Short History of Teddy Bears

It’s a story well known by American children and adults alike today. Theodore Roosevelt was out on one of his hunting trips in 1902, looking for a bear in Mississippi. He was the only one among his party who had not gotten one. His assistants thought it would be helpful to find a bear cub and tie him to a tree, so that the President would be able to finally get a bear. Roosevelt thought that it would be un-sportsman-like to take advantage of the bear being tied up and let it go.

Clifford Berryman found out about this incident and drew a cartoon, which was featured in the Washington Post. This cartoon was seen by one Morris Michtom, a candy shop owner, who also made stuffed bears. He contacted the President and got permission to use his name for the bears. Prior to this story, stuffed bears existed, but after this story, they were called Teddy’s Bears, and eventually just Teddy Bears.

Prior to 1902, the German company Steiff had been making stuffed plush toys since 1880. Today, they are the most famous teddy bear company in the world. They are the makers of the world’s most expensive bear, the Louis Vuitton Bear, which was auctioned off in 2000 for $210,000 and is now in the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju, Korea. What kind of bear could possibly be worth so much, you might be wondering?  This bear is decked out in a full outfit of the name brand designer clothing, with eyes containing both sapphires and diamonds, and also wearing gold. He is one fancy bear.

Teddy Bears have also been the subject of many record-breaking feats. In 2012, Jackie Miley (US) set the record for the largest collection of teddy bears with 8,026 bears. She began her collection in 2000 by purchasing a bear she calls “Grandma Jackie”, and so far has collected bears from all 50 states and 29 other countries. She has said that she never had a teddy bear as a child and she likes collecting them because she finds them comforting and she likes to share them with others. You can visit her collection in Hill City, South Dakota, at Teddy Bear Town.

Other individual bears have also won recognition by Guinness World Records, from the big to the small. The smallest commercially available bear is .9 centimeters (.3 inches) long, and was made in 2003 by Cheryl Moss from South Africa. Moss has been making and selling these “Microbears” in specialty teddy bear stores for many years. The largest stitched teddy bear is over 55 feet tall and was made in 2008 by Dana Warren. It took Warren 9 months to fully design, sew, and stuff this massive bear. She was inspried to do so by her husband, who suggested that she make a huge bear for charity. Jody (the bear) beat the previous holder of the record by 30 feet.

Catch up with us this Friday for more teddy bear information. Also, we have a great selection of teddy bears and bear themed products at Wilderness_Store on Zazzle, if you’re in the market for another new friend or you have someone in your life to give a teddy bear to. See you then!


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