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jason Posts: 8

Hi all!
I’ve been a little anxious about posting here. I’m not a collector, nor am I an awesome artist like yourselves. Instead I’ve found myself hooked on this wonderful world of bear makers, but sadly can’t find much information about it. There’s not even much of a Wikipedia article on the subject.

With the forum’s permission, I’d like to ask some questions on here to try understand where artist bears have come from. You folks all seem very friendly, but to be honest, I feel like such an outsider. I hope you won’t mind my curiosity and don’t see me as an intrusion. bear_original

On a Teddy-Talker’s suggestion, I’ve ordered … 1405486678 and am eagerly waiting for it to arrive. I’m wondering if anyone has a suggestion for other resources regarding the history of artist bears? Not teddy bears in general, but handmade artist bears in particular. If so, I would really appreciate a suggestion.

Otherwise, thank you for taking the time to read through my intro. I’m looking forward to getting to know this awesome little community!


EJ Netcong, New Jersey
Posts: 1,595

Hi, Jason ---

I'm a collector, and a good resource to get to know teddy bear artists is Linda Mullins' series on a Tribute to Teddy Bear Artists.  They're from the 1980's/1990's, and I think there are three of them, but that's a good start for the history of teddy bear artists, and also there's Joan Greene's a Complete Book of Teddy Bears from 1989, which has a huge listing of artists, some of whom are still making bears today!

I hope that helps.

jason Posts: 8

Thanks! I'll look those up right away. I also managed to track down a collector's guide that was published in 2002, I'm hoping that will have some more contemporary information in it.

Also, I discovered the other day that the image most commonly associated with starting the Teddy Bear idea may not be the original. Interesting, eh? The cartoon is usually reported to be this one:

That cartoon is actually a later, redrawn version of the original, and only ran in later newspaper stories about Roosevelt's hunt. In fact, the first cartoon showing Roosevelt refusing to shoot a bear showed the bear much larger, and less cute.

Yeah ok, so it's not important to anyone, but I just thought it was interesting  bear_grin

EJ Netcong, New Jersey
Posts: 1,595

that is interesting.....

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 21,094

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Hi, Jason, and welcome to Teddy Talk!  My understanding of how teddy bear artists evolved is this:  back in the 1970s, Beverly Port, a doll artist who frequently participated in doll shows, decided to make small bears as companions to her dolls.  It didn't take long for the bears to become as popular as the dolls, so Beverly began her own line of artist teddy bears.  Sadly, she died recently, but her two children carry on her legacy.  John and Kimberlee are excellent bear artists as well.  Here is a link to a thread I started on this forum.  Keep scrolling down . . . John Paul enters the "conversation".

jason Posts: 8

Oh fantastic! Thank's for that link. It looks as if Beverly enters the conversation as well towards the end. So far, my research has pointed me to three main events:

1964— Margaret Hutchings' writes Teddy Bears and How to Make Them, which appears to be the earliest how-to book (I could find).
1969— Peter Bull writes Bear with Me
1974— Beverly Port brings the first Teddy Bear to a Doll show.

It seems that the stage was set for Port to bring in the first bear, and afterwards the "craze" erupted once again. I'd be interested to hear from some of the earlier collectors of artists bears, and how they came to start collecting. There may be influencers that I'm missing.

I've ordered the Tribute books mentioned above. Hopefully I can track down some early artists as well, and figure out where the story goes after Port's pivotal bear.

Thanks for the warm welcome SueAnn! And to EJ as well bear_original

dangerbears Dangerbears
Posts: 6,021

Welcome, Jason! I'm looking forward to hearing more about our world. bear_original It's great to have a new member with a different point of view. (My focus has always been on the making, and there are good books about techniques and so on. An overview of the art form is distinct from that.)


jason Posts: 8

Thanks Becky! I've just picked up 5 books from the library to get myself going :)

I'll try and post some of the more valuable information here. Hopefully I can be of some value to you guys while I satisfy my curiosities.


Erin Seals Stonesthrow Critters
Magnolia, AR
Posts: 31

Hi Jason,

I thought your post about the origin of teddys was great! It reminded me, I heard a TED Talk about the origin of the teddy a few weeks ago.  I am sure it is a much more interesting video.  The purpose was really to discuss how we misrepresent the world around us, but the teddy info really stick!

I found the talk! Here's a link! … /citations

jason Posts: 8

Thanks! I hadn't seen that video yet.

I'm actually talking to a teddy bear historian right now. He's working on an article that will shed some light on the errors in the teddy bear story. Turns out there's a lot of them bear_original

Thanks for sharing that video, I'll pass it on.


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