Online Monthly Teddy Bear Magazine


May  2013                                        by Terry & Doris Michaud

Our heading would give the impression we are discussing the long held debate over the first teddy bear … the one designed by Brooklyn store keeper Morris Michtom (inspired by the Teddy Roosevelt political cartoon), or the Richard Steiff bear designed in 1902.

As most authorities agree, both events took place coincidentally about the same time, so both sources have claimed title to first teddy bear design.

Actually, our feature is based on the very first teddy bear and that would be the bear designed by and featured in the political cartoon by Clifford Berryman. As I am sure most readers are aware, that cartoon appeared in the Washington Post in November 1902 and was captioned “drawing the line in Mississippi.” It portrayed President Roosevelt refusing to shoot a small cub bear held by a rope by one of the hunting guides.

Little did Berryman realize that is little bear would go on to inspire the creation of a stuffed bear that would become our world famous teddy bear.

This cartoon was the first by Berryman and later was re-drawn to the cartoon we know today (next image) Drawing the line in Mississippi.

The original 1902 cartoon that inspired it all.

Arguably, we are focusing on Berryman’s little bear as the very first teddy bear.

It is true it was not called a teddy bear, nor were the first bears made by Steiff or Michtom (referred to as “Teddy’s Bear”) and soon to be manufactured under the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company label.

But this adorable little drawing was to be included in literally hundreds of future political cartoons by Berryman.


This political cartoon is properly titled Self Portrait.

Clifford Berryman was a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist whose career spanned 53 years, from 1896 until his death in 1949.

During his lengthy career, he published more than 15,000 political cartoons, and as stated earlier, a substantial number included his delightful bear.

We thought it would be fun to review a selection of these cartoons that range in time from the original 1902 drawing that inspired the teddy bear, right on up to include the Harry Truman / Thomas Dewey presidential election in 1948.

What a winning combination!

Teddy (dressed as Hamlet) is trying to decide to honor the tradition of a 2 term limit. October 28, 1906.

Teddy steers William Jennings Bryan away from his chair.

Uncle Sam and our little bear try to beat down the German snakes

during World War I.


Uncle Sam (and our bear) try to duck the bricks being  thrown

from the house and senate.  September 26, 1908


This Berryman cartoon appeared on November 7, 1907 and shows our

candidates counting the returns.


This Berryman cartoon appeared on June 25, 1905 and shows

President Roosevelt pushing the Panama Canal project.


Clifford Berryman. Date unknown.

Berryman in his later years, still drawing political cartoons.

This cartoon appeared in the Washington Post the day after Clifford Berryman passed away. It was drawn by political cartoonist Herblock, a moving tribute to Berryman.  

If you wish to learn more about Clifford Berryman and his political cartoons we highly recommend a book by Linda Mullins titled “The Teddy Bear Men - Teddy Roosevelt & Clifford Berryman.”

Political cartoons in this article from and


Terry & Doris Michaud


Members since March 2009


Special thanks to Charles Moose for his input into this article.

A collection of Berryman cartoons can be found by clicking on the links: 

All of Berryman's cartoons are available for on-line viewing through the

Archival Research Catalog

Visit the Clifford Berryman On-line Exhibit


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