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15 February
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The First Teddy Bear

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Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Bear

Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Bear

The first Teddy Bear was the brain child of Morris Michtom who was inspired by the political cartoon above.  The cartoon was drawn by Clifford K. Berryman and called “Drawing the Line in Mississippi,” where President Theodore Roosevelt is depicted showing compassion for a small bear cub.  Michtom liked the cartoon and showed it to his wife, Rose.  Rose went to create the teddy bear.  On February 15, 1903 the Russian Jewish immigrant placed the little teddy bear in his shop window at 404 Tompkins Avenue, New York.

It was donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History where it is currently on display.  After the creation of the bear in late 1902, the sale of the bears was so brisk that Michtom created the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.  Through many mergers the company was eventually part of Mattel.

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11 January
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Grand Canyon Becomes a National Monument

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Theodore Roosevelt declared the massive Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument on this day 105 years ago. The Spanish explorer Coronado was the first European to set eyes on this modern day national park back in 1540. If you have ever been there you know that the canyon is really in the middle of nowhere, which is why it took American settlers until 1869 to discover it. John Wesley Powell, a geologist lead a group there.

Roosevelt made environmental conservation a major part of his presidency. Although only Congress can create national parks, Roosevelt created a new presidential practice of making places national monuments. He stated,

“Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”

It was not a national park until 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act.

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