T is for … Teddy Bears

I am a teddy bear collector – an arctophile – and here are some of my little teddy bears. I have a collection of miniature bears (and one or two bigger ones too). Shown below is a selection of some of them.

Seated above are some little Steiff bears, which are smaller versions of the originals, Hermann bears, Boyds bears, Chad Valley bears and Merrythought bears amongst others and they all have names. Some are ‘One of a kind’, like Tyler Major, who is very heavy as he is weighted with lead shot. Then there is Edmund Bear from St Edmund Hall, Oxford University – he is wearing a navy blue jumper and a brown bow. The little dark brown bear at the front wearing a black hat and pink ribbons is Simone.

I began collecting them several years ago, beginning with Little Big Ted, who was taken by his maker to meet the Queen:

He is my favourite, as sadly I no longer have my childhood teddy bear.

To go with my bears I have a small selection of teddy bear books:

From top to bottom they are:

  • The Treasury of Teddy Bear Tales – a collection of twelve tales , from comic to nostalgic.
  • Make Your Own Classic Bears – 14 Heirloom Designs by Julia Jones. This defines a ‘classic’ bear as one with lightly curved paws, feet that are long in proportion to its height, a small head with a long, pointed muzzle, black boot button eyes and a nose and mouth either embroidered with black thread or made with an oval of black leather, and pads on its paws and either no claws or one stitched in black.
  • The Teddy Bear Book: a Voyage of Discovery into the Origins of Our Favourite Toy by Maureen Stanford and Amanda O’Neill – over 700 photos of teddy bears from all over the world. This is a mine of information on teddy bears from their history to their design, care and repair.
  • The Ultimate Teddy Bear Book by Pauline Cockrill – more photos of historical bears as well as modern teddy bear personalities, such as Winnie the Pooh and Rupert Bear, complete with a data panel of Bear Essentials to help distinguish between the different types of bear.

Some Teddy Bear History

In America: Morris Michtom (a Russian immigrant) had the idea of making a cuddly bear after seeing a cartoon of President Roosevelt refusing to shoot a tethered bear cub. His wife made the bears and sent one to the President asking  to call it ‘Teddy’ after his first name, Theodore.

In Germany: A seamstress called Marguerite Steiff made soft toys and her nephew wanted an alternative to a doll and he thought of a bear. The first one was ‘Friend Petz’ in 1903, shown at the Leipzig Toy Fair, where it was seen by Hermann Berg, an American buyer for a New York company. By the 1920s bears were being made in Britain as well as in Germany and the US.

This is an  ABC Wednesday post.

14 thoughts on “T is for … Teddy Bears

  1. You have a wonderful collection. I have a Teddy Bear on my bed that has been there for several years. A gift from my grandson, who said he had outgrown it, and I needed it cause I was “old”.


  2. Big Red is positively weighed down by that magnificent ribbon bow! You certainly have a great collection!


  3. Oh my goodness, Little Big Ted is so cute! What a great collection. I still have Blue Bear, my childhood bear (although he’s not very blue anymore, as most of his fur has worn off!).


  4. Oh I love teddy bears and have a small collection bought from charity shops I also obtained a gorgeous little desk from freecycle and 2 teddy bears fit in so nicely This is at the top of our stairs. You must check out Bob T Bear (Esq) on my blogroll – Bob has his own blog and loves to meet teddybear enthusiasts.
    Thanks so much for contributing – had any snow yet?
    ABC Team


  5. Land’s End stores had a series of teddy bears years ago that were a coach and his rugby team. My husband bought me Coach Paul “Bear” Bear and I still have him although he’s dressed a little more like a beach bum now. He’s named after Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, a longtime college football coach here in the U.S. The members of the team were very cute but I have only Coach Bear. I also have a little white bear with a blue ribbon that my husband bought for me when I had a hysterectomy back in the 1970s. That prompted one of the nurses who came on shift for the first time since I had been in the hospital to ask if I had just had a baby boy. Poor thing was so embarrassed when I told her what surgery I had just had!


  6. I saw the subject of today’s post and got very excited…I have a collection of Boyds Bears; so many that they have to rotate in and out of my house (from their storage boxes in the garage). Sometimes I use photos of them as blog headers, and other times, I snap photos of them with books.

    My daughter’s mother-in-law collects Steiff bears.

    My first bear, of course, was my childhood teddy bear that I clung to until it was almost shredded.

    I started collecting in earnest in 2002 when I worked at an agency in which a colleague had numerous Boyds Bears in her office. I liked the idea of “families” of bears, as we were a foster family agency. She connected me to online sellers she trusted, and I also regularly visited the Country Clutter store in the neighborhood.


  7. Beautiful collection – I was going to photograph mine but they don’t compare (though I love them!) I keep looking at Steiff bears and thinking how much my grandchildren (that is, me!) would love them. I should have started with the first child and bought them sequentially – but I didn’t!
    I love teddy bears 🙂


  8. I love the picture and the reminder of the history. Somehow it just won’t stick–I can’t get it into my head that teddy bears are a fairly recent invention. They seem to have been around always, out of necessity.


  9. What a beautiful selection of teddies. I love your favorite one too. How many do you actually have in your collection? Great choice for celebrating T.

    My mom collects too.


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