History of the Teddy Bear: Are The Origin Stories True?

Unraveling History and Cultural Significance of Teddy Bears

The origin stories of the teddy bear are as sweet–and true– as the cuddly teddies themselves. Here we are discovering the cute ways teddy bears nestled into the hearts of children generation after generation, and why adults are now proudly embracing teddies as part of self-care. As we look back on the enchanting story of the teddy bear, we see the timeless allure these lovable companions hold and see how they embody the meaning of love, warmth, and enduring friendship.

The Story of the Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear History Timeline.

The beauty of the teddy bear is that each carries the magic of memories. Teddy bears transcends culture, class, and creed, symbolizing a steadfast and huggable friend. Their enduring appeal stems from what they represent in each of our lives. For some teddies are a childhood buddy, or a gift we received from someone we love, for others they are a symbol of comfort in times of stress. They reach out to all ages, uniting us in moments where we connect with those around us. Giving teddies to one another is how we show we care. 

Their soft, plush warm embrace provides gentle reassurance in times of need and serves as a cuddly memento of the moments worth celebrating. Most of all, teddies help us remember the day we received them, transporting us back to when a parent cared for us, a friend became more like a sister, or a crush finally shared their true feelings. The story of the teddy bear is one of love, in whatever form they were given.

From Rough Origins to Cuddly Companions

Original Teddy Bear with Historical Roots

The origin of teddy bears is a tale as captivating as the plush companions themselves. It’s easy to assume that teddy bears have always been the cuddly toy of children everywhere but in fact, they were dreamt up by a New York shop owner in the early 1900s (although there is some dispute on the man behind teddy bear creation). Teddy bear history is filled with sparks of creativity, each figure capitalizing on an idea in a moment in time, furthering their own circumstances. The origin story of the teddy is representative of the American dream. 

It begins with President Theodore Roosevelt, who went on a bear hunting trip in Onward, Mississippi in November of 1902 with Governor Andrew H. Longino. While Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman, he had not been able to “bag” a bear on this particular trip. His staff worried that the President would be embarrassed to leave empty handed, as others had been successful. The President’s assistant, a man named Holt Collier, tied a bear up to a willow tree so that Roosevelt could shoot it. President Roosevelt refused to kill the bear, not because he was softhearted (he once was shot during a speech and finished!). He declined because he felt the nature of the catch was unsportsmanlike.

News of the hunting trip spread through papers across the United States, as the idea that Roosevelt, a big game hunter, would not kill a bear seemed funny, maybe even slightly embarrassing for the commander-in-chief. Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew the event in the Washington Post titled “Drawing the Line in Mississippi". Berryman first depicted the bear as a monster and then changed it to be a cuddly sweet bear. The cartoon was widely viewed, notably by a Jewish Russian immigrant shop owner named Morris Michtom. 

The cartoon gave Michtom the idea to call the toy bears his wife Rose had made for their candy and novelty shop in Brooklyn ‘Teddy’s Bear”’. It’s important to note a man named Richard Steiff in Germany also asserted a claim to the origin of teddy bears. However it’s the American cultural context that propelled Michtom’s teddy bear to the level of success. By the following year, Michtom had asked permission from the president to mass produce the studded animal and the rest is teddy bear history. The historical significance of teddy bears is touted as a way to honor President Roosevelt while also being highly creative and perhaps just a bit cheeky. Teddy Roosevelt is famously quoted as saying “The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it” and his sweet story of the pardoned bear has become folklore, endearing these plush cuddly teddies to people worldwide.

Teddy Bears in Culture: Symbols and Traditions

While some of the cultural symbolism of teddy bears varies from place to place, much of their meaning remains consistent. In Western cultures, teddy bears often represent childhood or young love. They are often given in celebration of good times or as comfort objects in times of strife. Teddy bears are often shown in Western folklore to protect children as they sleep, fending off nightmares and soothing them to sweet dreams. 

When we zoom out and look at global perspectives on teddy bears we see that they symbolize emotional healing and love and comfort. Much of this meaning stems from difficult times, when the world needed something to hold close to, that would provide a soft cuddle of safety and comfort. Many cultures use Teddy bears in traditions such as Valentine's Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, Birthdays, and anniversaries. Even now, we see the global love of teddy bears in literature and film, with iconic characters like Winnie-the-Pooh and Paddington Bear being adored by kids far and wild. These cute cuddly bears symbolize the innocence of childhood, playing their part as trusted confidants to kids, supporting them through the ups and downs of life, and showing the true meaning of friendship.

Evolution and Adaptation: Teddy Bears Today

Microwavable, lavender-scented Warmies.

