That the name Teddy Bear comes from the 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was “Teddy”? The story goes like this. In November 1902, Roosevelt was in Mississippi where he was invited to a bear hunting trip. He failed to make a kill so his hosts caught and tethered a bear, presenting it to him as a sitting target. Roosevelt naturally refused, saying, “Spare the bear! I will not shoot a tethered animal.”
The incident inspired a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post. The drawing caused a sensation and was reprinted widely. This, in turn, inspired Brooklyn shopkeepers Morris and Rose Michtom to make a bear in honour of the President’s actions. They named it “Teddy’s Bear” and placed it in the window of their candy and stationery store.
The Michtoms’ bear looked sweet, innocent and upright, like the one in Berryman’s cartoon. Perhaps that’s why “Teddy’s Bear” became a hit with the buying public. The demand was so high that the Michtoms, with the help of a wholesale firm called Butler Brothers, founded the first teddy bear manufacturer in the US, the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.