Happy Birthday Winnie-the-Pooh: Story naming huggable bear first published Christmas Eve 1925

It was 90 years ago today that Winnie-the-Pooh first appeared by name in print.

Author A.A. Milne had written about Christopher Robin’s teddy bear before – in a 1924 issue of Punch magazine and as Edward the bear – but not by the name we all love.

Children around the world first heard the name Winnie-the-Pooh on December 24, 1925, when a London newspaper, The Evening News, published a children’s story for Christmas by Milne. The piece was accompanied by the illustrations of J. H. Dowd.

WinniethePoohNewspaper

Pooh Bear, of course, was named after a real bear.

Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, who was bound for England during the First World War, paid a hunter the pricely sum of $20 for a bear cub in White River, Ontario. Colebourn, also a veterinarian, named the bear Winnie in honour of his hometown — Winnipeg, Manitoba.

WinnieHarryColebourn

The cub made her way to England, became the regiment’s mascot, before being donated to the London Zoo, where she was beloved by all who visited her, including Milne and his son, Christopher Robin Milne.

A.A. Milne poses with his son, Christopher Robin Milne and a stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh/Photo by Howard Coster, 1926
A.A. Milne poses with his son, Christopher Robin Milne and a stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh/Photo by Howard Coster, 1926

You can learn more about the Canadian roots of Winnie in a new children’s book by Lindsay Mattick titled Finding Winnie: The Story of the Real Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

Main Photo Disney

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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