The tale of ‘Teddy’

Have you ever wondered why that beloved stuffed animal is called ‘teddy’? It all began after the late US President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt refused to shoot a defenseless bear.

Over the invitation of Mississippi’s Governor Andrew Longino, Roosevelt went on a Mississippi hunting trip in November 1902. When tracking and locating a bear seemed likely to be fruitless, his hosts clubbed a bear and tied it to a tree then invited the president to shoot it. Viewing this as extremely unsportsmanlike, Roosevelt, an avid outdoorsman and hunter, declined.

News of this event spread quickly through newspaper articles across the country and was depicted in a popular political cartoon by Clifford Berryman. Inspired by the cartoon, Brooklyn, New York, shopkeeper Morris Michtom and his wife Rose made a stuffed fabric bear in honor of America’s 26th commander-in-chief.

TEDDY bears have never lost their popularity.

They displayed it in their store window with the sign “Teddy’s bear,” which drew attention from passersby. After reportedly receiving Roosevelt’s permission to use his name for their creation, the Michtoms went on to start a successful company that manufactured teddy bears and other toys.

At about the same time, a German company founded in 1880 by seamstress Margarete Steiff began making a plush bear of its own. A buyer for a US toy company placed a large order for the stuffed creatures, and Steiff bears quickly became popular and helped drive an international teddy bear craze.

More than a century later, teddy bears have never lost popularity, and all can be traced to that one hunting trip in Mississippi.

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