Suma and staff enjoyed National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work day today! Watch the video to join in the fun!

Not to be confused with National Teddy Bear Day which is celebrated on September 9 each year, National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work/School Day is celebrated on the second Wednesday in October. The name “Teddy Bear” comes from former President Theodore Roosevelt (although, interestingly, he really didn’t like being called Teddy). In 1902, U.S. toymaker Morris Michtom saw a cartoon in the newspaper that showed Roosevelt trying to save a bear during a hunting trip. The drawing inspired Michtom to make a small, soft, cuddly stuffed bear cub. After sending a bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to use his name, Michtom placed the bear in a shop window with a sign saying “Teddy’s bear”. Michtom ended up founding the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company after the teddy bear became a huge and instant success.

At the same time as all of this was going on in the United States, a German company called Steiff was coincidentally (that means due to chance or luck) developing its own stuffed bears. Steiff was founded by Margarete Steiff in 1880 but Richard Steiff, Margarete’s nephew, was responsible for the creation of the Steiff bears. While attending the School of Arts and Crafts in Stuttgart, Germany he often visited a nearby zoo and spent hours drawing the bears on exhibit there – – Those sketches were used when he developed the first model of his bear in 1902. Steiff began selling the bears when they became popular after being displayed at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903 and at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. As you can see, Michtom and Steiff were both making teddy bears at around the same time, but they probably didn’t know anything about each other because transatlantic communication wasn’t very good.

And now we come to Suma’s part in the story of the teddy bear. In another coincidence (you remember what that means), Suma was also created by Steiff! We know this because she wears a small metal “Steiff” clip in her ear! And…wait for it…Many of Suma’s best friends happen to be bears! With the exception of humans, pumas have the largest range of any terrestrial (that means living on land) mammal in the western hemisphere! During her long life, Suma has traveled extensively (that means a lot) and a few of the special bear buddies she has met along the way include Oliver from Canada, Emma from the United States, Luciana from Argentina, and Mateo from Chile. In honor of National Bring Your Bear to Work/School Day, Suma decided to have a picnic with both her human and stuffed friends!

Looking for books about teddy bears? Suma and her library pals recommend the following:

Cover image for My friend Bear
My Friend Bear by Jez Alborough

Cover image for Where's my teddy?
Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough