“Fairyland must be filled with rag dolls, soft loppy rag dolls who go through all the beautiful adventures found there, nestling in the crook of a dimpled arm.”
—from “Raggedy Ann Stories,” by Johnny Gruelle, 1918
Step into the whimsical world of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, loved by generations of young and old alike for more than 90 years.
Raggedy Ann was born out of tragedy. John Barton Gruelle (1880-1938) conjured up the Raggedy Ann stories to entertain his ailing daughter, Marcella Delight Gruelle, who was fond of a rag doll she had found in her grandmother’s attic. When Marcella died in 1915 at the age of 13, Gruelle began writing the stories down.
In 1918, Johnny Gruelle sold his first volume of “Raggedy Ann Stories” to the P. F. Volland Company of Chicago. A Raggedy Ann rag doll came with each book. Her brother, Raggedy Andy, made his debut in “Raggedy Andy Stories” in 1920. Several more books in the Raggedy Ann series followed. Each unpaginated book measured 6” x 9 1/2”, came with a dust jacket, and had both color and black and white illustrations. The books had color pictorial endpapers, color pictorial paper-covered boards, and a black cloth spine.
I am delighted to have a collection of Raggedy Ann books passed down from my mother. The titles in the collection, along with their original publication year, are as follows: “Raggedy Andy Stories” (1920), “Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees” (1924), “Beloved Belindy” (1926), “Wooden Willie” (1927), “Raggedy Ann’s Fairy Stories” (1928), “Raggedy Ann’s Magical Wishes” (1928), “Marcella: A Raggedy Ann Story” (1929), and “Raggedy Ann in the Deep Deep Woods” (1930).
My mother has loving childhood memories of her mother reading the books to her, and eventually reading the books herself. I have fond memories of reading the books as a child at my family’s beach cottage. I would spend summer evenings carried off to an enchanted land where dolls come alive and have magical adventures when no human beings are around.
These timeless stories of Raggedy Ann, the rag doll with yarn hair and a candy heart, are delightful and the illustrations are simply beautiful. I treasure each book.