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A Star in the World of Teddy Bears . . .

Winnie the Pooh

by Diana Stanton                                      February 2009

The first sketches of the now famous Winnie The Pooh were found in "When We Were Very Young," a collection poems, one of which was called "Teddy Bear." By A. A. Milne and illustrations by E. H. Shepard; published 1924

Photo courtesy of Valerie Rogers.

Book is from her collection.

Special Holiday Edition;
October, 1925.

An eEarly illustration of Christopher Robins and his Teddy Bear!



One of the biggest names in teddy bears is Winnie the Pooh, the pudgy little bear who’s a star of books, TV shows and Disney films, whose devotees revere him as everything from best friend to philosopher.

Pooh started out as a real teddy bear, sitting on a Harrods’s Department Store shelf. He caught the eye of Dorothy Milne in 1921, the wife of author Alan Alexander Milne for their son Christopher Robin’s first birthday.

Christopher's first teddy bear.

At first the little bear was called Edward Bear, but within a few years, he assumed his more famous and lasting name. It came from Winnie, a black bear and mascot of the Canadian Regiment from Winnipeg, (See below for the hsitory) who Christopher Robin loved to visit at the London Zoo and Pooh, after Christopher Robin’s favorite swan.

Pooh first appeared (as Edward Bears) in A. A. Milne’s book of verse “When We Were Very Young” published in 1924. He then inspired his namesake Winnie The Pooh which was published two years later.

Artists Ernest Howard Shepard created the original pencil drawing of Pooh Bear, basing his illustrations in part on his own son’s Steiff teddy bear.

Portrait of Christopher Robins.

See Christopher's toys

In the mid 1960's when Walt Disney Studios created a musical based on Winnie the Pooh in a cartoon form, a new generation of fans fell in love with the plumper, colorful Pooh, who spoke with an American accent and wears a red tee shirt.

In addition to mass distribution of Pooh films and paraphernalia, Winnie The Pooh itself has sold millions of copies, printed in 22 languages, making this “silly old bear’ perhaps the best-known in the world.

A note from the history books: During the first World War, troops from Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) were being transported to eastern Canada, on their way to Europe, where they were to join the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. When the train stopped at White River, Ontario, a lieutenant called Harry Colebourn bought a small female black bear cub for $20 from a hunter who had killed its mother. He named her 'Winnipeg', after his hometown of Winnipeg, or 'Winnie' for short.

Winnie became the mascot of the Brigade and went to Britain with the unit. When the Brigade was posted to the battlefields of France, Captain Colebourn took Winnie to the London Zoo. He formally presented the London Zoo with the bear in December 1919 where Winnie became a popular attraction and lived until 1934.

More "honey"
Read the poem Lines and Squares and  Teddy Bear from When We Were Very Young
Stamp collecting is a unique way to capture history and events. Here are just a few samples of Winnie The Pooh stamps from around the world.

The First Winnie the Pooh Stamp in the plate is from Great Britain with Alice in Wonderland, Peter the Rabbit and The Wind in the Willows celebrates the Year of the Child. This is one of the MOST Rare Pooh Stamps

Disney's Winnie the Pooh Bear is depicted on a set of stamps from Antigua, one for every month with Eeyore, Christopher Robin, Piglet and Tiger.

Disney's Winnie the Pooh Bear is an older rendition of the bear. The Canadian officer with a real bear called Winnie. The next stamp is Christopher Robins holding Pooh. The third stamp shows Pooh waving to Kanga, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit and Piglet. The last stamp shows Pooh eating honey with a Cinderella's castle in the background.








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