This romantic 1907 4-postcard puzzle series evokes a certain “Teddy,” “the head of a nation,” though it claims “not the slightest relation.”
The connection between Teddy Roosevelt and teddy bears dates back to a hunting trip in 1902, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Association. After failing to spot a bear during the hunt, anxious guides found an old, injured bear and offered it up to the president. Roosevelt declared it unsportsmanlike and refused to shoot.
After renowned political cartoonist Clifford Berryman heard the story, the first of many cartoons featuring Roosevelt and a small bear debuted in the Washington Post. A candy shop owner in New York who’d seen Berryman’s original cartoon put two homemade stuffed “Teddy’s bears” in his shop window. They were so popular the owner started mass-producing them; meanwhile, at about the same time, German seamstress Margarete Steiff expanded her company’s line of stuffed animals to include bears. An American businessman saw the Steiff bears at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903 and ordered 3,000 to be sold back home. The “Teddy” bear was on its way to becoming one of the most popular gifts for kids and significant others.
So if someone gives you a stuffed bear today, just know it’s because Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a half-dead bear in 1902. Maybe don’t bring that up right away, though.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
President Bill Clinton gets all up in there at a “Get Out The Vote” rally in Los Angeles in support of his VP, Al Gore, a few days before the election in 2000.
Willkie Says Spinach is Spinach
You’ve got to go back to 1928 to explain this pro-Wendell Willkie, anti-Franklin Roosevelt button from the 1940 presidential campaign.
A popular New Yorker cartoon from December 8, 1928, illustrated by Carl Rose and captioned by E. B. White, showed a mom trying to convince her daughter to eat her vegetables:
Mother: “It’s broccoli, dear.”I would upload a picture of the cartoon but I’d probably get sued - you can see it here.
Daughter: “I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it.”
By the 1930s, “I say it’s spinach" had entered the public vernacular. Willkie picked it up during the 1940 campaign as a jab at FDR - the implication being that Willkie would tell it like it is.
Apparently the American electorate just wasn’t ready for his realness.
Source: Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie column at NPR
Button from Lori Ferber Presidential Memorabilia
in 1972, the Peter Paul candy company (the Mounds and Almond Joy people) launched a new candy bar - peanut butter (plus milk chocolate) but absolutely no jelly.
This jelly-free delight didn’t last long, and not even hitching its wagon to the bright burning star that was Richard Nixon would save it.
You can read a whole lot more about No Jelly and basically every other candy ever at Collecting Candy.
Harry Truman speaking at the Democratic National Convention, Chicago, 1956. Photo by Burt Glinn.
A bunch of Robert Kennedy supporters and one confused Richard Nixon fan swarm RFK at a presidential campaign stop in New Mexico, 1968.
It’s not clear from the archive entry exactly when this photo was taken, but it was probably part of the ten-day, cross-country trip dubbed the “Free At Last Tour” by press secretary Frank Mankiewicz.
As recounted in Thurston Clarke’s The Last Campaign:
Before the tour, Kennedy had been inhibited by conflicting advice from advisers and friends; during it, he was impulsive, made the important decisions himself, and traveled without an entourage of consultants, managers, pollsters, and media advisers, and unencumbered by months of calculation and compromise - without everyone and everything that drains spontaneity and moral clarity from a campaign.
He started in Alabama and Tennessee on March 21, then spent a day in upstate New York before heading west for three days in California, followed by stops in Oregon and Washington, and Red States Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Indiana and New Mexico. The itinerary was designed to place him before a succession of large and enthusiastic audiences, and to demonstrate to the machine politicians who controlled the nominating process that his popularity spanned race, class, and geography.
Photo via the Center for Southwest Research, Universities Libraries, University of New Mexico, El Hispano News Pictorial Collection, © Don Eicher