Happy Birthday Teddy Roosevelt

The Teddy Bear

In honor of Teddy Roosevelt’s birthday, we are taking a look back at the origins of one of the world’s favorite toys; the Teddy Bear, a quiet and cuddly friend to children for generations. But do you know where the Teddy Bear got his name?

Teddy Roosevelt

President Theodore Roosevelt was invited to go bear hunting in November of 1902 by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. The hunting party hunted in the woods near Onward, Mississippi. When the President, a noted sportsman and accomplished big game hunter, had not located a bear, the hunting party decided to take matters in hand. His assistants cornered a black bear and tied it to a tree. All President Roosevelt had to do was fire a single shot to bag his trophy. But Teddy Roosevelt was offended by the lack of sportsmanship in this enterprise, and refused to take his shot.

Of course, the public loved this story.

The Cartoon

Teddy Roosevelt was a dashing figure, well known for his years as a Rough Rider. His romantic writings about the American wilderness helped to inspire the creation of our system of National Parks. His steadfast insistence on sportsmanship on the hunt inspired newspaper articles and a famous cartoon by cartoonist Clifford Berryman.

A cartoon showing Teddy Roosevelt refusing to take a shot at a

According to history.com, what came next was a national toy craze:

Inspired by the cartoon, Brooklyn, New York, shopkeeper Morris Michtom and his wife Rose made a stuffed fabric bear in honor of America’s 26th commander-in-chief and displayed it with a sign, “Teddy’s bear,” in their store window, where it attracted interest from customers. After reportedly writing to the president and getting permission to use his name for their creation, the Michtoms went on to start a successful company that manufactured teddy bears and other toys.

The original Teddy bear

source

Meanwhile, around the same time the Michtoms developed their bear, a German company founded in 1880 by seamstress Margarete Steiff to produce soft toy animals began making a plush bruin of its own. Designed in 1902 by Steiff’s nephew Richard, who modeled it after real-life bears he’d sketched at the zoo, the mohair bear with jointed limbs debuted at a German toy fair in 1903. ()

“Teddy’s bears” were an immediate and enduring hit with children.

A collage of old photos of children holding

They even inspired their own book series about the Roosevelt Bears! Author Seymour Eaton expounded on the international adventures of two bear cubs. Read about these books and see their absolutely charming illustrations here: Roosevelt Bears

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Pendleton Bears

Teddy bears remain one of the world’s favorite toys, and here at Pendleton, we have our own favorites. Our Teddys are National Park Teddys, to honor the president and the parks he helped inspire. We currently have bears for Grand Canyon and Badlands parks.

Pendleton teddy bears wearing hats and carves with National Park Stirpes.

 

We love their park-stripe hats and mufflers, their huggable tummies, but most of all we love their floppy feet. You can learn more about our bears here: Pendleton Teddy Bears

And happy birthday to the old Rough Rider himself!

Thank you, Everyone: Your Gift to the National Parks.

Thank you for your support!

Throughout 2016, we have been donating a portion of the proceeds from all our National Park Collection merchandise to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to help support restoration and preservation of two historic national park landmarks. All of our National Park Collection collaboration partners have donated as well. This means that with  every purchase you’ve made, you’ve also made a donation!

“Every single dollar that was donated through your purchases makes a big difference for these incredible gems in our national parks and the people who visit them,” said Susan Newton, Senior Vice President of Grants and Programs at the National Park Foundation. “Ensuring that our national parks and historic sites are preserved well into the future is a responsibility that we proudly share with you, and we are grateful to partners like Pendleton for supporting this goal.”

Projects in Process

Take a look at the two projects you’re helping to make possible:

Fountain and spiral stair at Lake Level of Many Glacier Hotel. Courtesy Glacier National Park

Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park 

Many Glacier, a beautiful Swiss style lodge nestled in an unparalleled mountain panorama in Glacier National Park, is often called the most photogenic of the great National Park Lodges. Pendleton’s contribution is supporting the restoration of the historic lobby of the Many Glacier Hotel, including rebuilding of the helical stairway.

Many Glacier Hotel’s helical stairs were completed in 1917 as the hotel’s showpiece. The grand helix-shaped staircase led to a magnificent upper-floor lake view, but was removed in the 1950s, along with historic lighting fixtures. The removal of the staircase and lighting fixtures led to the gradual degradation of the historic character of this renowned National Historic Landmark.

Nikki Eisinger, Director of Development, Glacier National Park Conservancy, said of the project, “Many Glacier reflects majestically over Swiftcurrent Lake and is often referred to as ‘The Lady’ in our park.  To recreate the historic look and feel of The Lady has been an incredible undertaking. We are so grateful for the support to make these renovations possible.  When the replica of her original iconic helical stairway is installed this spring, and the lobby restoration is complete, we will have truly done this architectural gem a huge historic favor, having restored her to her original grandeur.”

VIntage photo of the Grand Canyon depot.

Grand Canyon Train Depot, Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon Train Depot in Grand Canyon Village is one of the park’s “front doors,” serving as a major arrival point for thousands of visitors each year and used as a meeting place for adventurers for over 100 years. This National Historic Landmark is one of the park’s most-photographed man made structures. Pendleton’s contributions are helping improve accessibility and preserve the character of this popular landmark for the future.

“The depot is currently open and currently operated by Grand Canyon Railroad,” said Craig Chenevert of Grand Canyon National Park. “The project is quite extensive, and with support from Pendleton we will begin the process to update the depot’s Historic Structure Report. This document will include an updated and prioritized treatment plan that will inform the sequence of future work.”

Progress! It’s thanks to you.

And the helical stairs? Well, just look!

Interior hshot of the Many Glacier Hotel helical stair site, in construction.The Many Glacier Hotel Lobby is being returned to its original and curious decor. Louis Hill’s vision of an East-meets-West style, with Japanese lanterns and log lodge architecture, designed to lure tourists to experience Glacier National Park via the Great Northern Express, will be re-created.

A shot from the interior balcony of the Many Glacier Hotel mezzanine, showing the original footprint of the Helical Stairs on the wooden floor.This photo shows where the floor of the Lobby was filled in over 50 years ago after the removal of the original double helix staircase. By the opening of the hotel next June, the staircase replica will be installed in this spot, and the lobby will be more like it appeared for the first half of The Lady’s life.

It’s really something to see that old footprint for the stairs revealed, isn’t it? A piece of history that will soon be functional and fantastic.

Photo Credit: Glacier National Park Conservancy