Morris Michtom
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Morris Michtom (1869 - 1938)

Morris Michtom
Born in Odessa, Kherson, Russian Empiremap
Son of and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 1889 in New York, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Brooklyn, New York City, New York County, New York, United Statesmap
Profile manager: Erin Casner private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 3 Mar 2009
This page has been accessed 22,310 times.
Notables Project
Morris Michtom is Notable.

Contents

Biography

Flag of the Russian Empire
Morris Michtom migrated from the Russian Empire to New York in the United States of America.
Flag of New York in the United States of America

Morris Michtom, the son of Yekel Michtom,[1] arrived in New York from Russia about 1887 as a teenager.[2][3][4] He was a penniless refugee escaping the religious violence of the pogroms.[3] Morris married Rose, also a Russian Jewish immigrant,[5] about 1889. She was born January of 1863 and immigrated in 1889. Both became naturalized citizens in September of 1892. Morris and Rose set up a small shop in Brooklyn selling sold notions, candy and other penny items.[5][6] At night they pursued their hobby, making stuffed animals.[6] Their first child, a son they named Joseph, was born in 1891.[2][7] Their daughter Amelia was born two years later.[8] Tragedy touched the family and Amelia died a short time later.[2] In 1895 little Frederic was born.[9] Once again the family faced tragedy as he died just two years later.[9]

The turn of the century brought change around them. New York City was becoming the capital of national trade, finance, communications and popular culture.[10] Morris and Rose tended to their thriving shop during the day, and played with Joseph at night; still occasionally making stuffed animals. The president was Theodore Roosevelt, who had embarked on a journey to settle the dispute between Mississippi and Louisiana over boundary lines.[3][5] While there, the president decided to combine the assessment and arbitration with a five-day bear hunt.[5] The Michtoms, along with the rest of the enrapt nation, avidly followed the reports of his movements.[5] A cartoon appeared in December 1902 by Clifford K. Berryman showing how President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot and kill a harmless little bear cub during one of his hunting trips.[3][5][6][11] Morris asked Rose to make a stuffed bear similar to the one in the cartoon and put that in their shop window, first calling it "Teddy's bear."[3][5][11] It was made of plush velvet and had shoe button eyes.[5]

President Roosevelt even gave his name "Teddy," when Morris asked, for the stuffed toy from the Michtom family. Their first stuffed bear was given to Roosevelt for his children.[5][11] The demand was surprisingly high for Teddy's Bear and Morris & Rose kept busy making bears out of Angora goat hair or mohair.[12] Roosevelt had bears displayed at every White House function after that.[3] These earlier bears were more realistic; they had smaller eyes and larger faces.[12][13] The sales of these bears were tremendous. He along with Butler Brothers wholesalers formed the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company in 1907.[3][13] By then their family was growing. Joseph was sixteen years old and attended school with his thirteen-year-old sister Emily[14] and his five-year-old brother Benjamin.[2][7] Morris and Rose had taken in Marie Biletzka to work as a servant and help them with the children and their home.[7] In 1910 he was listed as a 'Toy Manufacturer'[2] instead of the owner of a stationary store.[7] Rose's occupation was listed as 'none.' She had bore five children by that point but only three were living.[7] They paid a mortgage on their home on Riverdale Ave in Brooklyn.[7]

The 1st Teddy Bear

The Teddy Bear became an American icon. Seymour Eaton wrote a children's book based on the bears in 1906 called "The Roosevelt Bears: Their Travels and Adventures."[15][16] After Teddy Bears became so popular John Walter Bratton wrote the song Teddy Bears' Picnic which is still popular today. The original Teddy Bear was treasured and saved by Teddy Roosevelt's grandchildren and is now displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.[3][5][17] Morris and Rose never forgot their humble beginnings.[3] They supported many Jewish causes including the Jewish National Fund and the Hebrew Imigrant Aid Society.[3]

