If you need any confirmation that stuffed animals are really important in our culture and life, there it is – Gund stuffies are going into a museum display. The company has announced that many of her most popular plush animals and archives will be part of The Strong museum in Rochester, NY.
Gund has selected more than 200 plushies and stuffed animals spanning the entire history of the company beginning from 1927. The collection is spanning all the way to the 1970s and includes corporate records and other documents as well.
Among the stuffies you can see Mickey Mouse, Felix the Cat and many other famous characters. Of course, there are some of Gund’s all-time bestsellers, projects that changed the course of the company and so on.
The collection also features corporate documents, patents, correspondence, even copyright information. The Strong will select what documents are suited for the exhibit called Play Pals. There are also photos taken by Annie Liebovitz, who is a famous photographer. These pictures were used for a national advertising campaign and trade catalogs. Gund has even given artworks and scrapbooks where you can see some of the projects of the company in their very early stage.
Gund is founded by German immigrant Adolf Gund in Norwalk, CT in 1898. From the get-go the company has been making stuffed animals and set itself apart by using the top quality materials for its toys. In 1925 though Gund retired and sold the company to his business partner Jacob Swedlin. He decided to retain the name as it was well established.
The company was doing well over the years but it got its big break in 1947 when it landed a deal with Disney. This partnership allowed Gund to make stuffed toy versions of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Dumbo, Snow White, Mary Poppins and many more of Disney’s most popular characters.
In 1969 the company was led by Herbert Raiffe who took over as president. In the 1980s Gund was the first plush animal manufacturer to have a national advertising campaign. This is when the slogan “Gotta Getta Gund” was popularized for the first time. In 2008 Gund was sold to Enseco LLC and Bruce Raiffe is president.
“Through the decades, Gund has pioneered innovations in safety and manufacturing, setting standards in the plush toy industry,” says Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at The Strong to Gifts & Dec. “The toys and documents in this collection offer invaluable resources for anyone seeking to understand the history and development of the toy industry.”
Raiffe added, “For more than 100 years, Gund plush toys have delighted both Americans and global consumers. I am grateful that this history will be preserved for future generations by a world-class institution like The Strong.”
The exhibition will be ready soon.