• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Almanac/Teddy’s Bear

Air Date: Week of February 14, 2003

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

This week, we have facts about the first Teddy Bear. It was one hundred years ago that hunting enthusiast President Teddy Roosevelt lent his name to the stuffed animal.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Welcome back to Living On Earth. I’m Steve Curwood.

[MUSIC: Elvis Presley “Teddy Bear” ELV1S 30 #1 Hits - RCA (2002)]

CURWOOD: When you were small, you took it everywhere, and maybe you still do. It’s fuzzy and soft, and turns 100 this week. It’s the Teddy Bear. The cuddly stuffed animal that got its name from the avid bear hunter, President Theodore Roosevelt. As the story goes, the presidential hunting trip was arranged in Mississippi back in 1902. But when no bears appeared, Teddy Roosevelt’s companions tracked down the only one they could find – a raggedy old bruin that they tied to a tree so the president could claim his prize. But the suffering animal had wounds from hunting dogs and Roosevelt couldn’t bear to shoot. Instead, he ordered it euthanized.

The story made the news through a political cartoon drawn with some artistic license. It portrayed TR sparing an adorable bear cub. Citizens warmed to this tender image of their president, and a Brooklyn candy store owner saw dollar signs. He contacted the White House and asked for permission to sell a synthetic toy cub named Teddy’s Bear. The president was unimpressed with the idea, but gave permission anyway, and Teddy’s Bear made its debut in a Brooklyn store window in 1903.



(Courtesy of Smithsonian’s
National Museum of American History)


From the early wire jointed teddies, to a 1985 talking Teddy Ruxpin, the species Ursus Teddy keeps evolving. But if you want to visit the original Teddy’s Bear, you won’t have to wrestle it from a toddler. The centenarian cuddly is safe and sound in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

And for this week, that’s the Living on Earth Almanac.

[MUSIC FADES]

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live.

Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.