The very first celebration of Father’s Day
was on June 19, 1910, at a YMCA in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd had watched her father single-handedly raise six children. After hearing a sermon about the virtues of Mother’s Day, Dodd approached her pastor and suggested a comparable holiday for fathers. Her pastor agreed and set the date
for the third Sunday in June.

Father’s Day became an annual observance
in Spokane, but once Dodd left home to attend school at the Art Institute of Chicago, the holiday was quickly forgotten. Upon her return to Spokane, Dodd embarked upon a crusade
to recognize Father’s Day on a national level. She sought the help of trade groups that would benefit from such a holiday: tie and tobacco pipe manufacturers. The New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers group even founded a Father’s Day Council to promote the holiday. Decades passed, and members of the U.S. Congress resisted founding a national holiday.
It wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon made Father’s Day a permanent national holiday by signing it into law.