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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Recent News: Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls

Source: Google News

Abigail Means: Family, friends race for cure of little girl's deadly genetic ...
WCPO, February 26th

Her constant companion is a Raggedy Ann doll, with its head full of floppy red yarn for hair. Abigail, much like the song she often sings, is her mother and father's “sunshine.” Sadly for Jen and Mike Means, and all those whose are touched by Abigail's...Read more

One-hundred shows later...
Grand Island Independent, February 25th

A job opportunity brought Baker and his family to Bismarck, N.D. in the late 1980s, and Baker found himself directing the first of 100 professional shows at the local children's theatre, The Shade Tree Players. “My first show was 'Raggedy Ann and Andy...Read more

One potato, two potato: Pancakes on the way! One recipe
Standard-Examiner, February 25th

For Mia Alessi, cooking isn't just about the food. The Maryland 14-year-old has created her own baked goods line “Bratty Crocker,” a spin on the Betty Crocker cake mix brand, brought to life through Mia's quirky Raggedy Ann-style alter ego. She sells...Read more

Raggedy Ann and Andy celebrate 100th anniversary
Folsom Telegraph, February 18th

Collector and story teller Mary Schwind shared the story of Raggedy Ann and Andy's beginnings in honor of their 100th anniversary for a full audience at the El Dorado Hills Senior Center last week. “(I was) fascinated by the historical and cultural...Read more

TCT gets dolled up for 'Raggedy Ann and Andy'
Topeka Capital Journal, February 12th

Although she has a head stuffed with cloth, Raggedy Ann has one bright idea after another in the Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy youth production of “Raggedy Ann and Andy.” Raggedy Ann (Abby Musick) and her brave-to-his-cotton-core brother, Raggedy ...Read more

The classic, smiley Raggedy Ann dolls were originally handmade in West ...
Michigan Radio, September 30th

If there's been a little girl in your life at any point, chances are pretty good that Raggedy Ann made her way into your home. The cloth doll with the yarn hair and the candy-cane-striped stockings has been a part of America's toy scene for a century...Read more

Made in Michigan: Raggedy Ann dolls
WZZM, August 7th

Who knew Raggedy Ann has a Muskegon connection? Ann Dake did, and she's organized an exhibit running at the Muskegon Heritage Museum through Saturday to tell others about the connection. The character and doll were created around 1915 by a ...Read more

Three downtown museums to celebrate Raggedy Ann's Muskegon roots
The Muskegon Chronicle, July 27th

Raggedy Ann -- the well-known rag doll with red yarn hair, a triangle nose and star of a series of children's books written by American writer Johnny Gruelle -- will be the focus of events held at the Muskegon Museum of Art, the Muskegon Heritage...Read more