History of Bears

The History of the Teddy Bear
The cartoon, drawn by Clifford Berryman and titled "Drawing the Line in Mississippi," showed President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a baby bear. According to this often told tale, Roosevelt had traveled to Mississippi to help settle a border dispute between that state and Louisiana, and his hosts, wanting to please this avid hunter, took him bear hunting. The hunting was so poor that someone finally captured a bear and invited Roosevelt to shoot. Roosevelt's refusal to fire at such a helpless target inspired Berryman to draw his cartoon with its play on the two ways Roosevelt was drawing a line—settling a border dispute and refusing to shoot a captive animal.

The cartoon appeared in a panel of cartoons drawn by Cliffored Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902. It caused an immediate sensation and was reprinted widely. Apparently this cartoon even inspired Morris and Rose Michtom of Brooklyn, New York, to make a bear in honor of the president's actions. The Michtoms named their bear "Teddy's Bear" and placed it in the window of their candy and stationery store. Instead of looking fierce and standing on all four paws like previous toy bears, the Michtoms' bear looked sweet, innocent, and upright, like the bear in Berryman's cartoon. Perhaps that's why "Teddy's Bear" made a hit with the buying public. In fact, the demand was so strong that the Michtoms, with the help of a wholesale firm called Butler Brothers, founded the first teddy bear manufacturer in the United States, the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.


1834 - Robert Southey writes Goldilocks and the Three Bears

1894 - German Toy Company Gebruder Sussenguth produce a catalog showing a stuffed bear toy.

1897 - Steiff features skittles and roly-poly toy bears in that years catalogue.

1899 - Margarete Steiff registers patents for 23 of her soft toy designs which include a dancing bear and a brown bear with a handler.

1902 - The American President Theodore Roosevelt refuses to shoot a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi and the incident makes national news. The famous cartoon of the incident by Clifford Berryman is published in the Washington Post on November 16th 1902.

1902 - Richard Steiff, reputedly in October 1902, to look for new ideas for toys and to see bears in an American travelling circus. He sketches an idea of an upright bear and sends it to his aunt , a German stuffed toy manufacturer since 1880.

1903 - Russian Jewish immigrant to the US, Morris Michtom, sees the Berryman cartoon and his wife Rose Michtom designs a stuffed bear toy. Michtom writes and asks permission from President Roosevelt to name the toy after him. “Teddy” Roosevelt agrees and the "Teddys Bear" is born. 

Roosevelt is quoted as saying "I don't think my name is likely to be worth much in the toy bear business, but you are welcome to use it."Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, 1903.

How wrong Roosevelt was. In lending his nickname to a new children's toy, the twenty-sixth President of the United States unwittingly gave the toy industry the hook needed to manufacture the worlds most commercially successful toy -”Teddy’s” Bear or... The Teddy Bear

PS... How did President Roosevelt react to the incredible popularity of teddy’s bear? Well, the music to the popular song The Teddy Bears Picnic was used during President Roosevelt's subsequent election campaign

Kind of bears

Commercially made, mass-produced teddy bears are predominantly made as toys for children. These bears have safety joints for attaching arms legs and heads. They must have securely fastened eyes that do not pose a choking hazard for small children. These "plush" bears must meet a rigid standard of construction in order to be marketed to children in the United States and in the European Union.

By contrast, artist bears are not mass produced and are not intended for small children. In fact, most carry a tag saying that "These bears are intended for an adult market of avid collectors. They are individually created by a whole host of artists around the world. Many of these artists design their own bears as well as making them by hand or stitching them up on home sewing machines. These bears are not mass marketed."

They are available for purchase through the individual artists, specialty shops, web sites, and at art shows, Teddy Bear shows and craft shows across the globe. These bears are almost always jointed with movable heads, arms and legs. The jointing systems to attach these appendages and heads are most often disk and screw or disk and cotter pin combinations but can be done with buttons, simple string, chain or any other method an enterprising artist may devise.