Father’s Day arrives the third Sunday in
June and presents a special way to show the fathers in one’s life how much they
are cherished. People shower dads with gifts but may not know just how Father’s
Day came to be.
The concept of Father’s Day was inspired
by Mother’s Day celebrations and was initiated by a woman named Sonora Smart
Dodd, who wanted to do something to honor her single father. The concept of
Father’s Day was slow to take root. However, the retail industry helped propel
Father’s Day to a national holiday.
In the early days of Father’s Day, Dodd
worked with her local YMCA and local churches to adopt what was supposed to be
a religiously influenced holiday. But in the early 1900s, dads did not necessarily
have the same hands-on role that many fathers have today. Cartoons published in
newspapers, such as the Washington Star in 1913, portrayed Dad as the
breadwinner and a distant fellow who wasn’t as involved as his wife in
day-to-day interaction with his children. A 1915 issue of the St. Johns Herald
and Apache News from Arizona joked that fathers probably didn’t want another
holiday and would be more content to drink, smoke and sleep in late. Dodd and
others realized that marketing would be key to the success of Father’s Day.
Clothing manufacturers, people who made
tobacco and other merchants of products made for men found Father’s Day a way
to sell merchandise. It just took a while for them to come around.
A Father’s Day Council was started in
the 1930s and was propelled by a group called the New York Associated Menswear
Retailers. Many people joke that, because neckties are so often given on
Father’s Day, the necktie industry must’ve had a hand in endorsing Father’s
Day. And there is truth to that. The council was responsible for selling
shirts, hats and, of course, neckties.
In 1938, the National Council for the
Promotion of Father’s Day was formed, primarily due to poor menswear retail
sales. Dry goods, clothing and tobacco associations help promote Father’s Day,
and after they held a ‘Father’s Day Sports Day’ parade in 1941, Father’s Day
sales increased, and the holiday became more popular.