Friday, February 19, 2010

Teddy's Bear

We all love them, those cute, cuddly Teddy Bears. Well, at least those in our family do. I even have a few precious ones gifted to me by my sweatheart.

M had to do a report on a president this week, and we chose Theodore Roosevelt. Why? It's because of him we have "Teddy Bears." Okay, okay, so stuffed bears have been around for bazillions of years, but the name Teddy really did come from our 26th president.

President Roosevelt loved to hunt. On one hunting trip (bear hunting, that is) in Mississippi his group hadn't been able to find one bear. There were several other groups participating, and it had all become a bit of a competition. When most of the other hunting parties had managed to "bag" a bear, Teddy's group became a bit desperate.

They eventually found an old bear, and began to chase it until the bear finally tired. I won't go into what they did to this poor animal, but they ended up tying it to a willow tree before calling to the president to come in for the kill. Roosevelt took a long look at this creature, defeated, hurt, and frightened, and refused to kill it. He felt it to be most unsportsmanlike. He did realize, however, the only humane thing to do was to end it's life so it wouldn't continue to be in such pain. The animal was mercifully shot, and the story of Teddy and the bear began to spread far and wide.

A political cartoonist by the name of Clifford Berryman heard the story and immediately put together a drawing of Teddy refusing to shoot the bear. As the drawings continued the bear became smaller and cuddlier until it resembled a baby bear. One toymaker, Morris Mitchem, saw the cartoons and created a little bear. He then contacted the president to ask him for permission to use his nickname, Teddy, in connection with the bear. He sent the first one to the president.

Believe it or not, they were such a success and became such a craze ladies were seen to be carrying them everywhere. Awesome, don't you think???

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