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

Who's in the big Wagon Days parade?
Idaho Mountain Express and Guide, September 2nd

Here comes Raggedy Ann and Andy on their way to the Dodge National Finals Rag Doll Rodeo with their faithful little mini horse, Ice, driven by Kathleen. 45) Mighty Minis. The Mighty Minis perform in parades throughout the West. 46) Mini Mules too...Read more

Updated: Arthur zoo developer targets Rockome Gardens
Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette, September 2nd

ARCOLA — The community known for Raggedy Ann, broom corn and the Lawn Rangers is on its way to becoming home to what had been, until recently, a bitterly contested development nearby, the wild animal drive-through animal park and zoo called ...Read more

Bernadette Peters Born For The Spotlight
27east.com, September 1st

Watching Bernadette Peters singing “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” reclined atop a grand piano—head tossed back, hair wildly enmeshed—she looks as though Botticelli painted her.Ms. Peters, who is equally at home as a fairy-tale icon singing...Read more

Irene Fisher
Columbus Telegram, September 1st

Her main hobbies included gardening and canning, crafts, sewing, making scrubbies, ducky towels and turtle sleeping bags for all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, making Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and attending her sons' wrestling matches...Read more

A great family getaway at Soaring Eagle
WOODTV.com, August 31st

Eighties metal band Quiet Riot is the headliner for this year's Middle of the Mitt Music Festival on September 19. The event also features Davey Pattison of the rock band Gamma and some Michigan bands like Sahara Steel, Dies to Rise, and Raggedy Ann...Read more

Raggedy Ann celebrates 100th birthday: Great-niece of originator, from ...
Boyertown Berk Montgomery Newspapers, August 30th

Cindy Gruelle Goho, of Mohrsville, is the great-niece of Johnny Gruelle, the creator of the original Raggedy Ann doll. Goho and her husband, Rick, who have an extensive collection of Raggedy Ann dolls, memorabilia and vintage toys from the 1930s...Read more

Now blighted, Indy man looks to save 'Raggedy Ann and Andy' home
WISH-TV, August 25th

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the city continues to deal with this recent wave of violence, it's now turning its focus on abandoned homes. The Department of Public Safety says the homes become a hot bed for violence. The city says it wants to demolish 300 ...Read more

Museum planning Raggedy Ann Tea Party for art walk
Tiffin Advertiser Tribune, August 4th

The Fort Ball Room was near capacity Saturday for the Seneca County Museum's Summer Luncheon Program. The Seneca County Historical Society is celebrating its 100th year in 2015, and wanted to provide a topic that coincides with historical events from ...Read more