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1. Who inspired the first Teddy Bear?
2. What was the name of Morris Michtom's company?
3. What is the history of the Steiff jointed bear?
4. When was the teddy bear first called a "Teddy Bear?"
5. Why is the Teddy Bear so popular?
6. Why do we love our Teddy Bears so much?
7. How did Winnie-the-Pooh start?


1. Who inspired the first Teddy Bear?
President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt inspired the first Teddy Bear.

Although the Steiff Company in Germany produced a jointed stuffed bear in 1902, the First Teddy Bear was made by Rose and Morris Michtom with the influence of Teddy Roosevelt and Clifford Berryman. Here's why:

On November 14, 1902, then-President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt went to Mississippi to settle a border dispute between Mississippi and Louisiana. While there, he went on a hunting trip. The other members of the hunting party tied a black bear cub to a tree for President Roosevelt to shoot, but Roosevelt refused to harm the defenseless bear. The next day, political cartoonist Clifford Berryman, drew a cartoon showing President Roosevelt refusing to hurt the helpless bear. The cartoon's caption "Drawing the Line in Mississippi" refers to both the border dispute settlement and the hunting incident.

This cartoon sparked the imagination of the country and of a shopkeeper in Brooklyn, New York. The shopkeeper, Morris Michtom, asked his wife, Rose, to make two plush stuffed bears for display in his shop's window. The popularity of the plush bears stuffed with excelsior and adorned with black shoe buttons for eyes quickly captivated the nation.

To combine the stuffed bear phenomenon with Teddy Roosevelt, Morris Michtom asked the president for permission to call these stuffed bears "Teddy's Bear." Roosevelt said yes, and the Teddy Bear was born.

You may ask, "Wouldn't there still be stuffed bears without Roosevelt, Berryman, and the Michtoms?" And the answer is yes. If Roosevelt had not refused to shoot the innocent bear cub, if Berryman had not drawn the cartoon, if the Michtoms had not displayed the stuffed bears, if the Michtoms had not asked permission to call them "Teddy's Bear," or if Roosevelt had not granted permission, there would still be stuffed bears.

However, these stuffed bears would not be Teddy Bears. They may have been stuffed bears, jointed bears, German bears, Giengen bears, or even Leipzid Trade Fair bears, but they would not be known as Teddy Bears -- a name that is as synonymous with our nation's culture as baseball and apple pie.

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2. What was the name of Morris Michtom's company?
Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

Morris Michtom was a shopkeeper in Brooklyn, New York. In 1902, he and his wife, Rose, made two stuffed bears called "Teddy's Bear" named after then-President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. The "Teddy's Bear" trend took off, and the Michtom store became the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

Did you know the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company changed its name to the Ideal Toy Company in 1938?

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3. What is the history of the Steiff jointed bear?
At the same time the Michtoms were making their "Teddy's Bear" in 1902, the Steiff Company of Giengen was producing its jointed bear in Germany. Both the Michtoms and the Steiff Company were making stuffed bears at the same time independent of each other.

The Steiff Company was a toy company owned by Margarete Steiff. It has been making toys since 1880.

Margarete Steiff's nephew was Richard Steiff. After seeing performing bears at a touring American circus, Richard had an idea to make a toy bear standing upright. Until that time, toy bears were made standing on all four legs. Richard was a former art student, and he went to the Stuggart Zoo to sketch pictures of bears and bear cubs for the new design of the bear toy.

In 1902, Ms. Steiff used her nephew's drawings to make Steiff's new bear toy. It was jointed like dolls, stood on two feet, and could walk upright. Did you know the Steiff bears were the first jointed bears?

With their humped back and long snout, the Steiff bears looked more like a real bear cub than the "Teddy's Bear" designed by the Michtoms.

In 1903, the Steiff Company introduced its jointed bear at the Leipzig Trade Fair. While European buyers passed by the bear without notice, an American buyer expressed much interest in the bear. The American buyer, knowing about the recent trend of "Teddy's Bear" in the United States, placed an order for 3,000 Steiff bears. By the end of the year, this order rose to 12,000 bears.

