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teddy

    Today we can hardly imagine a world without that eager listener, confidante, and loyal friend, the teddy bear. The teddy bear was named after Theodore Roosevelt. The name Teddy Bear comes from the November 1902 American President Theodore Roosevelt's hunting trip to Mississippi, to which he was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino.

    A suite of Roosevelt's attendants, led by Holt Collier, cornered, clubbed, and tied to a willow tree an American Black Bear after a long exhausting chase with hounds. They called Roosevelt to the site and suggested that he should shoot it. He refused to shoot the bear himself, deeming this unsportsmanlike, but instructed that the bear be killed to put it out of its misery, and it became the topic of a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902.

    While the initial cartoon of an adult black bear lassoed by a white handler and a disgusted Roosevelt had symbolic overtones, later issues of that and other Berryman cartoons made the bear smaller and cuter.

    Morris Michtom made the first official toy bear called the teddy bear. He saw the drawing of Roosevelt and the bear cub and was inspired to create a new toy. He created a little stuffed bear cub and put it in his shop window with a sign that read "Teddy's bear." The toys were an immediate success and Michtom founded the Ideal     Novelty and Toy Co., which still exists today. At the same time, in Germany the Steiff firm, unaware of Michtom's bear, produced a stuffed bear from Richard Steiff's designs. They exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903 and exported 3000 to the United States.

    By 1906 manufacturers other than Michtom and Steiff had joined in and the craze for Teddy Bears was such that ladies carried them everywhere, children were photographed with them, and Roosevelt used one as a mascot in his bid for re-election

    American educator Seymour Eaton wrote the children's book series The Roosevelt Bears, while composer John Bratton wrote "The Teddy Bear Two Step" music which with Jimmy Kennedy's lyrics became the song "The Teddy Bears' Picnic".

    Today Teddy bears have seen a resurgence in popularity as national "do it yourself" chains have opened. Among the largest and best known are Build-A-Bear Workshop and Vermont Teddy Bear Company. Some other teddy bears made today include: Rupert, Sooty, Paddington and Pudsey Bear.