Teddy bear history

History of Teddy Bears

Berryman cartoon of Teddy Bear

Teddy bears seem to have emerged in both the United States and Germany at about the same time, around 1902. The US part of the teddy bear story has become almost legendary. According to history, in 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt was in Mississippi hunting. Some of the participants of the hunt tied up a bear and offered to let the president shoot it. Roosevelt, however, refused to shoot the captive animal.

Washington Post cartoonist Clifford Berryman publicized the incident with the famous cartoon, "Drawing the Line in Mississippi," (seen here). After seeing the cartoon, Russian immigrant Morris Michtom, who owned a shop in Brooklyn, New York, had his wife design and make a new type of stuffed animal bear. This bear was cute rather than realistic and scary, and sat up on two legs instead of the more traditional stuffed animal bear who stood on four legs.

After the new stuffed animal bear started to sell, Michtom received Roosevelt's permission to officially use his name for the new "Teddy's bears." Thus the teddy bear craze in the United State had begun.

US demand for the teddy bear kept increasing and many stuffed animal manufacturers in the US and Europe began to make teddy bears (including one of today's successful companies, Gund). After the advent of mass production, other parts of the world like Asia began to produce the teddy bear as well.