In 1920 the family lived on Winthrop Street in Brooklyn.[4][18] The city was quickly growing around them. More than one-fourth of the 300 largest corporations were headquartered there.[10] World War I had ended two years prior,[19] and the country moved on into the "Roaring Twenties; a decade of glamour and wealth.[20] Morris and Rose were just over fifty years old and still living on Winthrop street.[18] Morris, along with their twenty-six year old nephew Abraham Katz, worked 'manufacturing dolls' (teddy bears).[18] Joseph, now twenty-nine, was off at dentistry school.[21] Emily, twenty-six, lived with them and worked for a publishing company.[18] Benjamin, their youngest, attended college.[18] Also in the home was their twenty-three-year-old niece Sarah Fein. Born in Russia, as Abraham was, Sarah worked as an operator at a 'doll shop.'[18]

As Morris approached sixty he and his son Benjamin were still working manufacturing the beloved teddy bears.[21] Rose stayed home and took care of the family.[21] Joseph was now working as a dentist and living with them.[21] Emily had moved out to start her own family and forty year old Mary Kryne helped Rose tend to the household.[21] Benjamin married shortly after that to a Hadassah Feil.[22] In 1930 Benjamin was still living in Brooklyn but with his wife, two sons and a servant.[22] He still worked hand-in-hand with his father and was a 'commercial traveler' for their toy company.[22] Morris (73) and Rose (67) were now on their own at home.[23] They were renting a home on Osborn Street and Morris was listed as a 'peddler of Notions.'

The last documented trip found for Morris and Rose was in 1934 when they returned to New York from Genoa.[24] Morris' one love died on the 27th of August in 1937, at the age of seventy.[25] She was laid to rest in the Montefiore Cemetery. Morris died almost one year later, on the 21st of July 1938.[1] He had reached the age of sixty-eight.[1] Morris was also laid to rest in the Montefiore cemetery in Brooklyn.[1] A gentle soul that will be long remembered for his 'Teddy's Bear' and, by some, for his altruism.

The Ideal Novelty and Toy Company

Ideal began making dolls in 1907. Their first doll was “Yellow Kid” from the “The Yellow Kid” comic strip by Richard Felton Outcault. After that they began making a line of baby and character dolls such as Naughty Marietta from the Victor Herbert operetta and Admiral Dot. Ideal advertised their dolls as unbreakable since they were made of composition, a material made of sawdust and glue. Ideal produced over 200 variations of dolls throughout the composition era
The Ideal Novelty and Toy Company remained in family ownership until the 1970s.[3][17]

Research Notes

  • In the 1930 census they wrote Morris' occupation as 'peddler' but his occupation code (9191) was actually reserved for 'hucksters and peddlers.'[23] Maybe his business was still fairly small at that point.
  • Morris died one year before WWII started

