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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Vintage Dolls of the 50s
Kaylees Korner of Collectible Dolls
Museum of Childhood
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls
Source: Google News
Back-To-School LunchScene, August 31st
For girls as I recall, it was Barbie, Raggedy Ann, Josie and the Pussycats and it was also fine to have a Scooby Doo or Charlie Brown. I didn't pay much attention to the girls then, and they have long since returned that favor – but that's another tale...Read more
A great family getaway at Soaring EagleWOODTV.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
Through These Eyes: Everyone InsideLavender Magazine, August 30th
It's cringe-worthy: the wooden building blocks, the Raggedy Ann and Andy, giant puzzle pieces, worn-down crayons, and used Disney-themed coloring books — it's demeaning. The way they speak to me here — they, those glorified guidance counselors ...Read more
Next Ripley book spotlights Florida odditiesOrlando Sentinel (blog), August 28th
Other Florida tales include snake pizza from Fort Myers, a man whose hand was bitten off by an alligator, a Tampa woman who has thousands of Raggedy Ann dolls and two men who took 355 selfies with 355 different people in one hour on South Beach...Read more
Now blighted, Indy man looks to save 'Raggedy Ann and Andy' homeWISH-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 walkTiffin 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
World-renowned Raggedy Ann art installation added to downtown MuskegonMLive.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