[Ads-l] Antedating "Teddy's Bear" for a toy bear

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 16 20:01:15 UTC 2016

Sam Clements, I believe, recently found "Teddy Bear" - for a stuffed bear toy, in the Syracuse Post Standard, November 20, 1905.

I recently did a blog post about "Teddy Bear," in which I noted that there were several actual, live bears referred to, variously, as "Teddy" "Theodore" or "Teddy's bears," as early as 1901.

I just found two reference to a toy bear that was sold at Theodore Roosevelt's second inauguration parade on March 4, 1905.  One of the references describes the bear as a wind-up dancing bear - not a stuffed, plush bear:

"Fakers finding there was no longer a sale for "Teddy's bear," photographs of the "big stick," "I'm out on a --- of a time," and other buttons, decided to put something new on the market."
Washington Times, march 5, 1905, page 7.

"The air is continually rent with the cries of the fakirs who have everything from souvenir badges to "Teddy's Bear" for sale.  The latter is an ingenious toy in the shape of a bear, which, when wound up executes a dance that is very amusing."
The Katona (New York) Times, March 17, 1905, page 2 (from a letter dated, March 4, 1905). 

I still find it curious that the various stories about the origin of the toy all claim it was first sold in the US in early 1903, named "Teddy's bear" at the time, and that it was an immediate success; but the earliest evidence of stuffed "Teddy bears," by that name, are from late 1905. 		 	   		  
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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