Father’s Day was founded in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. Its first celebration was in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who reared his six children . After hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them.  Americans resisted the holiday, perceiving it as just an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother’s Day. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “[singling] out just one of our two parents”.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.