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Topics in Chronicling America - Teddy Bear

Dismissed as a short-lived fad, the Teddy Bear was so closely tied to Theodore Roosevelt that it was predicted to end with his presidency. Plush toys like “Billy Possum” attempted to usurp Teddy’s legacy but the bear lived on, capturing the hearts of Americans of all ages before quickly becoming the best-selling toy in the nation. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Picture of several teddy bears.

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • November 6, 1902: Theodore Roosevelt refuses to kill a bear while hunting, later inspiring a cartoon parody.
  • February, 1903: Roosevelt meets the parody's creator, Berryman the “Bear Man.”
  • January 3, 1906: A new illustrated series called “The Roosevelt Bears” debuts in the papers.
  • November, 1906: The Teddy Bear toy craze picks up steam, with dolls and pets being replaced.
  • August 4, 1907: A Teddy Bear drama is planned for the stage.
  • December 15, 1907: The Teddy Bear makes its way onto almost every child’s Christmas wish list.
  • April 10, 1909: The popular but ultimately short-lived “Billy Possum” challenges the success of the Teddy Bear.
  • 1910: Teddy Bear mania hits England, with the number of bears outnumbering children in that country, and begins spreading to Russia and Japan.
  • 1914: The outbreak of the Great War and resulting restrictions of European imports causes a great boost for the American manufacture of Teddy Bears.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Teddy Bear, Roosevelt, Berryman, Billy Possum, Steiff, toy, fad.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results. The peak of the Teddy Bear craze was in 1907 so most articles will be from that year.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  June 30, 2015
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