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Pooh and pals exhibit.
Pooh and pals exhibit.

Original Pooh

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

Just around the corner from the literary lions, Patience and Fortitude (who guard the main branch of the New York Public Library), are some other bookish beasts: the stuffed animals that originally inspired A.A. Milne's Winnie-The-Pooh books. Pooh and his pals are on permanent display, currently part of a larger literary "Treasures" exhibit that includes the desk of Charles Dickens.

Winnie the Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh.

The dirty, matted, and somewhat mangled stuffed animals belonged to Milne's son, Christopher Robin. Milne purchased the original "Winnie" at Harrods department store in London in 1921 for Christopher's first birthday. The bear's original name was Edward. The other toys were acquired throughout the 1920s.

The publishing house E.P. Dutton bought the grubby huggies for $2,500 from A.A. Milne's estate after his death in 1956. Dutton later passed them along to the library.

There's something undeniably aw-shucks and heart-tugging about these survivors of excessive love (and possible dog chewing, according to a library fact sheet). Piglet is particularly beaten up; Eeyore is his usual sad-sack self; Tigger is a bit droopy; Kanga is the only perky one in the bunch.

But who is that new, pearl-wearing, fresh-from-the-factory addition next to Kanga? Why, its Lottie the Otter, created long after Milne was dead, for the 2009 "authorized sequel" Return to Hundred Acre Wood.

In other words...the coveted position of sidekick is a donated product of the Disney/Penguin Books marketing machine. [ADB]

Original Pooh

New York Public Library

5th Ave., New York, NY
In the main branch of the New York Public Library. In midtown Manhattan, on the west side of 5th Ave., between 42nd and 40th Sts.
Hours vary, but library is open daily from at least 10 am - 6 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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