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How The Teddy Bear Came To Be

By Edited Feb 12, 2016 0 1

Remember the Tickle Elmo craze or more recently the Zhu Zhu hamsters? It happens every year, especially around Christmas time. The latest and greatest toy hits the market and then fades away. There is, however, one toy that has lasted the test of time, the teddy bear.

Recently, my son came home from school and asked me if I knew where the name "Teddy Bear" came from, I responded "Of course I do, it is named after Teddy Roosevelt." but I was ashamed to admit that was all I knew about the subject. He went on to tell me the story but coming from a 7 year old it just didn't make much sense so I decided to look it up and see exactly how the teddy bear came to be.

Teddy Bear

In November of 1902 there was a boundary dispute between Mississippi and Louisiana. Our then President, Theodore Roosevelt was tasked with settling the dispute. A political trip to the area in question was arranged that included a hunting excursion for the president.

President Roosevelt was an avid hunter, but was unable to find any suitable game on the day of the trip. In an effort to please the president, his staff went out and captured a Louisiana black bear cub and tied it a tree. An upstanding, accomplished game hunter, President Roosevelt was appalled at the idea of shooting the cub helplessly tied up. He ordered his staff to set it free.

Soon after, a famous political cartoonist for the Washington Star, Clifford Berryman, drew a cartoon of the incident. He titled the cartoon "Drawing The Line in Mississippi". The cartoon depicted the President having the furry, cute, cub set free, using it as a metaphor for the way the President handled the boundary dispute.

Morris Michtom, a Brooklyn toy store owner, saw the cartoon in the paper and was inspired. He cut it out and placed it in the window next to a hand sewn bear his wife had made. He found himself to be an instant success as customers lined up to purchase one of his bears.

Mr. Michtom made a request to the President to use his name for the stuffed bears, and thus the "Teddy Bear" was born. They were produced by the thousands. The profits were so immense that the Michtom's went on to use them to form the Ideal Toy Company.

The "Teddy Bear" has since been a part of our American heritage and continues to bring joy to children and adults alike.



Jan 24, 2011 8:11pm
this is so cool! I had no idea. Good job!
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