Theodore Roosevelt and the Teddy Bear
Frameworks for America's Past
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The Teddy Bear

   An interesting fact about Theodore Roosevelt is that he is the inspiration for the "Teddy Bear," the popular stuffed toy animal for children.

   On a hunting trip to Mississippi in 1902, Roosevelt refused to shoot a young bear that other hunters on the trip had captured and tied to a tree.  The famous outdoorsman said it would be "unsportsmanlike" to shoot a tied up bear.  He told the men to release the bear back to the wild. 

   A cartoonist at the Washington Post newspaper made the drawing below.  A toy maker who saw it when it was published in the paper asked "Teddy" Roosevelt if he could use the "Teddy" name for the stuffed bears he wanted to create and sell.  Roosevelt agreed.

   The photo on the right shows a factory worker in the early 1900s putting stuffing in the cloth body of a Teddy Bear.

Theodore Roosevelt left a legacy that is still felt today.  It includes the
"All-American" idea of a life lived vigorously, but according to the
rules of fair play and good sportsmanship.  He left many famous
lines in his books and speeches that are often quoted, such as this one:

   Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
                                                                    --  Theodore Roosevelt,

Photos and images are from the Library of Congress. 
Some have been edited or resized for this page.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright 2009, 2012 by David Burns.  All rights reserved.  As a guide to the Virginia Standards of Learning, some pages necessarily include phrases or sentences from that document, which is available online from the Virginia Department of Education.  The author's copyright extends to the original text and graphics, unique design and layout, and related material.