's Office Files, 1/20/1969-8/9/1974 in Collection RN-SMOF contains records of the President’s daily activities that also may be useful for your research. These records have not been digitized. Please contact the Richard Nixon Library (LP-RN) at nixonreference@nara.gov for assistance with these and similar records.


            Next, we located the series National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records in the Records of the National Park Service (Record Group 79) that contains the file Washington SP Dodd House, which was the home of Sonora Smart Dodd, who was one of the earliest proponents of Father’s Day. These records have been digitized and may be viewed online using the Catalog.


            We suggest that you use the Catalog to explore other records related to Father's Day in the National Archives holdings. Many of these records have been digitized and may be viewed online.


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from LP-RN. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


            In addition, we located Proclamation 4127 - May 1, 1972 on the govinfo.gov website. You also may be interested in the article Father's Day Becomes A National Holiday on the website of the U.S. House of Representatives Offices of History, Art, and Archives and in the Library of Congress Father's Day blog post.


            Plus, we searched WorldCat and located a number of resources related to Sonora Smart Dodd that might be relevant to your research. You may locate other useful information by searching historical newspapers like those available online from the Library of Congress Chronicling America website. 


            Finally, we suggest that you contact the Washington State Archives or organizations like the Spokane Public Library, the Spokane Historic Preservation Office, or Eastern Washington University’s Spokane Historical project to learn more about Sonora Smart Dodd and the founding of Father’s Day.


            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


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