The Teddy Bear

Origin of the “Teddy” Bear

One of the most famous stories about Roosevelt is the one by which his name became associated with a popular toy amongst children.  Ever the sportsman, TR was hunting in Mississippi during his first term in office.  It had been a bad day on the trail, and Roosevelt’s Mississippi hosts were disturbed by the fact that the President’s trip had been marred by a lack of game.  A few members of the hunting party treed a small bear cub*, and invited TR, as the guest of honor, to take the “trophy”.  Roosevelt refused, stating that it simply would not be sporting to kill the cub.  Newspapers nationwide publicized the event, most notably cartoonist Clifford Berryman.  A New York shopkeeper named Morris Michtom saw the story, and having several stuffed toy bears in his inventory, asked TR’s permission to dub them “Teddy bears” for marketing purposes.  TR agreed without hesition, no doubt thinking only a few would be sold under the scheme and underestimating their appeal.  The rest, as we all know is history.  Most of us grew up with one if not more “teddy bears”, and many are passed down from one generation to the next.