Vintage Photos Show Touching Moments of Fathers Worldwide

These dads carried children on their shoulders, brought them along on trips to market, and shared moments of joy—much like fathers do today.

As the U.S. prepares to celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June, these photos of dads around the world show that a father’s love is universal.

Unlike Mother’s Day, which began to be widely observed in 1908 and was quickly recognized as an official national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, Father’s Day took several decades to be declared a national holiday. It was first celebrated in 1910 in Washington state but wasn’t officially recognized until 1972, when it was acknowledged by President Richard Nixon.

Studies have shown that beyond the ubiquitous parenting experiences of wiping away tears over a skinned knee or cheering on the sidelines of a sports game, dads can have specific and important impacts on the lives of their children.

Fathers who do their share of work at home can help shape their daughters' career goals. They can help their children learn to evaluate risk, solve problems, and learn limits more efficiently through creative rough-and-tumble play in a safe environment. And the foods they eat can even influence the health of their future children.

These photos from the National Geographic archives show fathers of decades past from many walks of life—rich and poor, urban and rural, young and old—all working to care for their children and lead by example.