Perhaps the longest lived and most popular fad ever, the Teddy Bear has become a fixture in the life of almost every child in the United States. In the early part of the 20th century, it was probably the most important object in a child’s nursery.
The Teddy Bear doll was developed in response to the popularity of the story of an encounter between a small bear cub and Teddy Roosevelt. The adventurous United States President was on a hunting trip in Mississippi when he wandered upon a defenseless bear cub. He refused to shoot the small animal and the event was depicted a cartoon in the Washington Star newspaper. The story became legendary and captured the hearts of the American public and soon, small sawdust filled bear dolls were be created. Eventually, these became known as Teddy Bears in honor of the President.
Quickly, Teddy Bear mania swept the country as they ended up not only in every child’s room, but also appeared in newspaper and magazine adventure stories and children’s books. They also appeared on plates, blankets, hats and other household items. Eventually, however, the mania began to fade when Roosevelt decided not to seek reelection. While the mania did not last, America’s love affair with the bear dolls certainly did.