Hug a Bear Day
Today does not call upon you to go running out into the wood to find a big black bear to hug. Today is all about that soft fluffy childhood toy that many of us had, called the Teddy Bear.
The History of the Teddy Bear
So the story goes that on on November 14 in 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt went on a hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi with some friends. They happened upon a baby bear. Some stories say that one of their assistants tied it to a tree for him to shoot as he was the only one of the crew that had not shot a bear that day. Feeling bad and feeling this was unsportsmanlike he refused to shoot it. His friends in turn teased him about being so soft.
The story was leaked to Washington Post and they published a cartoon by Clifford Berryman, a political cartoonist, satiring the situation where he would not shoot the bear. [See the cartoon here.] Morris Michtom, a Brooklyn candy shop owner, saw the cartoon and he and his wife Rose decided to create a stuffed toy bear and dedicate it to the president who refused to shoot a bear. He called it ‘Teddy’s Bear’ with Roosevelt’s permission.
The teddy bear became really popular and the Michtoms founded a toy store named Ideal Toy Company.
Teddy Bear Trivia
- Jackie Miley, from Hilly City, South Dakota has the world’s biggest teddy bear collection, totaling 8,026 bear friends in 2012. You can take a tour of her collection here.
- The official term for a teddy bear collector is an ‘arctophile’.
- The largest teddy bear in the world is in Mexico and measures 63 ft 8 in in length, and was constructed by Municipio de Xonacatlán.
- The first “stuffed bear” was made by German seamstress Margarete Steiff’s nephew Richard, around the same time as the the “Teddy Bear” was being made by the Michtums in the US, who modeled it after real-life bears that he’d sketched at the zoo.
- The most famous teddy bear with teddy bear collectors are the Steiff Teddy Bears from Germany. Made with Mohair, a yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat and a trademark button in one of the ears.
- Made in 2000, Steiff joined the fashion luxury brand Louis Vuitton to make the world’s most expensive Teddy bear which will cost you $2.1 million.
- The character Winnie the Pooh was really inspired by a real bear. Author Lindsay Mattick revealed that back in 1914, a Canadian veterinarian named Lt. Harry Colebourn bought a bear for $20 while he was serving in WWI. He named his bear Winnie, after his native Winnipeg. For awhile the bear was a mascot for the regiment while he was stationed in England. But when the soldier had to leave for France, he left Winnie at the London Zoo. When Winnie the Pooh author A. A. Milne’s son saw the bear at the zoo, he named his own plush bear after him, thus creating Milne’s character for his storybooks.
- Other famous teddy bears are Teddy Ruxpin, Care Bears, Paddington Bear, Vermont Teddy Bears and Build-a-Bears.