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History Of The Teddy Bear

Updated on October 22, 2011

The Teddy Bear. We all love it! But have you ever wondered just how the teddy bear came into being? How did the idea come in and how was it included into the range of felt items? Well, here is what history goes like.

Most people believe that the former American president, Theodore Roosevelt, created it. Now that is an absolutely hilarious idea. What exactly happened, as the tale goes, was that Roosevelt went to Mississippi where his hosts invited him to hunt. The hunting was so poor that in the end a baby bear was brought to Theodore so that he could shoot it there and then.

However, Roosevelt refused to kill the helpless little creature. The incident was captured in a cartoon by the inspired Clifford Berryman, entitled Drawing the line in Mississippi.

This then was where the idea of the ‘Teddy' came in. It is believed that the name ‘Teddy' was given in honour of President Theodore Roosevelt. This belief seems to be true because, soon after the cartoon was made, it was printed in The Washington Post in 1902 and gained popularity immediately. It became so popular that the president was presented a few; a family named the Mitchoms also displayed it in their stationary shop, thereby naming it the Teddy Bear!

Meanwhile, Margaret steiff of Germany sold hand-made felt items such as donkeys, monkeys and elephants. She had spotted a picture of Teddy (then just an ordinary bear cub) in 1892, and by 1894 Richard Fritz whose aunt was Margaret, had started receiving orders for toy teddy bears. In 1904, the ‘steiff bear' had won them numerous gold medals as well as a Grand Prix Award.

And after the incident with president Roosevelt, it was as if people had become mesmerized by the cute little ‘stuffed toy' and it was so much in demand, that the Mitchoms began selling it in their newly formed toy store ‘the ideal novelty and toy company' and steiff had sold around a million teddy bears to different countries around the world.

This, then, is the history of the teddy bear, which has today become one of the most popular and most loved toys around the world - if not the best. So much so, that every year September 9 is celebrated as ‘Teddy Bear Day' across the world. (In case you did not know that, make sure next time you celebrate it).


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      Deb 8 years ago

      Just a note that the name of the people who created Teddy's Bears was Morris and Rose Michtom. It is spelled wrong in your article. Also, it was a candy shop and become a toy store after the bear business took over the candy business.