Doll News Summer 2015 - (Page 44)

Steiff's Timeless and Beloved "Teddy Baby" Bears by Rebekah Kaufman Here is a collection of circa 1929 earliest and original Steiff Teddy Babies. Oh baby! That is what many doll and toy enthusiasts say when they first lay eyes on Steiff's delightful and totally irresistible "Teddy Baby" bears. The Steiff Company has produced thousands of Teddy bear designs and variations since introducing the world to the five ways jointed Teddy bear as we know him today in 1902. Some models were designed to resemble life-like bears from nature, while others were manufactured as soft toy "friends for life" for babies and toddlers. Steiff's Teddy Baby pattern, launched in the 1920s, is quite distinctive and is based on cultural preferences of the time, as well as company directives. Let's take a look at this legacy design and see why it remains a collector's favorite almost nine decades after its introduction. The Teddy Baby pattern debuted in 1929 - a very creative, prolific period at Steiff when several of the company's most recognizable and classic designs were also introduced. Items designed and produced during the mid-1920s through early 1930s tended to be very childlike, innocent looking, and fluffy and feminine. Models often had oversized eyes, plump bodies and limbs, and were made in bright colors and/or had colorful accessories. This was the case for two key reasons. The first was the popular culture of the time. Steiff was responding to the playful nature of the "roaring twenties," when it was not uncommon for 44 SUMMER 2015 a young woman to carry a Teddy bear or other attractive stuffed toys under her arm as a fashion accessory. The second was a series of directives from Richard Steiff, a creative director at the company and the nephew of company founder Margarete Steiff. Writing from America in 1925, he initially observed, "...Our Teddies, in the show room here in New York, appear colorless, sober, and insipid. I feel inclined to decorate all the Teddies we have left with huge, colorful silk ribbons; only then can we ask a slightly higher price." Then, in 1927, he requested that the company produce new toy designs with "smiling faces which come alive." He went on to insist that Steiff launch new products with color, appeal, levity, and novelty - to stay competitive and grow market share worldwide. Thus, Teddy

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Doll News Summer 2015

From the Editor
UFDC Offi cers and Regional Directors
President’s Message
Conference Calendar
A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Members / Getting to Know You – The UFDC Club President’s Survey
Fundraising Committee Report
The Marvelous Magical Betsy McCall
Betsy Original Paper Doll
The Story behind UFDC’s Emblem – Miss Unity
Steiff ’s Timeless and Beloved “Teddy Baby” Bears
Native Alaskan Dolls
Russian Stockinette Dolls
The Mark Farmer Company Story
Dress Up Fun with Betsy McCall, a Game
Tammy – The Doll You Love To Dress
The Care of An American Icon
A Study in Aesthetics: Considering the Uncanny Doll
Maternal Love – The Dolls of Anne Myatt
Patti Playpal – A Big Doll for a Little Girl
Who Dressed Betsy McCall
Heavens to Betsy!
UFDC Region 14 Conference – Golden Memories
Club Notes
Reviewing Resources
In Our Memories
UFDC Nominating Process – 2016 Election Information for Regional Directors
MAL Form
News & Notes

Doll News Summer 2015