Theodore Roosevelt: The First Teddy Bear

The producers at BIO.com review hundreds of photos of famous figures each week, from award-winning actors and popular singers, to headliners and scandal makers. While we're digging through these archives, we often come across amazing photos that we're...
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The producers at BIO.com review hundreds of photos of famous figures each week, from award-winning actors and popular singers, to headliners and scandal makers. While we're digging through these archives, we often come across amazing photos that we're...

The producers at BIO.com review hundreds of photos of famous figures each week, from award-winning actors and popular singers, to headliners and scandal makers. While we're digging through these archives, we often come across amazing photos that we're just dying to share. So, without further ado, here's the one image that stands out to us this week:

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A political cartoon based on the original by Clifford Berryman depicting Roosevelt declining to shoot the small cub. Once upon a time, President Theodore Roosevelt had gone hunting in Mississippi. On this trip he encountered a wounded black bear. From here, the story gets murky: Some say the bear was young, others say it was old. One legend has Roosevelt ordering a mercy killing of the animal, while another claims he had set it free. Whatever the real story was, the event spawned a political cartoon by artist Clifford Berryman that showed the President's restraint and compassion for the wounded bear.

The depiction, seen in the Washington Post, inspired a toy inventor named Morris Michtom, who wrote to the President and asked if he could use his nickname, Teddy, to describe a toy bear he had made. The President agreed and on February 15, 1903, the first teddy bear went on sale and the rest is history.

Roosevelt later went on safari after Taft took office and killed 296 animals, including nine lions. Suffice it to say, Michtom was not as inspired to create a teddy line of those creatures.