July 10th is National Teddy Bear's Picnic Day. The first bear was produced in 1902, and it's unlikely that anyone since grew up unaware of "Teddy's Bear".
Drawing the Line in Mississippi
The title of the cartoon by Clifford Berryman was both a figurative and literal summation of his trip to Mississippi to settle a border dispute with Louisiana. while there, as Roosevelt was an avid hunter, his hosts took him bear hunting. It went poorly, leading the hosts to capture a bear and bring it to Roosevelt to shoot. He declined, claiming poor sportsmanship to shoot a captive animal.
The cartoon was reprinted widely, inspiring Morris and Rose Michtom to make a bear in honor of the president. They placed it in the window of their stationary store, and named it "Teddy's Bear".
Coincidentally, the same year a German company came out with their own version called the Baer 55PB. Buyers in the European market failed to buy it, but an American, aware of the growing trend, bought 3000 bears.
Today's the Day the Teddy Bears Have Their Picnic
The bears grew in popularity. By 1906, they were everywhere. Children posed for pictures with their teddy, even high society ladies carried their favorite bear.
J.K. Bratton wrote "The Teddy Bear Two Step" and words were soon added, changing the name to "The Teddy Bear's Picnic".
Manufacturer's turned out bears in different styles and colors and the name was tweaked to the Teddy Bear. Even companies outside of the U.S. adopted the name.
It's Hard to Explain How a Few Precious Things, Seem to Follow Throughout All Our Lives
The original Winnie the Pooh was a teddy created by an English company, J.K. Farnell & Co. As the years passed, teddy bears remained a part of life. Companies came and went, some weathering WWI, the Great Depression and WWII.
Bears were reproduced by companies, and individuals looking to cash in on the lasting popularity.
Today, those original bears are collector items. Teddy Girl, manufactured by Steiff was auctioned for 176,000, the highest price paid for any teddy bear.
In 1988, collector Royal Selangor launched Teddy Bears' Picnic Day based on the song. It became so popular, teachers and parents were determined to make it an official holiday. The holiday was made official on July 10th, 1988.
Over 100 years after the initial creation, we still seek the unconditional love and acceptance we received from our teddy bears.