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.