Teddy Bear History | Vermont Teddy Bear

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Teddy Bear History The Story of the First Teddy Bear


Everyone wants to claim credit for the first Teddy Bear. While the earliest stuffed bears date back to Germany, these unjointed bears resembled their real life counterparts standing on all fours and were referred to as bruins or simply bears.

Legend has it that the naming of the beloved Teddy Bear resulted from one of President Roosevelt's famous big game hunting trips. In 1902 Roosevelt traveled to Mississippi to settle a boundary dispute between the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. As he was an avid and accomplished hunter, his trip included a four-day bear hunt. During the entire time, he failed to shoot a single bear but other members of the party managed to capture a small bear cub. They tied it to a tree so the President could shoot and claim it as his own but Roosevelt refused, sparing its life.

A political cartoonist by the name of Clifford Berryman recorded the episode in a sketch entitled "Drawing the line in Mississippi" and published it to wide acclaim in The Washington Post. The sketch attracted so much national attention that the popular cartoonist hereafter included the appealing little bear character whenever he portrayed the President. But neither Berryman or Roosevelt ever referred to the Bear as "Teddy".

It took a Brooklyn shopkeeper by the name of Morris Mitchom to give the bear its moniker. Mitchom asked his wife Rose, a seamstress, to stitch a jointed bear to resemble Berryman's drawing and then showcased her creation in their shop window along with a sign that read "Teddy's Bear." The bear sold so quickly they couldn't make bears fast enough to meet demand. He wrote to President Roosevelt asking for permission to name his popular bear "Teddy" and the president is said to have agreed in a hand-written reply. On the success of their "Teddy Bear" design Morris and Rose launched the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company and with it, the American Teddy Bear was born -- and the rest is Teddy Bear history!

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