Polar the Titanic Bear is a children's book written by Margaretta "Daisy" Corning Spedden (née Stone) (19 November 1872 – 10 February 1950). Spedden was an American heiress who survived the sinking of the Titanic, and her account of her family's trip and the eventual disaster, written as a tale to amuse her seven-year-old son, was published about 45 years after her death. The story is told from the point of view of a Teddy Bear.[1]

How the story was written

Spedden was born in Morristown, New Jersey and lived with her husband Frederic and son Douglas in Tuxedo Park, New York. The family traveled frequently, and she kept detailed diaries of the trips.

In April, 1912, the Speddens booked passage on the Titanic. After the ship sank, Daisy was rescued by the RMS Carpathia.[2] All members of the Spedden entourage survived the disaster.[3] The next year, Spedden wrote and illustrated a book which told the story of the trip, sinking, and rescue from the point of view of Douglas' Teddy Bear.[4] She gave the storybook to Douglas as a Christmas present.[5] Two years later, Douglas was killed in an automobile accident.[6] Daisy died February 10, 1950, and the storybook remained among the family possessions for the next forty years.[7]


After many years, the storybook was found in a trunk by Leighton H. Coleman III, a relative of Spedden's, and he decided to have it published. The story was edited by Hugh Brewster of Madison Books in Toronto, Ontario, and Canadian artist Laurie McGaw was chosen to illustrate the book in watercolours.[8] Coleman wrote an introduction explaining how the story came about.[1] Some of Spedden's photographs and pictures of Titanic souvenirs were also used as illustrations. Madison Books published the first edition in 1994.


The book has been translated into German, Spanish, Dutch and Japanese.[8]


Polar the Titanic Bear has won a number of awards for children's literature, including:

See also


  1. ^ a b Eugene L. Rasor (1 January 2001). The Titanic: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-0-313-31215-1.
  2. ^ "Mrs Margaretta Corning Spedden (née Stone)", encyclopedia titanica
  3. ^ Titanic Titanic.com
  4. ^ Barbara Stoodt (1996). Children's Literature. Macmillan Education AU. pp. 281–. ISBN 978-0-7329-4012-6.
  5. ^ "Tuxedo Historical Society to raffle Steiff Titanic bear, book". Record Online.
  6. ^ Dunaief, Daniel. "Long Islanders voyaged on Titanic, the ship of dreams" Archived 2014-08-16 at archive.today. Long Islander, 11 April 2012.
  7. ^ Carole Marsh (1 September 1998). Gigantic Titanic Trivia for Kids!. Carole Marsh Books. pp. 62–. ISBN 978-0-7933-8985-8.
  8. ^ a b c Gail Edwards; Judith Saltman (2010). Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Children's Illustrated Books and Publishing. University of Toronto Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-8020-8540-5.
  9. ^ "Polar the Titanic Bear". Looking Glass Reviews
  10. ^ Bette DeBruyne Ammon; Gale W. Sherman (1996). Worth a Thousand Words: An Annotated Guide to Picture Books for Older Readers. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 136–. ISBN 978-1-56308-390-7.
  11. ^ "Vintage Review: Polar the Titanic Bear". Kids Book Review
  12. ^ Library and Archives Canada, Award Winning Books
  13. ^ Children's Book Council of Australia, Books I Love Best Yearly Archived 2014-10-21 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Wendy Killeen (May 3, 1998). "Children's author guest in Wenham". The Boston Globe (Boston, MA). The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2014 – via HighBeam Research.