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The Story of the Teddy Bear

Everyone likes a cute teddy bear no matter how old you are…but where did the idea of the teddy bear come from?

Did you know that the Teddy Bear was invented in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt? The idea actually came out of a bear hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi. On November 14, 1902, the Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino invited President Roosevelt to join his hunting group.

As the hunting experience was coming to an end, Roosevelt was the only member of the group who had not found a single bear. As a result, Roosevelt’s assistants along with Holt Collier, cornered a black bear and tied it to a willow tree. They asked Roosevelt to come over and shoot the tied up bear. Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear because he felt that it was unsportsmanlike. He said, “I’ve hunted game all over America and I’m proud to be a hunter. But I couldn’t be proud of myself if I shot an old, tired, worn-out bear that was tied to a tree.”

The Media Loved It

Teddy Bear & Girl - New Orleans Local

The news of this ‘lack of shooting’ event spread throughout the country and was in every newspaper. Basically, Theodore Roosevelt, the big game hunter, refused to shoot a bear.  The headline in the Washington Post was “PRESIDENT CALLED AFTER THE BEAST HAD BEEN LASSOED, BUT HE REFUSED TO MAKE AN UNSPORTSMANLIKE SHOT.” Political cartoonist for the Washington Star, Clifford Berryman, was inspired to play fun at the story and created a cartoon that depicted the bear to look like a stuffed animal with big cute ears.

Morris Michtom, a Brooklyn candy shop owner, saw the cartoon and decided to create a stuffed toy bear and named it “Teddy’s Bear.” Before making additional bears, Morris Michtom wrote to Roosevelt to ask his permission to make a small bear cub and call it “Teddy’s Bear.” His son, Benjamin Michtom, said that although Roosevelt agreed to lend his name to the new invention he doubted it would ever amount to much in the toy business. In 1903, the Ideal Toy Company was born and soon became a multi million-dollar business.

From that day forward, the Teddy Bear is still one of the most popular gifts to give to loved ones.

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