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

Bet you can't read this post without going, 'Awww'
USA TODAY, April 20th

When I look at Raggedy Ann, she takes me back to wonderful times with my family... Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, author of The King Trilogy (May 15). I had many cool toys growing up — The Strawberry Shortcake doll collection, a pogo stick, Betty Crocker...Read more

Another great Spring Craft Show
The Record Gazette, April 18th

Spring Craft Show. Carol Allbaugh and her friend Dorothy Pratt with Carol's handmade soft sculptured dolls. She also had a large variety of Raggedy Ann dolls. All goods sold at the Craft Show must be handmade by Sun Lakes residents...Read more

'Lebensraum' challenges, inspires audience
Boston Globe, April 10th

Silke Hundertmark plays the red-headed doll after it comes to life, and her performance best expresses the show's double nature, combining Raggedy Ann cuteness with the implacability of a Terminator. No matter what shape these guys fold her into, she...Read more

Cleveland Corner: Memories of Cleveland County
Shelby Star, April 7th

She hand-made Raggedy Ann and Andys, as well as other crafts. Her home was like a kid paradise. We had two huge oak trees on the front lawn that I played under, and the neighborhood was a great place to ride bikes. The Italian restaurant of choice was ...Read more

3 Applicator-Free Blushes for Lazy People
Fashionista, April 2nd

When you first apply it, you get a horrifying Raggedy Ann look, but a little gentle blending with your fingertips makes the most natural-looking flush ever. Make Up For Ever HD Blush, $26: This is another example of a brand capitalizing on the...Read more

Discount bears, Mrs. Santa's dolls
Pocono Record, April 1st

Appealing to adult collectors, the store offered Steiff plush animals and childhood favorites such as Raggedy Ann dolls. For youngsters who did not prefer dolls, there were stuffed animals, large and small. What is the address for the Discovery Channel?...Read more

Grady County family brings generations of experience to market
Chickasha Express Star, April 1st

Riley said her grandmother made sock monkeys for 50 years, as well as Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, and sold them from her home. She said she remembers her grandmother making an organic potato patch and she appreciates knowing where her food ...Read more

Sharp minds, sewing needles make a million dolls and blankets for hospitalized ...
Florida Times-Union, March 25th

Mary Castagno is a 91-year-old dynamo when it comes to making Raggedy Ann dolls. As she sits at the Sew & Chat table in an activity room at the Brookdale Cypress Village retirement community, she shoves fluffy stuffing into a seam. Each doll is tested...Read more