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The Archivist: Father's Day invented to share tender words with Dad

Mary Phillips: Mary Phillips delves into the archives of The Oklahoman to find stories of historical interest.
BY Mary Phillips Published: June 10, 2013

Sunday will be the 102nd anniversary of Father's Day.

This excerpt of the article, with the dateline Spokane, Wash., June 14, appeared in The Oklahoman on Father's Day, Sunday, June 15, 1952.

“The woman who founded Father's Day suggests an ideal observance tomorrow should include family attendance at church, a little gift for the man of the house, and especially ‘some tender words you've longed to say' to dad.

“It's the formula Mrs. John Bruce Dodd had in mind back in 1910 when she first got the idea for a Father's Day.

“Mrs. Dodd thinks the ‘tender words' are very important to Father's Day.

“‘Father is so deserving but children are often reluctant and even ashamed to say the things they feel in their heart toward him. On the one day, at least, they should let their tender words come out.'

“This is the 42nd anniversary of her idea, the product of a Mother's Day sermon in 1910.

“I listened to the pastor extol motherhood,” she recalls, “and when the service was over I suggested to him that something should be done about a Father's Day. He agreed.”

“Mrs. Dodd sold the idea to the Spokane Ministerial Association, to the City Council and then the governor. It went on from there.”

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the proclamation recognizing the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.

Mrs. Dodd received many honors during her lifetime and died at age 96 in 1978.

I wish I could speak ‘tender words' to my daddy, Nelson W. Young, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday June 1.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers past and present.

Read “The Archivist” online at


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