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Sunday, November 23, 2014

teddy bears

The Great Mississippi Bear Hunt: Circa 1902

President Theodore Roosevelt was exhausted from mediating a solution to the strike by the United Mine Workers in the coal fields of America. T.R. was in need of a short vacation and this hunt would produce what Brinkley calls the most popular toy ever manufactured — the Teddy Bear.

He decided to accept a long-stranding invitation to come to Mississippi for the bear-hunting season. He had recently invited Booker T. Washington to a dinner at the White House and some Southerners had vilified him for this invitation. Thus his trip to Mississippi did have somewhat of a political overtone. One of his hosts was Stuyvesant Fish, the president of the Illinois Central Railroad. He wrote to Fish, “My experience is that to try to combine a hunt and a picnic, generally means a poor picnic and always a spoiled hunt. Every additional man on a hunt tends to hurt it. Of course I am only going because I want to hunt and do see I get the first bear without fail.” Little did he know how he would be presented the first black bear of their hunt. (October 29, 2010, Page 2B)

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