From Theodore Roosevelt to the Leipzig Toy Fair, the History of the Teddy Bear

Theodore Roosevelt’s affinity for the great outdoors is well documented.

A godfather of the U.S. National Parks Systems, the 26th president is synonymous with regal statesmanship, dogged conservationism and…the Teddy Bear!

The story of the Teddy Bear originated in November of 1902, when President Roosevelt, on a hunt in Missouri, refused to shoot a bear that had been wounded and tied to a tree.

The issue divided the public (politics were different in the early 1900s).

Amid the fallout was a political cartoon depicting the incident by the Washington Post’s cartoonist Clifford Berryman, that went viral as best you can in 1902.

Jewish immigrant and stuffed animal maker Morris Michton drew inspiration from the cartoon and created a plush version of the cub, which he then sold in his Brooklyn shop among tremendous popularity.

And thus the Teddy Bear was born. Side note, Roosevelt loathed the name “Teddy.” Today you’ll find one in the Smithsonian Museum. See it here on hobbyDB! Then check out some great Theodore Roosevelt collectibles here!

Michton would go on to establish the Ideal Toy Company, one of the country’s biggest plush toy makers.


55 PP, The Steiff Bear

Around the same time, German plush toy maker Steiff was creating their very own “teddy” bear, which became known as the (not so inspiring) “55 PP.” Steiff debuted the bear at the 1903 Leipzig Toy Fair, procuring a 3,000 order in the process.

Unfortunately, there is no record of the shipment ever reaching the United States and none of those bears are known to exist. Steiff later recreated the bear, which now sits in its museum in Giengen, Germany.

See it here on hobbyDB!

Do you have a favorite Teddy Bear? Tell us in the comments below!

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