Morris Michtom

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Morris Michtom
DiedJuly 21, 1938(1938-07-21) (aged 67–68)
OccupationInventor, businessman
ChildrenEmily (1897-1986)
A 1902 political cartoon in The Washington Post spawned the teddy bear name.

Morris Michtom (1870 – July 21, 1938)[1][2] was a Russian-born businessman and inventor who, with his wife Rose, came up with the idea for the teddy bear in 1902[3] around the same time as Richard Steiff in Germany. They founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company which, after Michtom's death, became the largest doll-making company in the United States.


Michtom was born to a Jewish family[4][3] and immigrated to New York in 1887. He sold candy in his shop at 404 Tompkins Avenue[5] in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn by day and made stuffed animals with his wife Rose at night.

The teddy bear was inspired by a cartoon by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman depicting American president Theodore Roosevelt—commonly called "Teddy"—having compassion for a bear at the end of an unsuccessful hunting trip in Mississippi in 1902. Michtom saw the drawing and created a tiny plush bear cub which he sent to Roosevelt. After receiving permission to use Roosevelt's name,[6] Michtom put a plush bear in the shop window with a sign "Teddy's bear." After the creation of the bear in 1902, the sale of the bears was so brisk that in 1907 Michtom created the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.[7]

Michtom died on the July 21, 1938 at the age of 68. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Rose and two children, and survived by two sons and a daughter.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephanie Bernardo Johns (1981). The ethnic almanac. Doubleday. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-385-14143-7. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  2. ^ {{cite book|title=The Rubber age|url= October 2011|year=1938|pub}
  3. ^ a b "Rose and Morris Michtom and the Invention of the Teddy Bear". American Jewish Historical Society. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  4. ^ Lawrence J. Epstein (2007). At the Edge of a Dream: The Story of Jewish Immigrants on New York's Lower East Side, 1880-1920. p. 138. ISBN 9780787986223.
  5. ^ SAVE BEDFORD STUYVESANT: The Teddy Bear was born in Bedford Stuyvesant. (2009-04-02). Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  6. ^ "Teddy Bears". Library Of Congress. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  7. ^ True story of the Teddy Bear by The Theodore Roosevelt Association. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  8. ^ "Morris Michtom" on, as viewed on 27 September 2019.[Life events of Morris Michtom based on primary and secondary sources]