Today is National Teddy Bear Picnic Day. Do you remember the first teddy bear that you ever got or do you have a favorite bear from your childhood? Teddy Bears are a worldwide popular toy, but do you know where the Teddy Bear first came from? To find the origin of the Teddy Bear we must look back to November 14th, 1902.
President Theodore Roosevelt and company were on a hunting trip that had a very unexpected ending. Hunting for bears with the Mississippi Governor Andre H. Longino, Roosevelt was the only hunter in the group not to locate a single bear. Trying to be helpful Roosevelt’s assistant, Holt Collier, cornered a black bear and tied him to a willow tree for the president to shoot. The President, who was a regular on hunting trips, saw this as extremely unsportsmanlike and refused to shoot the bear that was tied up.
The story quickly spread throughout the newspapers and press, and was eventually made into a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman that first appeared in the Washington Post on November 16th, 1902. The cartoon was seen by a man named Morris Michtom who owned a Brooklyn candy shop and were makers of stuffed animals. Mitchom decided to create a stuffed bear and dedicate it to the president for his refusal to shoot the bear. He called it “Teddy’s Bear.”
Today Teddy Bears are mass produced in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and materials but to the child who owns the bear it can be one of their prized possessions. In order to keep a bear looking its best and lasting a life time here are a few tips to Teddy Bear care:
• With so many fabrics being used to make bears today cleaning these animals can vary greatly. One way to clean their fur is to use a dog brush or doll comb to work out any matted fur.
• Always check tags to determine what materials were used to make your stuffed friend. Some tags may also include a manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning and caring for your teddy friend.
• If your bear gets some dirt or becomes stained be sure to blot the stain instead of rubbing or scrubbing. Try to use a gentle cloth of a similar color as the bear and use cold water to remove the stain.
• Newer bears can often be washed in the washing machine with cold water and an easy detergent on the gentle cycle. Be sure that any voice boxes and batteries are removed before washing animals in the washing machine.
• Older bears may need a little more love and attention to be kept in optimal bear state. The best way to find out the proper care is by researching the care of the fabric and finding the best way to preserve that particular type of material. Care will vary depending on whether it is made from animal wool, or synthetic materials.
• If you wish to display your favorite friend you can look into finding airtight glass doll cases that will keep dust and dirt away from your friend, but still allow you to see him. If you simply wish to store teddy away for a later date be sure and use a plastic container with a tight lid that will keep dust and dirt out of the box. Wrap the animal in paper, but never wrap them in plastic as plastic will hold moisture inside the container and cause damage to the bear.
• Storage for Teddy should be a cool dry place, such as a climate controlled storage unit, and check back on the bear every so often to make sure that the container has not been opened or damaged in anyway.
With the proper care a Teddy Bear can be a lifelong friend that will be there year after year to help you celebrate Teddy Bear Picnic Day.