NEWS RELEASE: Historic Huguenot Street Presents Exhibition of Vintage Steiff Teddy Bears
NEW PALTZ, NY (November 9, 2015) – The Historic Huguenot Street Curatorial Department has developed a new exhibition in honor of the winter holiday season. Now on display in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center (81 Huguenot Street), “Steiff and Friends: Vintage Teddy Bears” presents a selection of early-20th century stuffed animal toys from the Collection of Sanford Levy and the Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection.
“I’ve been collecting Steiff bears and other antique toys for 40 years,” said Sanford Levy, antiques dealer and Historic Huguenot Street Board Vice President. “It’s a pleasure to be able to share these historic, iconic objects with the public for the holiday season.”
The German company Steiff rose to fame in the late-19th century. German seamstress Margarete Steiff laid the foundation for the now-internationally renowned company by founding a felt business in 1880. In 1902, the company created the first bear with jointed arms and legs. In 1904, the company created the world’s first stuffed bear with movable limbs, the “Bear 55 PB”, the original Teddy Bear. By 1907, almost a million Steiff teddy bears had been produced and the company became an important proponent of the “international teddy bear craze.” Other toy companies, such as the Ideal Toy Company, rose simultaneously and fed off of the popularized stuffed bear demand. Today, Steiff continues to produce stuffed toys, but none are as special to collectors as the original early-20th century bears.
“Steiff has developed a base of international admirers and collectors over the past century,” said Ashley Trainor, Historic Huguenot Street Registrar and Collections Assistant. “We are very lucky to have a collection of these original iconic Teddy Bears available for current generations to enjoy.”
The Museum Shop now offers a variety of collectible Steiff bears, following the tradition of quality of those featured in this exhibition. There are eleven styles of Steiff bears available, including 3 collectible replicas of styles from 1906, 1909, and 1920, and a holiday bear.
The exhibition will be on display in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center through December 20, open to the public on weekends 10 – 5 pm. The Museum Shop is also open on weekends 10 – 5 pm.
A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres that was the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement, including seven stone houses that date to the early eighteenth century. It was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve the nationally acclaimed collection of stone houses. Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, conserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families, from the sixteenth century to today.
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