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

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 17 02:14:40 UTC 2016

Also, what did they call the buttons with a raised image of a teddy bear
that were worn during the 1904 election?


On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 4:01 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Antedating "Teddy's Bear" for a toy bear
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> Sam Clements=2C I believe=2C recently found "Teddy Bear" - for a stuffed
> be=
> ar toy=2C in the Syracuse Post Standard=2C November 20=2C 1905.
> I recently did a blog post about "Teddy Bear=2C" in which I noted that
> ther=
> e were several actual=2C live bears referred to=2C variously=2C as "Teddy"
> =
> "Theodore" or "Teddy's bears=2C" as early as 1901.
> I just found two reference to a toy bear that was sold at Theodore
> Roosevel=
> t's second inauguration parade on March 4=2C 1905.  One of the references
> d=
> escribes the bear as a wind-up dancing bear - not a stuffed=2C plush bear:
> "Fakers finding there was no longer a sale for "Teddy's bear=2C"
> photograph=
> s of the "big stick=2C" "I'm out on a --- of a time=2C" and other buttons=
> =2C decided to put something new on the market."
> Washington Times=2C march 5=2C 1905=2C page 7.
> "The air is continually rent with the cries of the fakirs who have
> everythi=
> ng from souvenir badges to "Teddy's Bear" for sale.  The latter is an
> ingen=
> ious toy in the shape of a bear=2C which=2C when wound up executes a dance
> =
> that is very amusing."
> The Katona (New York) Times=2C March 17=2C 1905=2C page 2 (from a letter
> da=
> ted=2C March 4=2C 1905).=20
> I still find it curious that the various stories about the origin of the
> to=
> y all claim it was first sold in the US in early 1903=2C named "Teddy's
> bea=
> r" at the time=2C and that it was an immediate success=3B but the earliest
> =
> evidence of stuffed "Teddy bears=2C" by that name=2C are from late 1905.
>               =
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