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Drawing The Line In Mississippi - The Teddy Bear Story

Drawing The Line by Clifford K. Berryman "Drawing The Line"
by Clifford K. Berryman

We can thank Theodore Roosevelt and Clifford K. Berryman for a political cartoon giving the treasured toy Teddy Bear it name.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was the 26th president of the United States. A Republican, he is noted for his many achievements and high spirited personality. He was a popular family man and before becoming President, he held offices at the city, state, and federal levels. Roosevelt's achievements included author, explorer, hunter, and soldier.

Clifford K. Berryman was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist with the Washington Star newspaper from 1907-1949. He was also a cartoonist for The Washington Post from 1891-1907. The image on the left appeared in the Washington Post on November 16, 1902 and was titled "Drawing The Line In Mississippi".

In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt nicknamed "Teddy" became president of the United States. Roosevelt loved the outdoor life and went hunting often before and after he was president. In 1902, Roosevelt was invited to help straighten out a border dispute between Louisiana and Mississippi. While in Mississippi President Theodore Roosevelt embarked on a four day bear hunting trip. President Roosevelt was unlucky, and his only chance of a kill was a bear cub cornered and tied to a tree. He refused to shoot the small bear cub.

The incident was illustrated in the Washington Post by the political cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman on November 16, 1902. Through Berryman and The Washington Post, the little bear came to symbolize the President and was featured in many of the Berryman's subsequent cartoons. Some of which are shown below.

1904 Clifford K. Berryman Cartoon

1904 Self-portrait of Clifford Berryman

1909 Clifford K. Berryman Cartoon

To Go or Not to Go? March 2, 1909
Clifford K. Berryman

Clifford K. Berryman drew this cartoon just two days before the end of President Theodore Roosevelt's second term in office as Roosevelt prepared for a African safari. Berry continued to use the Teddy Bear symbol once Roosevelt left office.

1904 Morris Michtom Teddy Bear

1904 Morris Michtom "Teddy Bear"

Soon after Berryman's cartoon appeared, Morris Michtom the owner of a gift shop in Brooklyn, New York displayed a plush bear made by his wife and labeled it a "Teddy Bear".

Morris Michtom's Teddy Bear was an instant sucess. Michtom, along with a large wholesale company, Butler Brothers, began to created stuffed Teddy Bears and sell them everywhere.

Sales of the new Teddy Bear were so strong that Morris Michtom with the backing of the Butler Brothers established the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company. The Ideal Novelty and Toy Company was the first toy company to produce a Teddy Bear in the United States.

As interest in the Teddy Bear was developing in the United States a German company founded by Margarete Steiff began producing bear dolls. By 1903 the New York wholesaler George Borgfeldt & Co. began selling these bear dolls marketed as Teddy Bears in the U. S.

1909 Clifford K. Berryman Cartoon

Clifford K. Berryman Cartoon

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