Feb. 15, 2023

The Surprising Story of How the Teddy Bear Got Its Name: A Piece of Rad History

The Surprising Story of How the Teddy Bear Got Its Name: A Piece of Rad History

Growing up in the 1980s we both can't help but think of the cool, cassette tape talking, animatronic bear "Teddy Ruxpin".
But, it was actually 120-121 years ago TODAY when one of the most infamous plush toys of all time was created - forever cementing it in the halls of RAD HISTORY.

On February 15, 1903, Morris Michtom, a toy store owner and inventor, placed two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as "Teddy bears". Little did he know, this would spark a national childhood institution.

But how did the Teddy bear get its name? It all started with a hunting trip in November 1902, when President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was invited to Onward, Mississippi for a bear hunt. After days without success, the hunting party was growing frustrated. Without the President's knowledge, a trapper was hired to capture and deliver a bear for the President to kill before his return to Washington.

Roosevelt, a proud hunter and naturalist, was outraged when he found out how the bear had come to be in his sights. He demanded it be set free, as he believed that killing a trapped animal went against the principles of fair chase hunting. The story made national news that day, and it wasn't long before a toy maker in New York was granted permission to manufacture a plush bear toy named after President Roosevelt.

Morris Michtom, who had earlier petitioned Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, saw an opportunity to create a stuffed bear toy in the President's honor. The Teddy bear was born, and it quickly became a national sensation. Other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom's stuffed bears, and soon the Teddy bear became a staple in children's toy collections across the country.

The impact of this story is hard to overstate. Not only did it give rise to one of the most beloved toys in history, but it also helped to popularize the idea of ethical hunting practices. Roosevelt's refusal to kill a trapped bear became a symbol of his commitment to fair chase hunting, and it set an example for future generations of hunters to follow.

So the next time you see a Teddy bear, remember the story of how it got its name. It's a piece of rad history that reminds us of the power of one small act of kindness to spark a national movement.