Many of us have loved a teddy bear.
Maybe we've even had more than one very special "teddy" in our lives. Here is the real story of how the teddy bear sprang into our hearts.
Nearly 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt, went on a bear hunt. He enjoyed nature and being out in the woods where animals lived. Because he was the President of the United States, the people organizing the hunt wanted to make sure the hunt was successful.
But after 3 days of walking and climbing and riding, no bears were found. Now what? The President's bear hunt would be a failure!
The next day the hunt guide and his hunting dogs finally found an old bear. The dogs and guide followed the bear for quite a distance until the bear was very, very tired. The dogs attacked and injured the old bear. The guides tied the bear to a tree and called for the President. Here was a bear for him to shoot!
President Roosevelt looked at the poor old bear and said "no!" No one would shoot this old bear for sport. That would not be right. However, the bear was injured and suffering. President Roosevelt ordered that the bear be put down to end its pain.
If you look at the first cartoon that was printed about the President's bear hunt you see Theodore Roosevelt in the front. In the back is the guide with a bear tied on a leash. Notice that the guide and the bear are about the same size, suggesting a grown bear.
that is how a bear became connected to the name of
President Theodore Roosevelt.
But where do toy "teddy bears" come from?
After this famous cartoon appeared in the papers, a shopkeeper, Morris Michtom took two stuffed toy bears which his wife had made and put them in his shop window. He had an idea.
Mr. Michtom asked for permission from President Theodore Roosevelt to call these toy bears "Teddy's bears". This store eventually became the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.
Other stuffed animals were made by a German company, Steiff. An illness left Margaret Steiff unable to walk. She refused to be stopped by her handicap and earned her living by sewing. First she made stuffed elephants, then other animals. In 1903 an American saw a stuffed bear she had made and ordered many of them.
The phrase caught on. Now toy bears are often called teddy bears!
Linda Mullins, The Teddy Bear Men: Theodore Roosevelt & Clifford Berryman, Historical Guide for Collectors, Hobby House Press, Inc, Cumberland, MD, 1987
Peggy & Alan Bialosky, Revised and Updated Edition,The Teddy Bear Catalog, Workman Publishing, NewYork, 1980
Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Harvard College Library, Cambridge, MA