Happy National Teddy Bear Day! Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman is credited with introducing the teddy bear into the American vernacular after President Theodore Roosevelt famously refused to shoot an old, haggard bear during a hunting trip. Berryman changed the old bear into a cute, cuddly “teddy bear”—named for the President—and it became a common symbol in Berryman’s cartoons.
This self-portrait shows Berryman’s “signature style” in the exhibit “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures,” on display in the National Archives Museum’s O’Brien Gallery through January 4, 2015.
“Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives with the generous support of Lead Sponsor AT&T. Major additional support provided by the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family and members of the Board of the Foundation for the National Archives.
Image: "Self-Portrait of Clifford Berryman, 1904"
After years of difficult work and a loss of many lives to tropical diseases, the Panama Canal officially opened on August 15, 1914, ten years after the United States controversially took control of the land and project. Considered one of the great engineering feats of modern times, the Canal greatly reduced transit time from east coast ports to west coast ports of the United States and for European shippers as well. The U.S. War Department steamship, Ancon, made the first passage through the Panama Canal.
Under Way 12/28/1917
From the Berryman Political Cartoon Collection
The problems of increasing railroad congestion during World War I pushed President Woodrow Wilson to place the railroads under government control and operation on December 26, 1917. William McAdoo was appointed Director General of Railroads, and his first order, issued on December 28, required the pooling of all rail traffic, common utilization of all rail facilities, freight haulage by the shortest possible route, and called upon all employees to continue performing their duties. In this cartoon Clifford Berryman shows a determined Uncle Sam as a locomotive engineer while teddy bear serves as brakeman.
In this cartoon from the 1907 off-year election, political cartoonist Clifford Berryman reminds us of how elections reflect the public mood and, thus, of the importance of voting. Illustrated here, William Jennings Bryan, William Randolph Hearst, and President Theodore Roosevelt anxiously calculate the impact of state and local elections on their political futures. The books scattered around the floor suggest that forecasting the consequences of an election is “infinitesimal calculus.” Bryan went on to run unsuccessfully for President the next year, and Hearst ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City in 1909. Roosevelt did not run for reelection and instead went into temporary retirement after his term expired.
Figgerin’ on the Returns by Clifford K. Berryman, 11/7/1907, U.S. Senate Collection, U.S. National Archives (1693465)
From our friends at the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and their new tumblr!
Happy Birthday, LBJ!
Here’s the first photograph ever taken of Lyndon Baines Johnson. He was born approximately six months earlier, on August 27, 1908, in central Texas. No word on the teddy bear’s photographic history, but at least we know it had nicely brushed fur the day this was taken.
-from the LBJ Library
March Seventeenth, 03/17/1918
On Saint Patrick’s Day Clifford Berryman shows a determined Uncle Sam rolling up his sleeves and preparing to use a large club to deal with the many German propagandist snakes slithering in the grass around him. Teddy bear is by his side wielding a smaller stick. Throughout World War I the U.S. Government was forced to divert substantial resources to counter skilled German propaganda aimed at weakening the resolve of the American people to continue the war effort. Berryman uses the Saint Patrick’s day theme of driving the snakes out of Ireland as a model for driving out the German propagandists.
Cartoonist Clifford Berryman’s proposal for improved government efficiency:
This untitled illustration by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, which appeared in the Washington Evening Star on March 9, 1916, is a response to the proposal made by Representative William Patterson Borland of Missouri that an extra hour be added to the government work day. Here, Uncle Sam watches as government workers rush by below on their way to work wearing roller skates to ensure their early arrival and wondering why he had not thought of it.
(Thankfully never implemented. We can only imagine disaster would ensure in the Archives’ conservation labs…)
Happy 110th, Teddy!:
November 16, 1902 marked the first appearance of cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman’s “Teddy Bear” character, in the cartoon “Drawing the Line in Mississippi,” published in the Washington Post. In the cartoon, President Theodore Roosevelt is shown refusing to shoot a bear cub during a bear-hunting expedition in Mississippi. The story and Berryman’s cartoon soon inspired a popular toy bear christened “Teddy’s Bear.”
This cartoon depicts the eponymous Teddy Bear pondering whether or not to follow Roosevelt on his African trip. Because Berryman drew the Teddy Bear primarily with Roosevelt, he could have been deciding whether to continue to use the Bear in his cartoons while Roosevelt travelled.
Life on the Mississippi, 10/02/1907
From the Clifford Berryman Political Cartoon Collection
President (and riverboat pilot) Theodore Roosevelt is forced to navigate a variety of hazards, including Standard Oil and Railroad Trusts, along with his steadfast sidekick, Teddy Bear.
“Have You Gentlemen Any Idea When You’re To Get Off?” 07/26/1912
From the Clifford Berryman Political Cartoon Collection
The second session of the 62nd Congress began on December 4, 1911, and as the 1912 election neared, there was no end in sight. This cartoon has Uncle Sam dressed as a train conductor asking the House and Senate when they will adjourn so members could return home to campaign. Congress remained in session for another month after this cartoon was published.
Happy first day of spring! This political cartoon by Clifford K. Berryman was featured on the front of the Washington Evening Star in 1918.
With another spring upon the U.S., Berryman depicted the need to hurry production again for World War I. Uncle Sam is seen here issuing his order to speed up shipbuilding and to start digging the soil, while another reminder to buy Liberty Bonds lies below him and the westward drive behind him.
The Big Spring Drive by Clifford K. Berryman, 3/25/1918, U.S. Senate Collection (ARC 6011372)
Dated December 18, 1904, this cartoon by Clifford Berryman depicts Uncle Sam dressed as Santa Claus as he sits on a stool with his expense account books for the United States. Three supplicants are on their knees, all with the same request for additional appropriations for a new district building.