True story.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
September 22, 2017

Some childhood characters are household names for our Southern ears. The Velveteen Rabbit. Tweety. The Cookie Monster, of course.

Here’s one more we’re intimately acquainted with: Winnie the Pooh. Well, it turns out, the beloved storybook character isn’t quite what we think. The title bear fist came to be known in the 1926 children's book Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. Later, it evolved into a blockbuster Disney franchise including an animated feature, live-action series, movie, ride, and more.

And all this time we thought Winnie was a boy. All this time, we were wrong.

A child’s book Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear revealed the surprising truth about Pooh Bear.

Written by Lindsay Mattick, the great-granddaughter of the soldier who brought Winnie to England to begin with, the book has plenty of fascinating tales. But....we still can’t get over Winnie’s gender.

As the illustrated book unearths, the famed bear is named after a black bear residing in the London Zoo called Winnie, short for Winnipeg. Now, as many Southern baby name sleuths may realize, Winnie is, in fact, a girl’s name. Often short for two other vintage favorites, Winifred and Gwendolyn, it somehow never struck us as odd that we were calling Winnie a “he” for all these years. Like many, we simply assumed Winnie was a boy.

We’ll go ahead and let you stir some bourbon into Pooh’s ole honey pot and let that one settle.