The idea of Father’s Day was conceived by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm.
A day in June was chosen for the first Father’s Day celebration—June 19, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of William Smart’s birth.
The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
Some discoveries to ponder on Father's Day:
And some Father's Day numbers:
64 million: Estimated number of fathers in the United States today.
26.4 million: Fathers with children under 18 and wives in a family setting.
2.3 million: Number of single fathers with children under 18, up from 400,000 in 1970. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 18 percent are men.
105 million: The number of Father’s Day cards expected to be given this year in the United States, making Father’s Day the fourch-largest card-sending occasion.
50: Percentage of all Father’s Day cards that are purchased specifically by sons or daughters. Nearly 20 percent of Father’s Day cards are purchased by wives for their husbands; the remaining cards are bought for grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles and "someone special."
73: Percentage of Americans who plan to celebrate or acknowledge Father’s Day.
143,000: Estimated number of "stay-at-home" dads, defined as married fathers with children under 15 years old have remained out of the labor force for more than one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home.
32: Percentage of fathers who regularly worked evening or night shifts and were the primary source of care for their preschoolers during their children’s mother’s working hours.
4.6 million: Fathers who provide child support. All in all, 84 percent of child-support providers are men, who provide median payments of $3,600 annually.
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau; Hallmark