Father’s Day: Two Points of Origin.
Father’s Day originated in the town of Spokane, Washington, in 1909, though it was actually celebrated for the first time a year earlier. This perhaps makes Father’s Day the only major American holiday to have two completely different origins, coming from opposite ends of the country.
The true beginning of Father’s Day can be attributed to Doctor Robert Webb, a minister at the Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont, West Virginia. On July 5th, 1908, Dr. Webb delivered a sermon based upon the idea of the importance of fathers. If mothers were important enough to have their own holiday, Webb believed, then surely we could afford fathers that same sort of appreciation.
Though Webb may have had the idea first, it wasn’t until a year later in Spokane that Sonora Smart Dodd actually put a name to it. Ms. Smart, while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon delivered at her church, began to reflect on how in her life, her father had been a much more influential figure than had her mother. She believed a “Father’s Day” was in order, to honor our fathers just as we already did our mothers on Mother’s Day.
Most other holidays we celebrate have a single point of origin or influence. But Father’s Day is unique, in that it took two people, a thousand miles and a year apart, to think of the idea independently of one another.