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StoryCorps Highlight: Happy Father's Day!

June 10, 2023


StoryCorps is an American non-profit organization whose mission is to record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs. In 2007-08, StoryCorps operated a recording booth inside NPL’s Main Library. I had the honor of serving as an interview facilitator at the Nashville booth, and I’m writing this blog series to highlight some of our community members’ interviews.

Here's to the Dads!

Surprised that the third Sunday in June is almost upon us? Me too! With the third Sunday in June comes, of course, Father's Day, the day we show our dads how much they mean to us. For those whose dads are no longer with us or are absent from their lives, this can be a painful holiday, so it's important to remember we all have different family stories and each is beautiful in its own way. Maybe you have someone who acted as a father figure in your life, or is a father figure in your "chosen family" -- today's their day too, and they'll love to hear you share how much they mean to you. 

To kick things off, let's hear a couple of Nashville StoryCorps interviews in which the storytellers remember their own fathers. 

Chris Hathaway StoryCorps Interview

A Black man and white woman smiling next to each other against white backdrop
Christopher Hathaway and StoryCorps Facilitator Cynthia Murphy

Nora Grasser StoryCorps Interview

Two white women smiling next to each other against white backdrop
Sisters Nora Grasser and Mary Grace Schulz

How Did Father's Day Begin?

As with many holidays, stories vary as to the origin of Father's Day. According to,

"Credit for originating the holiday is generally given to Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, whose father, a Civil War veteran, raised her and her five siblings after their mother died in childbirth. She is said to have had the idea in 1909 while listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day, which at the time was becoming established as a holiday. Local religious leaders supported the idea, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, the month of the birthday of Dodd’s father. In 1924 U.S. Pres. Calvin Coolidge gave his support to the observance, and in 1966 Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson issued a proclamation that recognized the day. It became a national holiday in 1972, when Pres. Richard Nixon signed legislation designating the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day."

However, other sources say Father's Day started in 1908 in West Virginia (my home state!), which, incidentally, some sources say is also where Anna Jarvis founded Mother's Day, also in 1908. West Virginian Grace Golden Clayton is said to have proposed a service to honor all fathers after a deadly mining accident in the state killed hundreds of men that year. 

Regardless of its origins, Father's Day is here to stay as a major national holiday. 

Did You Know?

In Taiwan, Father's Day is celebrated on August 8th. This is because the Chinese word for eight is 'ba', and a term for father is 'ba-ba' - so the eighth day of the eighth month sounds a lot like 'daddy'. 

Gifts From the Heart

This year for Father's Day, instead of going the commercial route, consider giving your father or father figure a gift from the heart. Maybe a handmade card with some words about what he means to you and things you're especially thankful for about him. Parents always love a handmade gift, so consider attending one of the many crafty programs at NPL for children, teens, and adults to make a one-of-a-kind Father's Day gift. Visit our calendar of craft-themed events to find a program near you. 

If you're not familiar with StoryCorps' short animations of select interview excerpts, here's a Father's Day animation that's sure to give you all the feels.

Here's to the dads!

Want Some Dad-Themed Books? Read On!



Kate is on the Shared Systems team at NPL, supporting Limitless Libraries and MNPS school librarians. She is passionate about all things sustainability, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading, caring for her backyard chickens, hiking, and spending as much time as possible outside.