Bears, Teddy Bears …and their friends
Is there anybody who does not know the comforting stuffed toy that had become a symbol of our childhood years? If we held an opinion poll as to its popularity, it would win as a first of the whole twentieth century. Its sincere look was sure to have made it so popular. It brings happiness and content into the soul of every child. Even adults like to think of times when they hugged and whispered their important joys and cares into his ear. The Teddy bear had found a path into the hearts of boys and girls more than a hundred years ago.
The first one was born in 1902 in a stuffed toy factory in the town of Giengen near the German city of Ulm to his father- designer Richard Steiff. At first he just lay quietly, unsaleable, at the Leipzig spring trade fair, but on the last day, he attracted a buyer from an American firm to such measure, that he immediately ordered 3000 of his brothers. As in a fairytale, further mortals started to hunt for them and in 1907 an incredible 975,000stuffed bears left the factory, 90% of which went to the USA. Let’s change the subject now: a bear has something in common with the American National Parks. It was in November 1902 that organizers of a bear hunt wanted to bring President Theodore Roosevelt, who had no luck in hunting, a captured bear, to shoot. The president resolutely refused the offer. When the Washington Post newspaper published the story, the president gained a new face as a protector of nature. While he was in office, 800 000 m2 of land was decreed as a natural reservation, and the bear became a national symbol. And the Teddy bear? He received the name of his protector, the nickname, Teddy.
The exhibition will be held until 24. 2. 2008 at the Museum hl. m. Prahy.Olga Szymanská
Translated by Paula Schultz
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