There are many ways to describe a dad. We are thoroughly taken with the idea of a “common wild weed” that has “ragged edges”. In his exquisite book, Consumer Rites, Leigh E Schmidt(1995) noted that the dandelion may be “the best flower to commemorate” dear ol’ dad b/c “the more [he’s] trampled on, the more [he] grows”. While there are competing stories about the founding of F-Day, we feel comfortable in stating that the honor goes to Grace Golden Clayton. After she listened to a M-Day sermon in May 1908, she “arranged” for the 1st Dad’s Day church service in Fairmont, WV on 7/5/1908. Having given this “Golden Girl” her due credit, we must quickly seque to the F-Day champion, Sonora Smart Dodd (SSD), who also was inspired by a M-Day sermon. By 1909 M-Day had made the cross country trip from WV to Spokane, WA. She heard the sermon and immediately began advocating on behalf of a nat’l F-Day. SSD had been reared by her father with her younger 5 bros. Her mom had died in childbirth when SSD was ONLY 16 yrs old. Her dad (Sgt Wm Jackson Smart a Civil War vet) moved his family from AR to WA to raise his kids on a farm. THX to her, Spokane officially celebrated F-Day #1 on 6/19/1910.



Unlike M-Day that found many oases of opportunities wherever it landed in the US, F-Day was more like a tumble weed that blew throughout the desert. It took many, many yrs b-4 it really rooted. By the end of the 19teens there was little evidence of Dodd’s Day. The 1920s added little impetus to it. Even in Spokane there was a sermon here and there as SSD sought her life as a poet and painter at the Art Institute of Chicago. As F-Day ripened into 25 yrs (1935), it had been misused and abused. Christianity wanted it to be religious & for it to sell sobriety; women’s movements wanted it to be a mini-MomsDay (and dads be mini-moms), AND some retailers wanted to feminize it (with flowers, bows & love laden lyrics) where others wanted to retail tobacco, shirts, ties, etc. Greeting card makers and comedians struggled b/t F-Day being a fiasco, a farce or a time for family bonding and bliss. (Even today that same struggle exists.)



T-1: The Laudables & the Laughables of M-Day & F-Day Acceptance

M-Day F-Day
Founder Anna Jarvis 5/14/08 Sonora Smart Dodd 6/19/1910
Prez Proclamation Woodrow Wilson 1914 Lindon Baines Johnson 1966
Into Law Woodrow Wilson 1914 Ricarch M Nixon 1972


No less than M-Day matriarch Anna Jarvis dissed F-Day from the start calling it a “plot of…  neck-tie, tobacco [&] whiskey promoters”. M-Day/F-Day acceptance histories dated above, strongly infer F-Day’s probs. ANYQUESTIONS?

In the early 1930s SSD re-Spokaned to prepare F-Day for its Silver Anniversary. While retailers spun groups (Father’s Day Committee & Father’s Day Council) to commercialize it into a 2nd Xmas, or at least another M-Day, neither one EVER happened. Nonetheless, by 1937 $1M was being spent on F-Day advertising with about 1 in 6 (17%) dads being celebrated on F-Day. By 1949 the Fr Day Council estimated F-Day sales at $106M. By 1972 F-Day was assessed as being a $1B biz. Today, 75% of all dads celebrate with spending b/t $12B to $13B in their

honor. At the end whether DANDELION, TUMBLEWEED, ROSE OR THORNS F-Day has certainly bloomed!

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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