Teddy bears in popular culture have evolved and adapted to reflect the changing world around them. In the 19th century the English fairytale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, about a young girl searching for her “just right” comfort, became popular and it remains a staple in nurseries today. Yogi Bear, debuted in 1958, followed in the 60s with stories such as Disney’s Jungle Book, television shows like Care Bears and films like Brave. They all use bears and teddy bears to tell enduring tales of familial bonds, strength of character, and hope while shifting in design and sentiment to mirror the time of their release. 

The timeline of the history of the teddy bear spotlights the values of each cultural era. Teddy bears historically offered support during and post world wars, later shifting into collector's items. In the 80s with pop art, limited edition teddy bears reigned supreme, along with bears designed in collaboration with the artists of the time. The 1990s and early 2000s were the height of the pop culture teddy as seen with the plush toy Teddy Ruxpin and Beanie Babies. Now, we see that modern advancements and wellness features are the new wave of these cuddly cuties. 

Modern teddy bears from the late 20th century and beyond incorporate all sorts of digital and therapeutic advancements, from interactive capabilities to wellness features. Teddy bears in the digital age had batteries and built-in mechanisms so they could be interactive, either playing music or responding with sweet phrases. As many of the old-school teddy bears are now collectibles, companies took notice and continue to release limited edition teddies to commemorate special occasions. Since the global pandemic COVID-19, a growing number of people have invested or reinvested in their physical and mental health. The shift towards wellness can be seen in contemporary teddy bear trends, with Warmies leading the pack. 

Warmies are weighted with flaxseed to boost relaxation during bedtime snuggles. Not unlike the story of Goldilocks, Warmies are plush companions designed to be microwavable for hours of soothing warmth or chillable for refreshing coolness so everyone can get their “just right” temperature for the perfect cuddle. With new limited edition releases each holiday and season, Warmies helps adults, teddy bear collections and kids looking for a new soft soothing bear find their new BFF. 

Crafting Love: DIY Gift Wrapping for Valentine's Teddy Bears

DIY gift wrapping for teddy bears.

Whether you’re shopping for a bear, or already have one in mind, it’s fun to open up the possibilities of creative teddy bear gift wrapping. DIY gift wrapping for teddy bears is a small act with a big impact, it lets you give personalized Valentine’s Day presents and can make the day a bit more meaningful. Below we’ve written a step-by-step guide to gift wrapping if you are unfamiliar. You can also choose to decorate a gift bag with sparkly letters or printed pictures of you and the person to whom you’re giving the gift. 

Gift Wrapping for Beginners 


  • Themed wrapping paper 
  • Bow
  • Tape
  • Scissors 
  • Gift Box 

Step-By-Step Guide:

  1. Lay out your wrapping paper on a table or the floor. 
  2. Place your gift box top side down and cut the paper so it has equal margins (½ inch) for every side of the box. 
  3. Fold the one side of the paper to the middle and tape it. Repeat. 
  4. Tuck the sides of the paper down, creating 45° angle “wings” on both sides creating creases. 
  5. Fold each flap in and tape. 
  6. Fold up your bottom triangle and tape. 
  7. Stick on a bow to complete the present! 

DIY Love Note or Gift Tag: 


  • White or Colored Paper
  • Colored pencils, pens, or markers. 
  • Glue
  • Ribbon
  • Single-hole punch

Step-By-Step Guide:

  1. Cut paper to your desired size. 
  2. Fold in half lengthwise. 
  3. Write “To: [Name]” on the front in colorful ink. 
  4. Write a sweet note inside with “Love, [Your Name]” underneath. 
  5. Put a single-hole punch in the upper right corner of the tag. 
  6. Thread ribbon through tie around the teddy bear's neck. 
  7. Use scissors to pull along the rougher side of the excess ribbon, to make it curl. 

We hope you can enjoy the creative fun of crafting personalized gift wrapping for teddy bears! 

Teddy Bears Beyond Play: Emotional Connections

Emotional Support: Teddy Bears as Comfort Objects.

Unlike roses, teddy bears never wilt or have to be thrown out, rather than can be kept and held whenever we need emotional support or comfort. The emotional significance of teddy bears reaches far beyond our playful childhood memories. Research shows that comfort objects and teddy bears specifically can lessen feelings of stress and anxiety, which is why they make such wonderful “feel better soon” gifts. 

Whether someone has been suffering from the flu, or feeling blue, teddy bears can help. People’s emotional connection with teddy bears stems from their need for comfort, security, and safety. Plus, gifting someone a teddy bear lets them care for a new cuddle friend, even if it is make-believe. Check out these real customer reviews for Warmies Teddy Bears to see what others had to say about buying Teddy bears as emotional support.

