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Teddy Bear Day
"A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at."
~ A. A. Milne, "Teddy Bear", 1924
The beloved "teddy bear" owes its name to former United States President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt stemming from an incident in November of 1902, when during a Mississippi bear hunt, Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear tied to a willow tree. A political cartoon appeared two days later titled "Drawing the Line in Mississippi" and inspired toymaker Morris Michtom to create a tiny soft bear cub which he displayed in his shop window with the sign "Teddy's Bear." After sending a bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to use his name, the Teddy Bear became an immediate success. At the same time in Germany, the Steiff firm, unaware of Michtom's bear, produced a stuffed bear and exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903, where it was seen by a New York buyer who ordered 3000 to be sent to the United States. Although Steiff's records show that the bears were produced, they are not recorded as arriving in the U.S., and no example of the type "55 PB" has ever been found, leading to the fanciful story that the bears must have been shipwrecked! The colours and geometry of this tartan represent and encode the main characters and prominent dates of this colourful history! 🐻
September 9th is Teddy Bear Day!
The popularization of the American "teddy bear" stems from an incident in 1902, when during a Mississippi bear hunt, American President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear tied to a willow tree. This tartan represents Roosevelt's hunt and the resultant political cartoon (printed two days later in the Washington Post). The little bear in the cartoon, Bruin, became so popular that the artist, Clifford Kennedy Berryman, used him frequently in later cartoons on many different topics. Although Berryman helped popularize the association of Teddy Roosevelt with bears, he did not invent the toy teddy bear.
Seeing the political cartoon, toymaker Morris Michtom was inspired to create a teddy bear. He created a tiny soft bear cub and put it in the shop window with a sign "Teddy's bear." After sending a bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to use his name, the Teddy Bear became immediate success.
At the same time in Germany, the Steiff firm, unaware of Michtom's bear, produced a stuffed bear and exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903, where it was seen by a buyer for George Borgfeldt & Company in New York who ordered 3000 to be sent to the United States. Although Steiff's records show that the bears were produced, they are not recorded as arriving in the U.S., and no example of the type, "55 PB", has ever been seen, leading to the story that the bears were shipwrecked!
Created in 2013, this corporate tartan celebrates the 111th anniversary of the Eleventy-One Teddy Bears Company.
In the tartan, the colours represent the following:
26 grey threads represent Roosevelt the 26th US President whose image is hewed in grey granite of Mount Rushmore; six black threads recognizes Roosevelt's 1906 Nobel Peace Prize, with black and beige together representing the American Black Bear; brown portrays the traditional colour of the teddy bear, with 32 threads referring to Mississippi as the 32nd largest US state; green represents the willow tree; white is a tribute to Roosevelt's renaming of the White House in 1901. The geometry is created from the two relevant dates; 14th November 1902 as 14, 11, 19 and 2 threads; 16th November 1902 as 16, 11, 19 and 2 threads.
There are several other official tartans associated with Teddy Bears, mostly as fabrics used for bear clothing or bows.
For more on the mysterious shipwreck bear incident, click the Steiff replica of the 1903 bears who went on that ill-fated voyage.