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Celebrating Fatherhood: The Virginian Roots of Father’s Day and Its Enduring Legacy

June 16, 2024

Our beloved state of Virginia is known for its rich history of individuals and events that have helped shape our great Nation. But did you know that the origin of Father’s Day is also attributed to a Virginian?

According to the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, “Kate Richardson Swineford of Drewry’s Bluff wanted to honor her father, Edward, in a special way. Even before the close of World War I, she began an effort to bring particular recognition to fathers, which led to her formation of the National Fathers’ Day Association in 1921.” Kate also wanted to establish a special day of recognition for Fathers. Gaining local support for her vision, and backed by Virginia governors Westmoreland Davis and E. Lee Trinkle, in 1933 she successfully obtained the trademark status for Fathers’ Day from the United States Patent Office.

In a world that is diminishing the importance of fatherhood, we, like Kate, must continue to honor and celebrate fathers, paternal bonds, and the impact fathers have on society. From our nation’s great heroes to a family’s guide and protector, a father’s influence is immeasurable.

One of our great Virginian Founding Fathers, also known as the “Father of the Declaration of Independence,” Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.”

Will Rogers, Jr., American politician, writer, and newspaper publisher, commented on fatherhood, “His heritage to his children wasn’t words or possessions, but an unspoken treasure, the treasure of his example as a man and father.”

As we at the Virginia Institute strive to uphold the principles of virtue, integrity and liberty this Nation was founded upon, we reflect with gratitude the “treasured examples” that have come before.

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