Teddy Bear Day

National Teddy Bear Day is always celebrated on September 9th.

Since the creation of the first teddy bears, which sought to imitate the form of real bear cubs, “teddies” have greatly varied in form, style and material. They have become collector’s items, with older and rarer “teddies” appearing at public auctions. Teddy bears are among the most popular gifts for children and are often given to adults to signify love, congratulations or sympathy.

The name Teddy Bear comes from former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, who was commonly known as “Teddy” (though he loathed being referred to as such). The name originated from an incident on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902.

After three days of hunting with the Governor of Mississippi, Roosevelt was the only member of the hunting party not to have spotted a bear. So the trip would not be a failure for him, guides tracked down an old black bear the dogs had trailed and attacked. They then tied the bear to a tree and called for the President.

But Roosevelt took one look at the bear and refused to shoot it, feeling it would be unsportsmanlike. He did, however, order that the bear be put down because it was suffering. Word of this hit newspapers across the country and political cartoonist Clifford Berryman picked up the story, drawing a cartoon showing how the President refused to shoot the bear while hunting.

The original cartoon shows a small bear cub. It later appeared in other cartoons Berryman drew throughout Roosevelt’s career, connecting bears with President Roosevelt. A New York candy shop owner saw Berryman’s original cartoon and had an idea. He put in his shop window two stuffed toy bears his wife had made. He asked permission from President Roosevelt to call these toy bears “Teddy’s bears.” The rapid popularity of these bears led the man to mass-produce them, eventually forming the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company eventually becoming the Ideal Toy Company it is today.

At about the same time, a German company, Steiff, started making stuffed bears. In 1903 an American saw a stuffed bear Margaret Steiff had made and ordered many of them. These bears, which also came to be called Teddy Bears, made the international connection.  (from me, Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)