Origin of the Teddy Bear

One of the world's most well-loved bears is part of the history surrounding President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.

Teddy Bear
A replica of the original Teddy Bear.

Photo by NPS.

The Teddy Bear was invented in honor of the president remembered most for his contributions to conserving our nation's special places (five NPS sites memorialize Roosevelt and his contributions to conservation). On a bear hunting trip in Mississippi, Roosevelt—well-known for his interest in hunting and the outdoors—was not having any luck. Determined to find a suitable quarry for the President, his guide tracked, cornered, and tied a black bear to a tree for Roosevelt to shoot. The President considered this unsportsmanlike and refused to shoot the bear. Word of this event spread quickly, inspiring Clifford Berryman to create a political cartoon in the Washington Post. When New York shop owners, Morris and Rose Michtom, saw the cartoon, they decided to create a stuffed toy bear to sell in their store and dedicate it to Roosevelt. To this day the Teddy Bear remains popular worldwide.

Last updated: August 14, 2017