Father's Day came about through the efforts of 27-year old Sonora Smart Dodd. While listening to a church sermon in 1909 about the new Mother's Day holiday, Dodd felt that fatherhood needed recognition and wanted a special day to honor all fathers, in memory of her own father, William Smart. A Civil War veteran, Smart was widowed when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child when Sonora was 16 years old. Smart raised the newborn and his other five children as a single parent on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.
The following year with the assistance of her pastor, Sonora took the idea to the Spokane YMCA. The YMCA and the Ministerial Alliance, endorsed her idea. Sonora had suggested that her father’s birthday, June 5, be established as the first Father’s Day. The pastors needed time to prepare, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, the third Sunday in June. Young YMCA members went to church wearing a red rose in honor of a living father, and a white rose to honor a deceased one.
In spite of support from the YWCA, YMCA, and churches, Father’s Day took years to become an official holiday.
- In 1913, Congress introduced a bill to accord national recognition of the holiday.
- In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day.
- In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day.
- In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the public law to establish a permanent national observance of Father's Day on the third Sunday of June.
These are some photos of Grenville’s father as a young boy, sailor, and young man shown with his sister.
These photos show Beatrice’s dad as a young man in formal attire at a wedding with his sister and then on his wedding day.