I heard on the news this morning that today is the 95th anniversary, or birthday, of the original teddy bear, Edward Bear (later Winnie) that A. A. Milne gave to his son Christopher Robin on August 21, 1921. We cannot let that go by unheralded. Figure 1 is a photograph of Christopher Robin’s original toys, now proudly in the New York Public Library: Clockwise from bottom left: Tigger, Kanga, Edward Bear (a.k.a Winnie-the-Pooh), Eeyore, and Piglet. Roo was also one of the original toys but he was lost a long time ago. Owl and Rabbit were not based on toys. Gopher was made up for the Disney version. “Someone call for an excavation expert?”
Milne purchase Pooh at the London Department Store Harrods and gave him to his son, Christopher Robin, on his first birthday. Originally Christopher Robin called him “Edward Bear.” But he changed it after seeing the famous black bear, “Winnie,” at the London Zoo. Winnie had been the mascot of the Winnipeg regiment of the Canadian army, and “Pooh,” was a swan in When We Were Very Young, a poetry book by A. A. Milne(1924). The first appearance of Pooh-bear was in a 1925 Christmas Eve story by Milne in the London Evening News. The original book “Winnie-the-Pooh” was published in 1926 and the sequels “Now We Are Six” in 1927 and “The House at Pooh Corner” in 1928.
There are some wonderful original photographs of Christopher Robin Milne with his Teddy Bear. He is a small diminutive bear to be sure. But
“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”