Thursday, May 28, 2009

Teddy Bear Authority: calling all arctophiles

Being a Teddy Bear expert seems like an enviable job, doesn't it? No doubt it involves lots of hard work and mastery of arcane Teddy lore, but still, it makes you wonder why high school guidance counselors don't mention this to kids who don't seem to fit into any conventional career track. What made me think of this is that Teddy Bear authority and former Christie's Auction House Teddy expert, Leyla Maniera, wrote Christie's Century of Teddy Bears, a beautifully illustrated book with chapter headings like: The Birth of the Bear; The Bear at War; The Roaring Bear; and the Bear Boomers. There is a section on Literary Bears (p.114) which covers Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear and Sebastian Flyte's bear Aloysius from Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. In that case, actor Anthony Andrews is actually as cute as his bear. Most Teddy Bears are pretty cute except for the early ones. Aside from the fact that old bears can have matted or missing fur, sometimes they are just too skinny and kind of creepy looking with teeth visibly bared (beared?)

The Wikipedia Teddy Bear article points out that Teddy Bear collectors are known as arctophiles. Arctophiles may be interested that a keyword search for the phrase "Teddy Bear" in the BHPL catalog resulted in 77 titles and a search for the keyword "bear" resulted in over 250 titles. Our catalog cannot count higher than 250, so it just says "over 250" when a search finds too many hits for its little computer brain to process. More than 250 bears was more than the catalog could bear. Sorry.

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