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Lincoln Logs, Teddy Bears, and Baby Ruth

September 1, 2015

Lincoln was truly born in a log cabin, and Theodore Roosevelt did indeed inspire the Teddy Bear, but the Baby Ruth candy bar arrived on the scene 30 years after the birth of Ruth Cleveland. Ruth was the eldest child of Grover and Frances Cleveland and was born not when her father was President, but between his nonconsecutive terms. When the Baby Ruth candy bar was introduced, she had been dead for 17 years, having succumbed to diphtheria in 1904. The McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Taft administrations had all come and gone. The two-term presidency of Woodrow Wilson ended in 1921. The passage of time and the occurrence of memorable events such as The Great War, now known as World War I, had all but erased the public’s memory of the distant reform era associated with President Cleveland.

So, why in 1921 did the Curtiss Candy Company market a candy bar named Baby Ruth? The official explanation mentions Ruth Cleveland, but the timing is very suspicious, especially when one considers that George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr. had hit a record 54 home runs in 1920.

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