Teddy Bears & President Roosevelt
It all started with a hunting trip President Theodore Roosevelt took in 1902, in Mississippi, at the invitation of Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. After three days of hunting, other members of the party had spotted bears, but not Roosevelt. Now what? The President's bear hunt would be a failure! The next day, the hunt guides tracked down an old black bear that the dogs had trailed quite a distance and attacked. The guides tied the bear to a willow tree and called for the President. Here was a bear for him to shoot!
Roosevelt took one look at the old bear and refused to shoot it. He felt doing so would be unsportsmanlike. However, since it was injured and suffering, Roosevelt ordered that the bear be put down to end its pain. Word of this hit newspapers across the country, and political cartoonist Clifford Berryman picked up on the story, drawing a cartoon showing how President Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear while hunting in Mississippi.
The original cartoon, which ran in the Washington Post on November 16, 1902, shows Roosevelt standing in front. The guide and bear are in the background, and they’re about the same size. Later, similar cartoons appeared, but the bear was smaller and shaking with fear. This bear cub then appeared in other cartoons Clifford Berryman drew throughout Roosevelt’s career. That connected bears with President Roosevelt.
The Teddy Bear connection came when a Brooklyn, NY candy shop owner, Morris Michtom, saw Clifford Berryman’s original cartoon of Roosevelt and the bear and had an idea. He put two stuffed toy bears his wife had made in his shop window. Michtom asked permission from President Roosevelt to call these toy bears "Teddy's bears". The rapid popularity of these bears led Michtom to mass-produce them, eventually forming the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.
At about the same time, the Germany company Steiff, started making stuffed bears. Margaret Steiff earned her living by sewing, first by making stuffed elephants, then other animals. In 1903, an American saw a stuffed bear she had made and ordered many of them. These bears, which also came to be called Teddy Bears, made the international connection. (This article is taken from the Theodore Roosevelt Association website – theodoreroosevelt.org, and the cartoon appears there as well.)
The Buttons - The buttons in the photo were made around 1920, and measure 1.9 cm in diameter. The backs are japanned steel, the gilded brass bear is inserted/attached beneath a coloured celluloid cut-out. The front of the second button has blue celluloid.
CLUB JOURNALS - Update 27/12/2020
Our February and March meetings were the only ones we were able to hold in 2020, and the topics for both meetings were recorded in the May Journal. The August and November Journals were not produced.
BUTTON BANTER is now up and running for members only. It has its own heading at the top of the Home page which you can see once you log in. Click on this heading to view contributions. If you want to add an item use 'Add Button Banter' under the Member Menu on the right of that screen or the Home page.
Button Banter is for you to share your button interests with other Club members, ask advice or give feedback. You can also see other members buttons or Button Challenge Cards or join in and show your own. It is preferable to post your photo in portrait format.