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Morris Michtom, 21 Jul 1938; citing Death, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,131,754.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "New York State Census, 1905," database with images, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Morris Michton, Brooklyn, A.D. 17, E.D. 13, Kings, New York; citing p. , line 47, various county clerk offices, New York; FHL microfilm 1,930,272.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 "Save Bedford Stuyvesant" Blogspot.com (SaveBedfordStuyvesant.blogspot.com : accessed 27 September 2019), article online dated 2 April 2009, source information from the American Jewish Historical Society.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record Image : accessed 27 September 2019), entry for Benjamin Franklin Michtom, 1925; citing Selected Passports. National Archives, Washington, D.C.. [Benjamin born 13 Jul 1901; Father: Morris Michtom, born in Russia, residing at 180 Winthrop St, Brooklyn, NY, emigrated to the United States and has lived here for 37 years uninterruptedly, from 1888 to 1925]
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 "Rose & Morris Michtom" JewishVirtualLibrary.org The American Jewish Historical Society on Rose & Morris Michtom, accessed 27 September 2019.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, California)," database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry record Image : accessed 27 September 2019), article about the origin of the Teddy Bear; citing Independent Press-Telegram. Long Beach, California, United States Of America. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Morris Michton, Brooklyn Ward 29, Kings, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 964, sheet 11A, family 201, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 983; FHL microfilm 1,374,996.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "New Jersey Births and Christenings, 1660-1980," database, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Maurice Michtom in entry for Amelia Michtom, 12 Sep 1893; citing Newark, Essex, New Jersey, reference ; FHL microfilm 494,225.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Morris Michtom in entry for Frederic Michtom, 25 Sep 1897; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,934.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Goldfield, David R. and Blaine A. Brownell, Urban America: A History (2nd ed. 1990), p 299.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Kunstler, Mort. "Theodore Roosevelt: The Hunter" TheodoreRoosevelt.org (TheodoreRoosevelt.org : accessed 27 September 2019), ©1977.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "History of Teddy Bear" HistoryOfDolls.com ©2019, viewed on 27 September 2019.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 True story of the Teddy Bear by The Theodore Roosevelt Association. Theodoreroosevelt.org. Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940," database, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 2 October 2019), Morris Michtom in entry for David Rosenstein and Emily Michtom, 20 Apr 1921; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,287.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Eaton, Seymour". Herringshaw's American Blue-book of Biography. American Publishers' Association. 1914. p. 332.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Eaton, Seymour on Wikipedia as viewed on 27 September 2019.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Teddy Bears". Library Of Congress. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Morris Michtom, Brooklyn Assembly District 21, Kings, New York, United States; citing ED 1318, sheet 9A, line 9, family 272, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1177; FHL microfilm 1,821,177.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Ray, Michael. "Timeline of World War I" Brittanica (Brittannica.com : accessed 27 September 2019), no date.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "History of New York City" as viewed on Wikipedia.org on 27 September 2019.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 "New York State Census, 1925," database, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Joseph S Michtom, Brooklyn, A.D. 21, E.D. 14, Kings, New York, United States; records extracted by Ancestry and images digitized by FamilySearch; citing p. 6, line 47, New York State Archives, Albany.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 2 October 2019), Benjamin Michtom, Brooklyn (Districts 1251-1500), Kings, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1261, sheet 2B, line 75, family 41, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1495; FHL microfilm 2,341,230.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 2 October 2019), Morris Mischkin, Brooklyn (Districts 0501-0750), Kings, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 567, sheet 9A, line 25, family 193, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1543; FHL microfilm 2,341,278.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "New York Book Indexes to Passenger Lists, 1906-1942," database with images, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Morris Michtom, 1934; citing Immigration, New York, United States, citing ship , New York Passenger Lists, 1906-1942 NARA microfilm publication T612. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 674; FHL microfilm .
  25. 25.0 25.1 "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 2 October 2019), Morris Michtom in entry for Mrs. Rose Michtom, 27 Aug 1937; citing Death, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,131,347.
See Also:
  • "New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909," database, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Morris Michton in entry for Benjamin Franklin Michton, 13 Jul 1901; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 12082 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,984,861.
  • "Brasil, São Paulo, Cartões de Imigração, 1902-1980," database with images, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Morris Michtom in entry for Benjamin Franklin Michtom, 1954; citing Immigration, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, certificate , registration , Arquivo Público do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo State Public Archives), Brazil.[Benjamin was born 13 Jul 1901 in the United States]
  • "United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," database with images, FamilySearch (www.FamilySearch.org : accessed 27 September 2019), Joseph Stewart Michtom, 1942; citing NARA microfilm publication M1936, M1937, M1939, M1951, M1962, M1964, M1986, M2090, and M2097 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • Morris Michtom on Wikipedia as viewed on 27 September 2019.


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The Smithsonian Teddy Bear is one of the very first mass produced, Ideal Teddy Bears but the very first, hand-sewn, Morris and Rose Michtoms, Teddy Bear, made in honor of then President Theodore Roosevelt was very stiff, stood upright and had a smile! This is what caused the frenzy of Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1903!
posted by Robert Csech
Based on the 1900 and 1910 US Census, Morris and Rose married between 1888 and 1889.
posted by Alice Luckhardt