Paper Archives Photographs

Origins of the Teddy Bear

Theodore Roosevelt
Call Number: Z/1813 James Ventress Papers (MDAH Collection)

On November 14, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was hunting in the Mississippi Delta, and because he wasn’t having much success, his companions captured a small bear and brought it to him to shoot. Roosevelt refused and once the newspapers (and toymakers) got a hold of the story, the “Teddy Bear” was born, to the delight of children everywhere.

Here, Roosevelt is pictured second from left on one of his trips to Mississippi at the Galloway House in Jackson. The photograph is from the James Alexander Ventress papers, one of the many manuscript holdings in the MDAH collection.

Source: John K. Bettersworth, Mississippi Yesterday and Today (Austin, Texas: The Steck Company, Publishers, 1964), 276.