Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Bears

This is my family of bears.  Dolls are my first love, but the bears come in a very close second.
Here are the boys, Andrew and Buster.
Andrew (left)  belonged to my husband's grandfather, Andrew Cravens.  He was born in 1909, so I'm assuming this little fellow has a similar birth date.  He has seen a lot of love!  His paw pads have been replaced, and he's lost part of his smile.  His limbs are wobbly and his stuffing is lumpy, but he's full of character.  I don't know what his original name might have been, but I thought it fitting to name him after the family member to which he once belonged. 
Buster is a new-ish bear.  I picked him up several years ago at a local doll show.  I think he was commercially made (not handmade).  His limbs and head are jointed like the old bears, and there was just something so appealing about his expression that made me want to take him home.  I named him Buster because it just seemed to suit him, don't you think?
Penelope, Olivia, and Phoebe are the girls.
Penelope (left) is a newer Steiff bear, made as a reproduction of the very first teddy bear that the company created.  Her fur is mohair, and she even has a "growler" voice box that makes a sound when she is tipped over.  I bought her several years ago from a toy shop in Missouri.  She was my Christmas gift that year.  She was a big purchase, but I have never regretted her.  I smile every time I look at her.
Olivia (middle) is the newest addition to my bear family.  She is an antique, most likely made by the Hermann Bear company.  She is made of mohair and fully jointed.  Isn't she adorable?
Several years ago, I decided to try my hand at bear making.  Phoebe (right) was the end result.  Bear making is so fun and rewarding, I can't believe I haven't made any in a very long time.  Maybe it's time to remedy that!  Anyway, Phoebe is made like the old bears, with disc-jointed limbs, a humped back, and mohair fur with wool felt paw pads.  I love her.  She was the very first bear I ever made, and I think she turned out adorable.  I did make several other bears after her that I gave away as gifts.
This bear is simple called "Teddy".  He is nowhere as dignified looking as the above bears, but I love him just the same.  He was given to me when I was a very little girl, I think, for Christmas.
He is made by Knickerbocker.  His red fur has been worn away in several places.  I remember stroking his fur over and over because he was so silky and shiny--I must have rubbed the silky right out of him!
This picture of me and Teddy was taken in 1969.    I am about 2 1/2, and Teddy appears to be dressed in some sort of a sleeper and wrapped securely in a kitchen towel.  I know there are other pictures of me with this bear at my parent's home, but this is the only photo I have in my possession.
Two, wonderful children's books by Jane Hissey.  They are all about the adventures of some stuffed animals, among them a few bears.  These are the two titles I own, but there are many more.  The illustrations are delightful.
I love vintage/antique bears, and hope to add more to my collection.  But they tend to be very pricey and hard to identify.  So I will love the ones I have, and if more happen to come my way for a decent price, than they just may find a new home!

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