Friday, June 19, 2009
A Day Belonging to Father
Father's Day is this Sunday and was developed to complement Mother's Day, by honoring men's role in parenting.
This photo of the David Minto family of Millburn was taken about 1898, a full ten years before the first observance of Father's Day was celebrated in a church in West Virginia. The photo shows David sitting prominently in a rocking chair with his wife, daughters, son, and relations around him.
The YMCA and many churches pushed to legitimize the holiday, and a bill was introduced to Congress in 1913, but Father's Day failed to gain national support. This photo of Gordon Ray and his father, George Ray, of Diamond Lake was taken in 1913. They had just returned from hunting mud hens and it appears that George is crowing over their bounty.
Many viewed the idea of Father's Day as simply a promotional tool for companies to profit by selling more cards and gifts, similar to how Grandparent's Day and Secretary's Day are viewed today. Whereas Mother's Day had centuries of tradition surrounding it, having been celebrated in England as "Mothering Sunday" for hundreds of years, and in the United States from the 1870s. Mother's Day gained official status by the Federal Government in 1914.
On July 14, 1952, five-star General Dwight D. Eisenhower visited the family of his son, Major John Eisenhower, who was stationed at Fort Sheridan. Eisenhower is seen here with his grandson, David. In 1953, Eisenhower became the 34th President of the United States, winning on a slogan of "We like Ike."
In 1966, Father's Day finally got the respect it deserves when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation making it a federal holiday.