Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Teddy Bear

Did you know that the "Teddy Bear" is named after Theodore Roosevelt? I just found that out after visiting the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota - the Badlands of North Dakota. It is so beautiful there. (Pictures to follow.) I ask you - can you imagine living before the Teddy Bear? What would life have been like before the Teddy Bear?

And, I almost got to find out what life was like before showers, as there were no showers in the campground where I was staying. Now this girl loves to camp in a tent under the stars, but she has to have a shower every day!!!!!!!!!

So, I went looking and found one - in a city pool in the town of Medora next to the national park.

History of the Teddy Bear......from Wikipedia

The name Teddy Bear comes from former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was "Teddy". The name originated from an incident on a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902, to which Roosevelt was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino.

There were several other hunters competing, and most of them had already shot something. A suite of Roosevelt's attendants, led by Holt Collier, cornered, clubbed, and tied an American Black Bear to a willow tree after a long exhausting chase with hounds. They called Roosevelt to the site and suggested that he should shoot it. He refused to shoot the bear himself, deeming this unsportsmanlike, but instructed that the bear be killed to put it out of its misery, and it became the topic of a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902.

While the initial cartoon of an adult black bear lassoed by a white handler and a disgusted Roosevelt had symbolic overtones, later issues of that and other Berryman cartoons made the bear smaller and cuter.

Morris Michtom saw the drawing of Roosevelt and the bear cub and was inspired to create a new toy. He created a little stuffed bear cub and put it in his shop window with a sign that read "Teddy's bear," after sending the bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to sell the bears. The toys were an immediate success and Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co., which still exists today.

At the same time, in Germany the Steiff firm, unaware of Michtom's bear, produced a stuffed bear from Richard Steiff's designs. They exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903 and exported 3000 to the United States.

By 1906 manufacturers other than Michtom and Steiff had joined in and the craze for Teddy Bears was such that ladies carried them everywhere, children were photographed with them, and Roosevelt used one as a mascot in his bid for re-election.

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