I've been collecting antique teddy bears for about 15 years, and I've just finally managed to acquire something I've longed for all that time: a bear with provenance. The greatest associated item one can hope for with an antique bear is a photo of the original owner holding said bear. The next best: a photo of the original owner, period. This find falls into a category of its own, as it includes a picture of the original owner, family photos, a handwritten geneaology, and a children's book, also from the original owner and inscribed with his name.
The bear is a 10 inch American ted, with a definitive date of 1917, given to his original owner when he was born. The bear has an inset fabric nose and glass bead eyes, and sports one of the greatest smiles I've ever seen on an antique teddy.
He was originally purchased for Daniel Munn Richmond, Junior, of Grundy Center, Iowa. Below is a school picture of Daniel, aged 6. Isn't he a cutie? And, if you look closely, you'll see an illustration of the Three Bears on the wall behind him...
Here's the inscription on the photo's back. It reads: "Daniel Munn Richmond, Junior Age 6 years May 1924 Grundy Center Grundy Co. Iowa"
A whole sheaf of genealogical treasures came with Daniel's bear, including photos of his family (that's mom and dad below), a handwritten family tree dating back to the 1770s, and a letter from his family members who sold the bear to my dealer (the same dealer who provided my Victorian doll trunks full of toys: she's really good at finding stuff like this):
The final item in the lot was this 1919 children's book, Doctor Rabbit and Grumpy Bear, inscribed with Daniel's name.
Daniel died in 1968 at the relatively young age of 51, but I hope he would be comforted to know his bear is being well-looked after.