When illustrator and cartoonist Johnny Gruelle’s terminally ill daughter, Marcella, found a faded rag doll in her grandmother’s attic, he painted a new, smiling face on the toy. Naming it Raggedy Ann after two poems by his friend James Whitcomb Riley, “The Raggedy Man” and “Orphan Annie,” he made up a series of stories around this character to entertain his only child, who loved to spend hours playing dolls.
After her death in 1916, Gruelle wrote and illustrated 25 storybooks based on those tales. Responding to the series’ popularity, in 1918, Gruelle and his family made several dozen dolls to sell with the books, and later that year, Gruelle licensed the publisher, the P.F. Volland Company, to manufacture the dolls based on his 1915 patent for an all-cloth doll with shoe-button eyes, a painted face, brown yarn hair, a dress, pantaloons, a pinafore, stripped legs, and black cloth shoes.
Soon after the dolls were sold, Gruelle received a package from a childhood playmate of his mother, who explained that their mothers had made a pair of boy-and-girl companion dolls for their two children. In the package, she had sent him Raggedy Ann’s “twin brother,” Andy, and soon the family started to license dolls of Raggedy Andy and other characters from the books, including Beloved Belindy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, as well as coloring books, puzzles, and games. All are hot collectors’ items today.
It is rumored that the original P.F. Volland dolls had a real candy heart, but after parents complained the candy was switched out with a cardboard heart. Mollye Goldman was the first, in 1935, to produce the dolls with an “I Love You” heart imprinted on the chest.
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Parade Director Michael Young Outdoes Himself Once Again!Estes Park news (press release), November 26th
Parade goers might remember “Nick the Sock Monkey” from last year. Michael likes to keep the parade fresh and no float character is ever around for more than two years. Good old “Nick the Sock Monkey is now an adorable Raggedy Ann on a float with other ...Read more
Deck the Hall ready to enthrall holiday visitors to Stan HywetAkron Beacon Journal, November 25th
Antique and vintage toys loaned from Susie's Museum of Childhood in Carrollton are displayed in three of the bedrooms of the Manor House, and dozens of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls fill the end of the North Hallway. The Master Bedroom has been turned ...Read more
Raggedy Ann takes first place in Halloween Costume ContestFremont Tribune, November 10th
Raggedy Ann dolls have been beloved since the child, Marcella Gruelle, found a discarded rag doll that her father repaired for her and named her so in the early 1900s. Two-year-old Tegan Betts brought the doll to life Oct. 30 as she participated in the ...Read more
raggedy ann dollsBwog, November 10th
This weekend I avoided homework, frat parties, and sporting events, and participated in a revelatory experience: the Intergroup Community Building Initiative (ICBI), hosted by Barnard Student Life and Columbia University Office of Multicultural Affairs...Read more
Doll collectors celebrate 100 years of Raggedy AnnThecountypress, November 7th
Doll collectors celebrate 100 years of Raggedy Ann. BY PHIL FOLEY. 810-452-2616 • email@example.com. IMLAY CITY — A century ago an Illinois writer and illustrator filed a patent for a potbellied doll with a goofy smile that became an American icon...Read more
Raggedy Ann in CandylandPerrycountynews, November 2nd
If you subscribe to the newspaper, you receive FREE access to all the exclusive content of the web site! Simply register to receive uninterrupted access to our award-winning and in-depth local online content!...Read more
Make a do-it-yourself Raggedy Ann and Andy couples costume for HalloweenExaminer.com, October 28th
Raggedy Ann and her companion, Raggedy Andy, first made the scene in doll form in 1915, followed by a 1918 book, Raggedy Ann Stories, by American author Johnny Gruelle. Basing the stories on an old rag doll he found in his mother's attic, Gruelle ...Read more
The Inside Story of Raggedy Ann, Who Turns 100 Years Old This WeekYahoo Parenting, September 8th
Back in 1915, kids' favorite activities — when they weren't working in the mines or in textile factories — included shooting marbles, catching 7-cent movies, and playing with Raggedy Ann. And though times have clearly changed, the beloved children's...Read more