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Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Simone and I were transfixed throughout last week by the Public Television series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” In seven two-hour episodes, archival documentary filmmaker Ken Burns captures the monumental lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. One story Burns did not cover in his dynastic biopic was the presidential origin of teddy bear.

Mothers sewed stuffed bears before President Theodore Roosevelt came along, but no one called them teddy bears. Not until November 1902, when the president went on a bear hunt in Smedes, Miss.

Roosevelt was acting as adjudicator for a border dispute between Louisiana and Mississippi. On Nov. 14, during a break in the negotiations, he was invited by southern friends to go bear hunting. Roosevelt felt that he could consolidate his support in the South by appearing there in the relaxed atmosphere of a hunting party, so he accepted the invitation.

During the hunt, Roosevelt’s hosts cornered a bear cub, and a guide roped it to a tree for the president to kill. Roosevelt declined to shoot the cub, believing such an act to be beneath his dignity as a hunter and as a man: “If I shot that little fellow, I wouldn’t be able to look my boys in the face again.”

That Sunday’s Washington Post carried a cartoon, drawn by artist Clifford Berryman (1869-1949), of Roosevelt standing in hunting gear, rifle in hand and his back toward the cowering cub. The caption read, “Drawing the line in Mississippi,” referring both to the border dispute and to animal ethics.

Now the story switches to the wilds of Brooklyn, N.Y. There, Russian immigrants Morris and Rose Michtom owned a candy store where they sold handmade stuffed animals. Inspired by Berryman’s cartoon, Rose Michtom made a toy bear and displayed it in the shop window. The bear proved wildly popular with the public.

The Michtoms sent Roosevelt the very bear they had put in their window. They said it was meant for Roosevelt’s grandchildren and asked T.R. for permission to confer linguistic immortality upon him. The president replied, “I don’t know what my name may mean to the bear business but you’re welcome to use it.”

Well, T.R.’s name turned out to do a lot for the bear business. Rose and Morris began turning out stuffed cubs labeled Teddy’s bear, in honor of our 26th president, and business boomed. As the demand increased, the family hired extra seamstresses and rented a warehouse. Their operation eventually became the Ideal Toy Corp.

The bear was a prominent emblem in Roosevelt’s successful 1904 election campaign, and Teddy’s bear was enshrined in dictionaries in 1907. Cartoonist Berryman never sought compensation for the many uses of the cub he had created. He simply smiled and said, “I have made thousands of children happy; that is enough for me.”

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My recent column on apostrophes inspired a mailbag of questions about punctuation. Here are a few:

I wonder if you could clarify the use of apostrophes in single letters or numbers: “I have five Is (or is it I’s?) in Scrabble” or “There are two 4s (4’s?) in my phone number.” — Kay Tafini Rosell

Use apostrophes to pluralize only when confusion would otherwise result: Hence, “five I’s” (Is would be confusing), but “two 4s.”

Do periods fall inside or outside of quotation marks? — Eric Kallen

In U.S. punctuation, periods should always — without exception — appear inside end-quotation marks.

My boss, who has an advanced degree in English, begins each email like this: Hi, Richard. Is the comma after the word Hi correct? One does not begin a letter with Dear, Richard. — J. Taylor

Your boss is right to write Hi, Richard. The comma reflects a natural pause before Richard, which is a second-person direct address. The Dear in Dear Richard is an adjective and should not be cleft from its noun by a comma.

Please send your questions and comments about language to richard.lederer@utsandiego.com