Act of mercy created the Teddy Bear

Alec Acosta-Vega, Staff Member

Before  Theodore Roosevelt became a president, he was a big game hunter. As President, Theodore Roosevelt had a wish to hunt and bring down a bear. In 1902, he was invited to a hunting expedition by Mississippi governor, Andrew H. Longino.

Other hunters captured an old bear that they had been tracking for three days and tied him up.

When President Roosevelt saw the poor bear tied up, he refused to shoot it. His fellow hunters were shocked, but they released the old bear. Roosevelt found that shooting a tied up animal was unsportsmanlike conduct. He found it appropriate to let it go and die a natural death. The story came to the ears of newspaper writers and cartoonists all over the country. Before long a cartoon, drawn by Clifford Berryman, published a cartoon of Theodore Roosevelt refusing to kill the bear.

Inspired by the cartoon, Morris Michtom, a New York candy store owner, displayed two brown stuffed teddy bears in his shop window that his wife had made. Michtom wrote to the President and asked for permission to call these bears “Teddy Bears.” Thus the teddy bear was born. This earned President Roosevelt the nickname Teddy Roosevelt.

To this day, teddy bears have become even more popular and it was all thanks to a kind-hearted fair minded President who refused to shoot a bound up bear. Image taken from “Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches” by Theodore Roosevelt  originally published in this form in 1902