Unit 6: Social Studies Connection

Learn More

History of the Teddy Bear

Teddy bears have been a popular toy for many children over the years. The soft, stuffed bears come in many shapes, sizes, and styles.

The teddy bear was named for Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. He was also known as Teddy. Teddy Roosevelt was out hunting one day in 1903. Some of his helpers trapped a bear, and tied it to a tree, so that the president would have an easy target.

But Teddy did not think this was fair. He refused to shoot the bear and told his helpers to set it free. The scene was shown as a newspaper cartoon by Clifford Berryman. It was printed in many newspapers around the country.

One person who saw the cartoon was Morris Michtom. He was a shopkeeper in Brooklyn, New York. He made a stuffed bear, and put it in his store window with a copy of the cartoon. Soon, demand for the teddy bears skyrocketed.

At the same time, a woman in Germany named Margarete Steiff began making her own stuffed bears. The Steiff bears had long arms, hunched backs, and a trademark button in their left ears. Teddy bears became more and more popular in America, and the Steiff bears were one of the favorites.

Over the years, teddy bears have become a favorite toy for children and adults alike. Some of the original teddy bears and Steiff bears sell for many thousands of dollars.

1902:

Teddy Roosevelt's famous hunting trip
Berryman's cartoon is printed by The Washington Post
Morris Michtom creates and sells the first teddy bears

1903:

The first Steiff bear is introduced.

1906:

Teddy bears become extremely popular with children and adults. Some fashionable ladies carry their own teddy bears with them.

Word Wise

demand:
A need or desire: The cold weather created a demand for heated blankets.

skyrocket:
To rise or cause to rise rapidly: The shortage of gasoline caused prices to skyrocket.

hunched:
Bent over: Paul hunched over his garden to pull out the weeds.

trademark:
Something that makes an item or person special: The movie star flashed her trademark smile.

Back to Article

Activity

Imagine that you have made a new product and need to ask your boss to manufacture it. Write a paragraph telling about the product. Why do you think it will make money? Be sure to use each of the Word Wise words.

Data Hunt

Design some new teddy bears. Draw five pictures of teddy bears, each with a unique look. Decide how much each of the teddy bears should cost, and write the price below each picture.

Imagine that you have been asked to present your line of teddy bears to a large toy company. The toy company wants to know how many of each bear they would have to sell to make $100.

For example, if Bumblebee Teddy costs $2 and Baker Teddy costs $1, you could say:

We could sell 50 Bumblebee Teddies to make $100.
Or:
We could sell 100 Baker Teddies to make $100.
Or:
We could sell 25 Bumblebee Teddies and 50 Baker Teddies to make $100.