Teddy Roosevelt’s Legacy: The Teddy Bear

Regardless of ethnic or national background, the teddy bear has been popularized in homes around the world. It’s that comforting childhood object that becomes your best friend for life. Those fond memories of walking into the toy store and picking out your favorite bear. It all seems cute and cuddly, but we are talking about bears! An animal that generally is feared by the average person. It is always a great concern for the safety of hikers and campers to avoid bears. What events led to this cultural phenomenon with bears being the most common stuffed animal?

Teddy’s Encounter

It’s November 14th, 1902: the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, is out on a hunting trip for bears in Mississippi. His assistant, Holt Collier, had tied a black bear to a tree for the President to shoot. This amount of cruelty to this animal didn’t seem fair, and so Roosevelt refused to shoot the critter. It is widely known that President Roosevelt was an avid hunter and sportsman, making this move seem out of character. The story itself was very inspiring and news spread about this act of generosity and sympathy, so much so that even a political cartoon was drawn.

Introducing the Teddy Bear!

Morris Mitchman was just a candy store owner, but after seeing the political cartoon, he came up with a brilliant idea. He and his wife made stuffed animals for a living and decided that they should honor the President by creating stuffed bears to market and sell, and the rest is history! The teddy bear rose to fame in millions of households across the country.

Even today, the teddy bear itself is seen as an icon to be used to sell products. The animal appears on honey jars, crackers, and gummies. The bear is loved by young and old alike. Since 1981, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company has been accepting orders for custom-made bears to send for both ordinary and special occasions. There are even Build-A-Bear Workshop stores scattered in malls across the world where you can make your own teddy bear. Dress the bear up with a variety of outfits, give it a name, and take it home in a cute little box. This October 27th is Theodore Roosevelt’s 165th birthday, so let’s thank the President for all those good memories and comfort provided by our teddy bears.


Staying Safe Around Bears – National Geographic

The Story of the Teddy Bear – National Parks Service

Teddy Bear – Smithsonian

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Lonely adults are driving a boom in stuffed animal sales – Business Insider