"Today's the Day the Teddy Bear's Having Its Biiiirthday!"

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Teddy bear, inspired by the helpless bear a president refused to shoot, turns 100 this fall, still fuzzy-eared, huggable and loved by millions of children around the world. Theodore Roosevelt’s Teddy bear is easily the most popular presidential memento ever produced and the centennial celebrations have already begun.

. . . In Washington the newspaper stories of the president’s sporting refusal to shoot a defenseless bear reached the desk of Clifford Berryman, then a cartoonist for The Washington Post. Berryman sketched a small, bewildered, tethered bear, with the president turning away in disdain. The cartoon appeared on the front page of the Post on Nov. 16 over the caption, “Drawing the Line in Mississippi.” Readers took to the imagery at once, demanding more bear cartoons. Berryman obliged. Subsequent bears became “smaller, rounder and cuter.” Soon Berryman was adding tiny big-eared bear cub mascots to every cartoon he drew.

In New York City, Rose Michtom, the wife of Brooklyn candy store owner Morris Michtom, made two stuffed toy bears. Her husband put them in his window at $1.50 each with a sign calling them “Teddy’s Bears.” Soon the stuffed bears were selling so briskly that the Michtoms, both Russian immigrants, established the Ideal Toy Company to keep up with demand. All of this had a touch of irony about it. The president disliked the nickname Teddy. Friends called him “Theodore.” But his fellow countrymen were far more informal. To them, the president was Teddy. And the little stuffed bear was “the Teddy bear.”

—So, do any of you have Teddy Bears? I have a classic beige, fuzzy one my Mom bought me at Restoration Hardware for New Year’s 1999/2000. Being a traditionalist, I named him Teddy.

Oh, good. I was afraid the thread title was a direct quote from Pwincess Pwecious.

I had two teddy bears as a child. Being daringly original, I named them Smokey and Yogi. Coincidentally, after I hurt myself, one or both of them would receive a Band-Aid on the same spot that I did.

In recent years, my mother got into the habit of giving me one of those too-cute, too-big, too-soft bears decked out in red, white, and green with the year stamped on them every Christmas. (One even smells like cinnamon – !) After five or six of them, I managed to dissuade her from enlarging my “collection.”

I still have my bear from when I was a wee thing. He was a medium-sized beige bear with glass eyes and a music box in his butt. The music box doesn’t work anymore, I snapped the key to wind it off when I beaned my brother over the head.

He never did have a name, exactly. He was, and remains, “Mine Bear”. :slight_smile:

I don’t have a teddy bear, but when I was in NYC last week, I visited the original Winnie-the-Pooh and friends (Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga) at the NY Public Library on 53rd. :slight_smile:

I had twenty million teddy bears growing up. I never had any dolls or Barbies - just bears.

At one point I had a family of bears: I staged a wedding.

Cindy (brown bear) married George (koala) in a sort of Brady Bunch kind of thing. I had smaller versions of Cindy and George, who were the “kids” in the marriage [but existed pre-matrimony, quelle heurerre] named Sparky, Tom, and several others whose names are escaping me right now.

I had pictures of the wedding and everything. Cindy’s veil was one of dad’s handkerchief. They “walked” down the aisle and everything.

Oh, and each bear had a voice. Particularly my favorite bear, Tom. I’ve still got him up at my mom’s house. He’s a little threadbare, but hanging in there due to some “open heart surgeries” my mom performed along the way to restore stuffing, sew up holes, etc.

And don’t even get me started on the time my “friend” Wendy bit off Tom’s nose (it was a little plastic glued on job). I wept. I hated her. Mom got out the hot glue & replaced it nicely.

What? Why are you looking at me like that???

I lost my bear somewhere in one of our family moves. It was a cute little thing, somewhat scarred by the time I helped it hide in the oven and my mother didn’t check before pre-heating it. But even with melted eyes and singed fur he was still quite cute. I miss him.

Although I have seem to have forgotten his name, sigh.

My dad worked for the Evening Star from 1942 until it folded. I grew up reading the paper, and the Washington Post.

I have a distinct memory as a kid of reading the Star and seeing Berryman cartoons. Therefore, I figured he couldn’t have been the originator of the T. Roosevelt/Bear cartoon.


So how did I see Berryman cartoons after he was dead?

I need to go Googling.

I grew up with a Winnie-the-Pooh teddy that squeaked when you squeezed his stomach. My mom would make my pajamas and then use the leftover material to make a matching pair for “Winnie.” Never gave him away so he’s somewhere in storage, I suspect…

My godmother gave me a panda bear on the day that I was born. 28 years later, I still sleep with the darn thing. I washed him the other day for the first time in years, and now it seems he needs a stitch or two in between his legs.

My parents still give me bears, even though I’m 22. Right now, I’m looking at a giant bear in an orange hoodie vest, a San Antonio bean bag bear, a white bean bag UT bear (from my graduation), and a small polar bear wearing a blue shirt. Somewhere in my closet, there’s a blue Beanie Bear that I got, along with a bottle of wine and a leather jacket, for my 21st birthday.

Back home, I have a bear named Teddy, who belonged to my mom when she was little. Most of his fur is worn off, and he’s especially heavy from a restuffing, but he’s still the perfect huggable bear for a small child.

Do I have Teddy Bears? HA!! As a child, I had so many stuffed animals, I divided them up into families. And yes, the father of the Teddy Bears was Teddy. There was also Teddy Jr. and Teddy Jr. Jr. (the concept of Teddy the Third hadn’t hit me yet). Although they all stay at home now in their little family, one of the youngest sons, Bloomy (aptly named because he is Bloomy’s Bear from Bloomingdales [I was a fairly unoriginal child]) still sits on my dresser watching over me at night. I got him when I was about seven, and he served me well as protector and pillow for many years.
One of my cousins has a Bloomy’s Bear as well, and it’s fun to compare the two. Her’s is all pristine and shimmering white, with stiff arms and a proper protruding snout, whereas mine is gray and dingy, with sagging arms, patchy fur, and a nose more like a pug’s than a proper snout. Can you guess who got more love? Oh, and he has a cape. He’ll be seventeen this Christmas.

I think we need to get all these teddy bears together for a picnic or something. :wink:

I actually just got given a teddy bear this morning for my birthday. His name is now Alfred. He is sharing my bedroom with Emily who is a beautiful Angel Bear.

When I was growing up my inseperable toy was a stuffed terry-toweling dog named Flopsy. He went everywhere with me. He was bright yellow with brown ears. I still have him and keep him at my parents place.