You want to get a perfect gift for a lady on her birthday, on Christmas, on Valentine’s day; or for any kid at any time, a teddy bear is just what you should go for. Today, it means much more than just a toy in ladies’ hearts that some have serious conversations with their teddy bears and give them sweet names, and call them as if they’d respond. It’s the answer to loneliness with some, and a comforter in times of sorrow to others; they cry and sorrow quietly clutched to their lovely teddy bears who would never break their hearts like men do. Teddy bears have become these little angels most girls can’t do without and a lovely toy most kids love. But how did we come about these stuffed little angels?

The name Teddy Bear comes from former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was “Teddy”. According to reports by The Washington Post, the name originated from an incident on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi. On November 14, 1902, Roosevelt was helping settle a border dispute between Mississippi and Louisiana. During his spare time he was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino to a bear hunt in Mississippi. During the hunt, Roosevelt came upon a wounded young bear and ordered the mercy killing of the animal. The Washington Post ran a editorial cartoon created by the political cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman that illustrated the event. The cartoon was called “Drawing the Line in Mississippi” and depicted both state line dispute and the bear hunt. At first Berryman drew the bear as a fierce animal, the bear had just killed a hunting dog. Later, Berryman redrew the bear to make it a cuddly cub. The cartoon and the story it told became popular and within a year, the cartoon bear became a toy for children called the teddy bear.

Morris Michtom saw the drawing of Roosevelt and the bear cub and was inspired to create a new toy. He created a little stuffed bear cub and sent it to Roosevelt for permission to use his name “Teddy” for the bear which Roosevelt granted. He put one in his shop window with a sign that read “Teddy’s bear”. The toys were an immediate success and Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

The craze for the teddy bear has been around ever since; ladies carried them everywhere, children were photographed with them, and Roosevelt used one as a mascot in his bid for re-election in 1906. American educator Seymour Eaton wrote the children’s book series The Roosevelt Bears. Composer John Bratton also wrote “The Teddy Bear Two Step” which, with the addition of Jimmy Kennedy’s lyrics, became the song “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic”. Books like Winnie-the-Pooh, Corduroy, Teddy Tells Time, and Teddy Dressing have also been written with the teddy bear as their main character.

Teddy bear museums have also sprang up from the famous toy. The world’s first teddy bear museum was set up in Petersfield, Hampshire, England, in 1984. In 1990, a similar foundation was set up in Naples, Florida, United States. These were closed in 2006 and 2005 respectively, and the bears were sold in auctions, but there are today many teddy bear museums around the world.

When police, fire and emergency officials found that giving a teddy bear to a child during a crisis stabilized and calmed them, NAPLC created the Teddy Bear Cops program to distribute teddy bears to police, fire, and emergency officials throughout the United States, for their use in providing teddy bears to children in emergency situations.

The teddy bear went another step further by inspiring Teddy bear festivals which have now become popular around the world, taking place in Australia, America, Canada, Great Britain, Japan and Germany.

Although the teddy bear was made predominantly a toy for kids, it has warmed its way into the hearts of all girls irrespective of their age. Some popular mass-marketed teddy bears made today include Rupert, Sooty, Paddington, and Pudsey Bear.

At the rate at which girls own teddy bears today, even more than kids whom the teddy bear was made for, hardly won’t 8 out of every 10 girls own at least a teddy bear, with some having several of different colours. Girls are so crazy about teddy bears today for reasons best known to them. The way they cling to their teddy bears when lonely may give a clue that they see it as a worthy companion. Some personalize their teddy bear, naming it after someone they love, and they hold it tight when they miss the person. Who cares if a girl’s love for teddy bears will be so much that she owns twenty as much as the makers of teddy bears keep smiling to the bank with increasing sales.

How crazy are you about your teddy bear? I once met a girl in class at a University with her teddy sharing space with her big books. A girlfriend once introduced me to her teddy bear. She named her Natasha. Kids I bet are never going to win back the battle of owning the teddy bear like the inventors intended with more girls falling in love with the teddy bear daily. I’m not sure I’ve seen a girl’s bed without at least a teddy bear for so many years now. Even my friend, a guy has two on his bed. For the teddy bear we say God bless Theodore Roosevelt! God bless Clifford Berryman! God bless Morris Michtom! I guess I will get one too and name it Ruth.

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