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 to Fake Freckles
Fashionista (blog), April 24th

It's probably conjuring up images inside you right now of Raggedy Ann, Pippi Longstocking and Little Orphan Annie. And I get it! It's scary, and usually looks ridiculous and Halloweeny. But hear me out for just a second: I LOVE my freckles. I love...Read more

Mon, Apr 27th, 2015
Fillmore County Journal, April 24th

Agnes was also an accomplished seamstress; in her later years she made countless Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and beautiful baby quilts that were loved by all who were lucky enough to receive them. Agnes' grandchildren and great-grandchildren will ...Read more

'My Doll and Tea' event is May 3 at Hetfield House in Mountainside
NJ.com, April 23rd

As an authority on Raggedy Ann and Andy, he has appeared on the Today Show, Midday Live with Bill Boggs, and Joan Lunden's "Mother's Day." Green was the doll expert in residence at FAO Schwarz and worked for the Käthe Kruse Doll Company...Read more

'Pink' among Round Up champs
Appeal-Democrat, April 23rd

Bareback rider Jessy Davis earned a first place on bronc Raggedy Ann, and Chuck Schmidt went home with a first place on saddle bronc Holy Hoppin Hell. Next year's Red Bluff Round-Up will be April 15-17, 2016. For more information on the rodeo, visit ...Read more

Bar Guide 2015: Bar of the Year Runners-Up
Willamette Week, April 22nd

And so one month, performance artist Alicia McDaid plied her trade while at the bar, playing a different role each night, from Raggedy Ann to a Drew Barrymore-obsessed teen. The next “bartender in residence,” local publishing house Publication Studio, ...Read more

Witt, Meredith
Herald & Review, April 22nd

Meredith's craftiness could range from Raggedy Ann dolls and wedding dresses to kitchen pads or graduation suits. Raggedy Ann dolls started when her daughter Robin had lost the eyes to one of her dolls. Meredith created a whole new doll with a safer...Read more

Rescue a Pet: Raggedy Ann
WPRI 12 Eyewitness News, April 8th

Raggedy Ann has a health condition called hyperthyroidism, which is managed with medication and doctor visits. She is very sweet and easygoing. However, she is not a fan of other cats but she may get used to other dogs. If you'd like to adopt Raggedy...Read more

The Strange Link Between Raggedy Ann and the Anti-Vaxxers
Philadelphia Magazine (blog), February 23rd

I didn't have a Raggedy Ann doll when I was little, but I had Raggedy Ann books, written and illustrated by one Johnny Gruelle. The one I especially remember was called Raggedy Ann's Lucky Pennies. What I mostly remember about it was that it was dark ...Read more