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

How an Introvert Learned to Connect
Huffington Post, August 3rd

(Having to hold a drink while dressed as Raggedy Ann has always struck me as a unique form of punishment.) But I knew—I hoped—there were quieter ways of connecting to place, to community, and to people who weren't my best friends. Experts stress that ...Read more

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp R29 Binge Club — Episodes 1-8
Refinery29, July 31st

Susie and Ben are dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper's characters are going for it. The rumor mill is apparently still abuzz, wanting to know if they're still a couple, and the answer is a resounding "yes." They rub...Read more

Raggedy Ann Performs
WZZM, July 30th

Raggedy Ann was formed in the late 80's but enjoyed much of its success in the early 90's and 2000's, playing the club circuits everywhere from Northern Michigan to Panama City Beach, Florida. Their melodic/progressive metal style was impressively ...Read more

Equine royalty comes to the Huntington Center
Toledo Blade, July 29th

To celebrate Raggedy Ann's 100th birthday, a special “Young Collector” event will be from 1-2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heritage Inn. Children 5-12 (and a parent or guardian) are invited to attend. Preregistration is required for this event that includes a...Read more

'Wet Hot American Summer' Prequel Creator and Cast Speak About Its Netflix Revival
Newsweek, July 27th

The premiere episode also features Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler performing a “floppy twins” duet dressed as Raggedy Ann dolls, John Slattery attempting a Willy Wonka–like somersault and a camp drop-off in a DeLorean. The series does more than ...Read more

Raggedy Ann to be feted
Tiffin Advertiser Tribune, July 26th

The Seneca County Historical Society and Museum Docents are to host a summer luncheon at the Seneca County Museum celebrating "The Life of Raggedy Ann" from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. This luncheon is part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the ...Read more

Stepping Stones Museum for Children Celebrates Norwalk Native Raggedy Ann
PR Web (press release), July 13th

The Norwalk Historical Society has generously lent its collection of Raggedy Ann and Andy memorabilia, including original dolls, books, a lunchbox and more for a special exhibit at Stepping Stones in celebration of Raggedy Ann's 100th birthday...Read more

World-renowned Raggedy Ann art installation added to downtown Muskegon
MLive.com, July 2nd

Muskegon County residents take a look at world-renowned doll, Raggedy Ann and Andy art installations for a celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the making of Raggedy Ann at a site located between the Muskegon Farmers Market and the ...Read more