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4. When was the teddy bear first called a "Teddy Bear?"
We know the stuffed bear began when the Michtoms of Brooklyn, New York, and the Steiff Company of Giengen produced the first bears independently in 1902. And we know the Michtoms called their bear, "Teddy's Bear," and the Steiff Company called its bear, "Bar55PB." So when did these stuffed bears become Teddy Bears?

The term "Teddy Bear" (without the "'s") first appeared in the October, 1906, issue of Playthings Magazine. It soon became the accepted term. Even the Steiff Company used this term to describe its bears.

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5. Why is the Teddy Bear so popular?
The Teddy Bear is the most popular plush toy, and it may even be the most popular of all toys. Other toys have been popular in their day -- the hula hoop, the yo-yo, the game boy -- but none have stood the test of time.

Teddy Bears have been around for 100 years. They were popular then, and they are popular today.

We like teddy bears for all occasions. We place pastel pink and blue teddy bears on the outside of baby shower gifts. We carry teddy bears holding diplomas and wearing cap and gowns with us at high school graduations. We bring smiling teddy bears with a nurse's hat to visit a sick friend. We even place teddy bear bride and grooms on the tops of 4-tiered wedding cakes.

Teddy Bears are especially popular during holidays throughout the year. From New Year's Day in January to Christmas Day in December, teddy bears fill up grocery store check-out counters with their Stars and Stripes for the 4th of July and Jack-o-lantern costumes for Halloween. Some teddy bears have a simple Pilgrim's hat or Easter bonnet. While others sing festive songs or shout "Ho, Ho, Ho!" Whether they are red for Valentine's Day or green for St. Patrick's Day, teddy bears bring us joy year-round.

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6. Why do we love our Teddy Bears so much?
Teddy Bears are cute, cuddly, and adorable. Their spark captures the attention and imagination of young and old alike.

As kids, we love our teddy bears as if they were real people and a member of our family. We name them, feed them, clothe them, care for them, and take them on all the family vacations. When our teddy bears get sick, we nurse them back to health. When our teddy bears get dirty, we give them a bath.

As adults, we love our aging childhood teddy bear. When other people see our played-with and faded teddy bear, they see something that should be thrown out. We see our favorite childhood friend. We know this teddy bear is a trusted companion who shares in our good times and sticks by us through the hard times.

As kids, the first thing we do when we get our new teddy bears is cut off the tags and introduce them to their new family. We cannot wait to take our new friends with us everywhere. We always go to the playground, school, and Grandma's house together.

As adults, we are teddy bear collectors. We find a special shelf or table in our home to carefully display our new, clean, off-limits addition to the family. We leave on the original tags and dare not play with them.

All people -- young, old, male, female -- have these images. Even if a particular person has not directly experienced these feelings, they are sure to know someone who has.

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7. How did Winnie-the-Pooh start?
On August 21, 1921, A.A. Milne gave his son, Christopher Robin Milne, a teddy bear for his first birthday. Christopher named his bear Edward Bear because Edward is the proper name for Teddy. Milne bought Edward Bear at Harrod's in London, England. It was made by J.K. Farnell & Co. in England.

Between 1920 and 1928, Christopher Robin Milne received other stuffed animals. In 1926, A.A. Milne began writing bedtime stories about his son's adventures with his stuffed animals, including his bear who was renamed, Winnie-the-Pooh. Thus Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit, and the 100 Acre Wood were born.

Did you know the 100 Acre Wood is based on the Ashdown Forest? It is located near Milne's home in southern England.

Today, Christopher's original stuffed animals (Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and Kanga) are on permanent display in the Central Children's Room at the Donnell Library Center, part of The New York Public Library.

Did you know Winnie-the-Pooh is 18" high? Eeyore is the biggest of the stuffed animals (25"), and Piglet is the smallest (4-1/2"). Roo, the baby kangaroo stuffed animal, is not on display at the New York Public Library because it was lost in an apple orchard in the 1930's.

Did you know the name Winnie-the-Pooh came from a combination of a bear and a swan? "Winnie" was the name of a black bear in the London Zoo in the 1920's. Winnie had been the mascot for the Canadian Army's Winnipeg regiment. "Pooh" was the name of a swan in A.A. Milne's book, "When We Were Very Young."

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