PERFECT..... | Elizabeth R. (Georgia, US)

“Bought this one [teddy bear] (& the cute cow) for my new granddaughter for Christmas. I believe these Warmies will help her sleep better and as she grows, they will become her "friends" that she will want to take everywhere.”

Too nice to give away! | NDeGroat (New Jersey, US)

“Ahhh! This little bear! He’s so soft, so cuddly and so soothing! He has a nice weight to him therefore he feels so nice to hug. His scent is so calming! I got him for a gift along with two adorable little cows but now I do t want to give them away”

Adorable and Nice Weight | Miles G. (Indiana, US)

“bought it for my bf, he said it's his baby and he loves it so much”

These Personal stories with teddy bears show that across all ages, people immediately bond with their teddy bear and feel a lasting emotional connection to it. Ready to try it out for yourself? Shop Warmies and get ready to experience the soothing comfort of a heatable weighted, lavender-scented stuffed teddy. 

Grown-Ups and Teddy Bears: Breaking Stereotypes

Breaking Stereotypes: Adults and Teddy Bears.

Many of us slept with stuffed animals when we were young, and then one day we “grew out of it’... or did we? Most likely it was because we felt that it would be seen as odd to be a teenager or adult with a cuddly companion we snuggle with. Societal expectations and norms made some of us feel that adults with teddy bears would raise eyebrows. The truth is, it’s far more common than one may think, so today we’re breaking stereotypes with teddy bears. 

Lots of adults still sleep with teddy bears! A survey done by Build-A-Bear Workshop found that 40% of Americans still sleep with a stuffed animal. What’s even better is that teddy bears for grown-ups are having a cultural resurgence, with many young adults in Gen Z proudly claiming to still love their teddy, good news since the rate of anxiety in adults is on the rise. 

The psychological benefits of teddy bears for adults are multifaceted. In a fast-paced, often stressful climate, these fuzzy creatures serve as a calming comfort object. They evoke nostalgia and provide a sense of security, acting as a tangible connection to one's inner child. With Warmies Teddy Bears, you get the added benefit of wellness as they are weighted for comfort, microwavable or chillable, helping you unwind and decompress after a long day so you can drift off to sleep peacefully. 

Sleep.com wrote a great article about how “Finding comfort in an inanimate object isn’t just for kids.” Embracing a teddy bear as a snuggle buddy highlights the importance of self-care and mental well-being. After all, we never grow out of the human need for warmth, reassurance, and unconditional love, no matter what our age is. 

Diverse Forms and Types: Teddy Bear Variations

Diverse Teddy Bears: From Collectibles to Artistic Creations.

There are many different types of teddy bears, and they go far beyond the brown teddies from the past. Below you can find a few types of teddies to consider the next time you need a gift. 

Tradition Teddies: Of course, nothing compared to the tried and true teddy bear, with soft curly plush fur. If you want something a bit more unique, check out Warmies Purple Curly Bear! It’s designed to have the traditional look but with a festive addition of bright color. 

Cute Purple Curly Bear Warmies.

Shop Curly Bear

Customized Teddy Bears: If you’re considering opting for a customized teddy bear there are lots of options! You can go to Build-A-Bear Workshop and make your own, or pick one of Warmies more specific teddies like the Friends Bear Warmies or Celebration Bear Warmies

Realistic Teddy Bears: These realistic teddy bears from Warmies are perfect for the natural lover in your life, as they are modeled after real Black Bears! 

Perfect for animal lovers: the Black Bear Warmies.

Shop Black Bear

Collectible Teddies: eBay is a great place to find teddy bear collectibles and limited edition bears like the Princess Diana Beanie Baby. 

Artistic & Unique Teddy Bears: Artistic interpretations of teddy bears can be as unique as you like, our pick is obviously Supersized Bear Warmies because the heatable teddy bear doubles as a hand warmer and pillow! 

Heatable Supersized Warmies.

Vintage Teddy Bears: For some more old-school vintage teddy bears, check out Etsy to see what collectors are releasing from the past.

Wrapping Up the Teddy Bear Tale

The story of the teddy bear, told with love.

While the tale of the teddy bear has been full of twists and turns, starting from the O.G. Teddy’s Bear, based on the story of President Roosevelt, all the way to the comfort objects of 2024. One thing remains true: no matter where you are in the world, Teddy bears are a symbol of love and comfort. Knowing that having them comforting companions helps us relax and get better sleep, there’s no age limit to loving them. The enduring charm of the teddy bear is that it helps us reconnect with similar times of life when a good book and a cuddle from a BFF bear were all it took to make the world feel right. Create new memories that last a lifetime by getting into the age-old tradition of gifting a teddy bear.