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The idea of Father’s Day was conceived slightly more than a century ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.

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 — 100 years ago, June 19, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of Smart’s birth.

According to the U.S. Census, 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.

67.8 million
Estimated number of fathers across the nation.

1.7 million
Number of single fathers in 2009; 15 percent of single parents were men.

158,000
Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2009. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home. These fathers cared for 290,000 children. Among these stay-at-home dads, 59 percent had two or more children, and 57 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

Photo by theophine.

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Originally posted by Rich Whittle on June 19, 2010 in Ideas.

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