Re­tail Helped Shape Fa­ther’s Day

Riverbank News - - 209 LIVING -

Fa­ther’s Day ar­rives the third Sun­day in June and presents a spe­cial way to show the fa­thers in one’s life how much they are cher­ished. Peo­ple shower dads with gifts but may not know just how Fa­ther’s Day came to be. The con­cept of Fa­ther’s Day was in­spired by Mother’s Day celebrations and was ini­ti­ated by a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, who wanted to do some­thing to honor her sin­gle fa­ther. The con­cept of Fa­ther’s Day was slow to take root. How­ever, the re­tail in­dus­try helped pro­pel Fa­ther’s Day to a na­tional holiday. In the early days of Fa­ther’s Day, Dodd worked with her lo­cal YMCA and lo­cal churches to adopt what was sup­posed to be a re­li­giously in­flu­enced holiday. But in the early 1900s, dads did not nec­es­sar­ily have the same hands-on role that many fa­thers have to­day. Car­toons pub­lished in news­pa­pers, such as the Wash­ing­ton Star in 1913, por­trayed Dad as the bread­win­ner and a dis­tant fel­low who wasn’t as in­volved as his wife in day- to- day in­ter­ac­tion with his chil­dren. A 1915 is­sue of the St. Johns Her­ald and Apache News from Ari­zona joked that fa­thers prob­a­bly didn’t want an­other holiday and would be more content to drink, smoke and sleep in late. Dodd and oth­ers re­al­ized that mar­ket- ing would be key to the suc­cess of Fa­ther’s Day. Cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, peo­ple who made to­bacco and other mer­chants of prod­ucts made for men found Fa­ther’s Day a way to sell mer­chan­dise. It just took a while for them to come around. A Fa­ther’s Day Coun­cil was started in the 1930s and was pro­pelled by a group called the New York As­so­ci­ated Menswear Re­tail­ers. Many peo­ple joke that, be­cause neck­ties are so of­ten given on Fa­ther’s Day, the neck­tie in­dus­try must’ve had a hand in en­dors­ing Fa­ther’s Day. And there is truth to that. The coun­cil was re­spon­si­ble for sell­ing shirts, hats and, of course, neck­ties. In 1938, the Na­tional Coun­cil for the Pro­mo­tion of Fa­ther’s Day was formed, pri­mar­ily due to poor menswear re­tail sales. Dry goods, cloth­ing and to­bacco as­so­ci­a­tions help pro­mote Fa­ther’s Day, and after they held a ‘ Fa­ther’s Day Sports Day’ pa­rade in 1941, Fa­ther’s Day sales in­creased, and the holiday be­came more pop­u­lar.

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