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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Be Like Mike (Dunleavy Jr.)
FanSided, April 23rd

He came to win, and that's as desirable a quality as you're going to get out of a 33-year-old with a propensity of getting tossed around on-court like a contemporary raggedy ann doll. Six other small forwards that have played in all 82 games this...Read more

Sarah Hyland looks like a doll in creepy new fashion shoot
Daily Mail, April 22nd

Laying on her back with her knees drawn up to her chest, Sarah stares off into the distance while hugging a Raggedy Ann doll that looks eerily like her. While being one of the most successful young actors on television thanks to her ABC sitcom Modern...Read more

Raggedy Ann, Andy re-enter woman's life after 25 years
Herald & Review, April 21st

DECATUR – Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy turn out to have a finely developed homing instinct. Retired Decatur seamstress Grace Floyd created her 27-inch-tall versions of the rag dolls about 25 years ago from a commercial pattern. She made two sets at ...Read more

Fate smiles
Herald & Review, April 20th

But life, unlike Raggedy Ann, has a habit of not always smiling. Mother-in-law eventually became an ex-mother-in-law, and daughter Brenda Peoples is now happily remarried. We live, we learn and we move on, and no one thinks much about what happens ...Read more

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

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