One of the few facts I remember from the mind-blowingly boring History of the American Presidency class I took in college is that the teddy bear was inspired by President Teddy Roosevelt. At the time, I thought the first bears actually had the face of the president with the body of a bear. This seemed a creepy toy to offer a small child. Thankfully there is a bit more to the story.
So the legend goes like this:
President Roosevelt went on a four-day bear hunt in Mississippi and the only opportunity he had to kill a bear was a cornered bear cub that had been tied to a tree. When he saw the cub, he refused to kill it, saying something along the lines of how he couldn’t look his sons in the face if he did.
A cartoonist traveling with the group captured the moment, and little stuffed bear cubs called Teddy’s bears started popping up in stores. They were instantly popular and have remained so ever since.
It’s a charming story.
But an incomplete one.
Try as I might to Google (shout out to the birthday site!) the rest of the story, I could not find a version where President Roosevelt called the trip a thrilling success when he shot the cretin who tied the cub to the tree.