Posted by: Jina Bacarr | August 2, 2011

Titanic and Teddy Bears

Teddy Bears, Polar Bears and Titanic, oh my.

What do teddy bears have in common with the Titanic? Let’s start with polar bears.

And a little boy who was a passenger on the Titanic.

In my novel, Katie O’Reilly, my hero, Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, is watching Katie from the Promenade deck arriving on the tender, Ireland, to board the Titanic. He’s fascinated when he sees her save the bag of a Jesuit theology student from going overboard:

A redheaded hussy with the air of a ministering angel.

He saw her help the Jesuit theology student disembarking the ship when he slipped on the wet wooden slats and dropped his bag, then it slid across the deck. Most likely the bag contained the photos Jack had seen him take of the ship and its passengers.

Risking her own safety, the girl raced after it and grabbed the bag before it went overboard, but not before sea spray wet her clothes. In a respectful manner, she returned it to him, then blessed herself.

So she was an Irish Catholic girl.

What Katie didn’t know was that bag contained the last photos of the Titanic taken by Father Browne. One of those photos showed a picture of a little boy playing on deck. He loved playing with his polar bear.

The boy survived the Titanic, but unfortunately three years later he was killed in an auto accident. In 1913 his mother wrote a story about the boy’s favorite polar bear’s adventures, but after the tragedy it was put away and forgotten.

Until years later in 1982.

The book was published in 1994 as “Polar The Titanic Bear.”

But that’s not the end of our bear story.

Teddy bears are as beloved to children as lollipops and spinning tops. They’re a comfort to a child and a fond memory long after a child grows up. In many an attic you’ll find dusty teddy bears just waiting for a child’s loving arms to hold them.

They warm the heart and comfort the soul.

Especially those who lost a loved one on the Titanic.

After the Titanic sinking in 1912, the Steiff Company in Germany manufactured six hundred black mohair teddy bears.

The “mourning bears,” as they were called, were commissioned as a sign of respect and were sold at Harrods in London to comfort many a widow or family member who lost someone on the Titanic.

I’m sure many heartfelt prayers were said while holding one of these teddy bears.

As my heroine Katie O’Reilly says before reciting a prayer: “…knowing it didn’t matter to Him what words a body said, only that they were true and pure.” 

Updated: CLICK HERE for a picture of the Titanic “mourning bear” and news about Steiff recreating the bear



  1. Polar, the Titanic Bear sounds very interesting.

    I still have my childhood teddy bear. He sits in a chair that my grandfather made for my mother when she was a child.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Helen!

    The story of Polar is a wonderful children’s book…well worth checking out.

    Thank you for sharing the story of your teddy bear, your mom and your grandfather’s chair…what a wonderful multi-generational way to keep those memories alive!

  3. And now the bear and the boy live on forever in that story.

    • So true, Alex…the whole Titanic experience is made up of stories like this one not generally known. Thanks for dropping by!

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