Perhaps you've heard the story of how the Teddy bear came about. The bear was inspired by a 1902 incident in which President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a young bear that had been trapped for the occasion, which was illustrated in cartoon form for the newspapers. Candy store owner Morris Michtom asked his wife Rose to make a toy bear and they named it Teddy, after Roosevelt, and they sold like hotcakes.
But there was some objections to the popularity of Teddy bears as a children's toy. Apparently stuffed toy animals weren't all that popular before the Teddy bear debuted, and some social commentators thought they would spell the end of American life as we knew it. Why? If little girls started playing with plush animals instead of baby dolls, they might reject babies and never have children! Luckily, we figured out that toys are more than just career-training aids. Read about the Teddy bear's rise to fame and the backlash it engendered at Smithsonian.
(Image credit: Smithsonian Museum of Natural History)