In the year 1902, the idea for the teddy bear was formed when President Teddy Roosevelt went on a bear hunt in Mississippi and refused to shoot a bear. Then, toymakers began creating stuffed bears called "teddy bears." Now, it is the 100th anniversary of the bear hunt and the teddy bear and people are celebrating or commemorating by hosting special events. The following activities on this page are commemorations in our state, Mississippi, to celebrate the 100th year of the teddy bear.
The Natural Science Museum, located in our state capitol, Jackson, planned several exhibits and activities to commemorate Teddy. These include:
|"The Hidden World of Bears" - a multimedia exhibition by Dr. Lynn Rogers, a noted bear biologist. This exhibit began on September 19, 2002, and concluded January 15, 2003. In this exhibit, visitors were given a closer look at bears and their behavior as they were captured through photography.|
|On September 28-30,2002, Dr. Rogers lead a series of lectures at the museum. He has researched black bear behavior, ecology, and the bear-human interface. This is really important to people in Mississippi as bear activity has increased over the past few years.|
|The staff at the Natural Science Museum planned a variety of bear-related activities. They hired a full-time bear biologist through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service two-year grant. This biologist is updating the bear sighting database, providing information and education, and doing field work which will include trapping, radio-collaring, and monitoring black bears in Mississippi. In addition, other biologists at the museum received bear-handling experience along the Mississippi River in a partnership with Arkansas Game & Fish researchers.|
|An outdoor maze was installed at the museum. As an educational interactive maze, it described the first year in the life of a black bear cub. It also addressed bear conservation in Mississippi.|
|On October 20th , Keith McGough presented a play about Teddy Roosevelt. McGough highlighted Roosevelt's conservation work, hunting expeditions and political career. Keith presented the "Real Teddy Roosevelt," inspired with boundless enthusiasm and humor.|
House Bill 951 made the teddy bear Mississippi's official state toy. On July 1, 2002, the teddy bear was named in honor of President Roosevelt's hunting expedition in Mississippi and will join ranks with other official state symbols. Rep. Steve Holland, (D) Plantersville, filed the bear bill at the request of constituent, Sarah Doxey Tate of Tupelo. Governor Musgrove signed the bill March 22, 2002.
On August 17, 2002, the Postal Service unveiled a new stamp in commemoration of Teddy's 100th birthday at the Onward Store where the actual bear hunt took place. In the year of 2002 there were some stamps released of 4 Teddy Bears in Atlantic City, New Jersey. There were two cancellations in MS. A cancellation is when you get a certain stamp on a postcard, etc. to make it a collector's item that will be worth a lot of money one day. The 1st cancellation in Onward, Mississippi, was August 17,2002. The 2nd and final cancellation was October 26,2002. The names of the bears were Gund, made in 1948, Bruin, created in 1907, 1920's Stick, and Ideal of 1905. They got the ink stamp from Washington D. C. Click here to learn more about the Onward Store and to view pictures taken at the Celebration in Onward on October 26, 2002.
On October 19, 2002, "The Great Delta Bear Affair" was celebrated in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Teddy Roosevelt's great-grandson spoke and said the teddy bear is the Mississippi state toy. The "Bear Affair" was held because this year is the 100th anniversary of the teddy bear! The sponsors were Cellular South, Entergy, and the Mississippi Black Bear Restoration Task Force. Some of the things there were music, food, and storytelling. Click here to see some pictures we took of the "Great Delta Bear Affair."
Many stores, both locally and nationally, offered limited specials to promote the teddy bear and its famous birthday. Some of these included:
|Winn Dixie, a southern grocery store chain, offered 30" teddy bears for a limited time only.|
|"Bryland Home", a home linen mail order magazine, advertised a teddy bear bedding set , any size , for $49.99.|
|"Tuesday Morning", a discount retail store, advertised Hermann Collector Bears 100th Anniversary closeout sale at $99.99.|
|Wal-Mart, a chain store, advertised "Teddip Teddy" - 100th year of Teddy Bear.|
|Boyds Bears in partnership with Little Debbie Snack Cakes introduced a 10" high bear named "Ellsworth" for a limited time for the commemoration of the teddy bear's 100th birthday. "Ellsworth" is a genuine Boyd's bear collectible. He has a little blue and white backpack on his back, red bow around his neck, and light brown fur. Boyds bears are handmade so no two are just alike.|