Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Teddy

According to the Dates in History website,
the first Teddy Bear was introduced in America
on February 15, 1903.

Image from Smithsonian Institute,
Original Michtom Teddy Bear

You may already know that the Teddy Bear was named after President Theodore Roosevelt.  But what is the rest of the story?

The Governors of the states of Mississippi and Louisiana invited President Roosevelt to visit their states in 1902 to arbitrate a dispute about the location of their common boundary.  Since the boundary was on undeveloped land and the President was an outdoorsman, he decided to combine a black-bear hunt with the trip.

After days of unsuccessful hunting for a trophy bear, some hunting companions found an old injured bear and tied it to a tree.  The President was invited to shoot the bear so that his reputation as a successful hunter could be reported by the press that accompanied the hunting party.  The President refused stating that he only took prey that had a sporting chance of defending themselves.

The event was documented in a series of political cartoons intended to demonstrate the President’s compassion.  In the cartoons, the image of the old bear was changed to show an image of a bear cub.

Morris Michtom saw that cartoon.  Morris operated a small shop in New York selling notions, candy and other small items.  His wife, Rose, sewed the toys sold in the shop.  Morris suggested to Rose that she sew a replica of the bear cub depicted in the cartoon.  Rose cut a piece of plush velvet into the shape of a bear and stuffed it, adding shoe buttons for eyes.  Morris placed it on display in the store’s window and labeled it “Teddy’s bear”.

The bears became so popular, the Michtom’s dedicated their full time to producing them.   This labor of love grew into the Ideal Toy Company.

The original bear created by Rose was given to the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt in 1963 by Benjamin Michtom, the son of Morris and Rose.  The Roosevelt family then donated the bear to the Smithsonian Institute.   

Until next time, live and love well.

Joining these lovely parties:
Bunny Jean's Bunny Hop
Ivy and Elephants What's It Wednesday

This forum reveals random thoughts and reflections on topics of interest and events impacting the life of the founder of Doll in the Looking Glass.  Our boutique specializes in custom designed dolls that look like your child. We also design toddler and baby dolls that look real using vinyl doll components manufactured in Midland, Michigan USA by Apple Valley Doll Works.  The goal of Doll in the Looking Glass is to delight our customers with our creations.


Bunny Jean said...

Hi Debra!

How interesting. I believe that I knew bits and pieces of the story but I enjoyed reading your post just the same.

Thanks for sharing this at my Bunny Hop! xoxo Bunny Jean

Ivy and Elephants said...

Oh, thanks for letting me know! I think I'll get my grandson a bear each year at Valentine's to start a tradition for him, (he's 7 months). Glad to have you link and share at WIW. We can't wait to see what you share next!

Red Rose Alley said...

That was so interesting. Do you know that me and the girls love teddy bears? My mom used to collect them, and when she passed away, all of us were handed down one of her bears. Every time my girls travel, they take their grandma's bear with them. I will have to send them on over to look at this post. The teddy bear is very special to me, and I thank you for sharing this with us.
~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

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