Woman Campaigned For 62 Years To Celebrate Dads On Father’s Day Holiday

by : Julia Banim on : 16 Jun 2019 17:48
Creator of Father's Day.Pexels

It’s Father’s Day and, for many people, it’s a time to celebrate dads with all their varied roles and forms.

For some people, this might not be their dad in the biological sense. They may be honouring a beloved stepdad or another father figure who they credit with having helped them become the adult they were meant to be.


For others, this may be a very difficult day; with their father perhaps having died or become estranged. However you are marking Father’s Day, there is no doubt this can be a very meaningful day, and a lovely opportunity to let dads know just how much they are valued.

And we have one doting daughter to thank for this special day, a woman by the name of Sonora Louise Smart Dodd.

Sonora was born February 18, 1882 in Arkansas, and was the daughter of American Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart and his wife Ellen Victoria Cheek Smart.


As reported by the National Geographic, Ellen sadly died when Sonora was just 16 years old, leaving William a widower and single parent to six children.

Sonora held her father in great esteem, and was determined to bring about a day of recognition for the importance of fatherhood in society. This would prove to be her lasting legacy.

Inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Sonora began petitioning for the very first Father’s Day, which she hoped would be celebrated on William’s own birthday in early June.


The devoted daughter persuaded several local church communities to get behind the petition, with the condition the date be moved to late June to allow greater preparation.

The rest, as they say, is history, with Sonora spending the next half century campaigning for Father’s Day, speaking all across the US. And her efforts paid off.

In 1970, US congress passed Joint Resolution 187, calling on citizens to ‘offer public and private expressions of such day to the abiding love and gratitude which they bear for their fathers’. Father’s Day was nationally recognised in 1972, and has become an important part of family life in the years since.


Although Father’s Day has been celebrated in Catholic Europe since the 14th century, it was only with Sonora’s hard work and love that it became popular in the US and other areas.

Happy Father’s Day to all the many brilliant dads out there. I hope you have all been treated to pub lunches and jumpers galore.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life, America


National Geographic
  1. National Geographic

    Enjoy Father's Day? Thank the woman who spent 62 years campaigning for it.