Long before Disney got their hands on the chubby little cubby, Winnie-the-Pooh was a very real bear owned by a very real boy by the name of Christopher Robin. Pooh (or Edward as he might prefer to be called) was purchased at Harrod’s in London for Christopher Robin’s first birthday. The exciting new name bestowed upon Edward, Winnie-the-Pooh, is actually a compounded namesake of a bear at the London Zoo named Winnipeg (Winnie for short) and a pet swan of Christopher Robin named Pooh.
The rest of the gang were gifted to Christopher Robin over the years, inspired by the famous stories of his father, A.A. Milne. At one time the collection also included Roo, but he was lost many years ago. In 1956, they were gifted by Milne to his United States publisher, E.P. Dutton & Co. who put them on display. After a couple of trips back to their home country, they were donated to the New York Public Library in 1987 where they have remained on display to the public since.
Very recently, they have taken up new residence in the iconic Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street where they rest comfortably under protective glass.