So I’ve been away from the site for a couple of years… I’ve still been researching but haven’t had the time to write about my research. However, I thought I should share this gem. I found this article in 2013 and it’s been hidden away on my computer since then. I was going through files and had to share it before it faded away into obscurity again.
I had no idea that the teddy bear was so controversial in 1907. Well, more specifically, at least one Catholic priest found the teddy bear controversial and ruinous to young girls. This kind of nonsense happened over 100 years ago and is still happening today. (Remember the controversy Jerry Falwell started over a teletubby Tinky Winky?) On top of that, the Rev. Father in this article likens the love of a teddy bear to race suicide. What can one say to say to rubbish such as this? smh
The article “Teddy Bear is a Menace to Nation” was published in the Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, Iowa, USA) on Monday, 08 Jul 1907.
Teddy Bear is a Menace to Nation
Michigan Minister Says Monstrosity Distorts Motherhood Instincts
Pleads for Return of Doll
Preacher Decries Supplanting Love of Children for Babies With Nature Fakes
St. Joseph, Mich., July 8 – “Race suicide, the gravest danger which confronts this nation today, is being fostered and encouraged by the fad for supplanting the good old dolls of our childhood with the horrible monstrosity known as the ‘Teddy Bear,'” said the Rev. Father Michael G. Esper of St. Joseph’s Catholic church in her [sic, his] sermon yesterday.
“The very instincts of motherhood in a growing girl are blunted and oftentimes destroyed if the child is allowed to lavish upon an unnatural toy of this character the loving care which is so beautiful when bestowed upon a doll representing a helpless infant.”
“No more disgusting sight has ever come to my eyes than is presented by the spectacle of a little girl fondling, caressing, and even kissing these pseudo animals. It is a shame upon the American people that is will suffer the development of the instinct of motherhood in its future women to be arrested for a fad for these bundles of horridness, the most harmful and repulsive of nature fakes ever perpetrated.”
Father Esper’s denunciation of the “Teddy bear” came in the course of an address from the pulpit asking the support of his parishioners to a doll social being planned by the women of the church to raise money for a new parochial school building. It was when the priest suggested that contributions of dolls would be appreciated that he inveighed in impassioned tones against the near-bears which have recently become popular with all classes.
Teddy bear image by congerdesign from Pixabay