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 dol...
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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"Fairyland must be filled with rag dolls, soft loppy rag dolls who go through all the beautiful adventures found there, nestling i… [more]
We have a very small team here at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, so we all have to do lots of different things. I do… [more]
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Troy store Pookie's Fabrics 40 years in the makingTroy Record, May 21st
That holiday season, the Raggedy Ann doll was the gift of choice. As Janelle sat on Santa Claus', she told him she wanted a Raggedy Ann for Christmas. However, the girl did not want a doll like those throughout the store — she wanted a brown Raggedy...Read more
Billboard Awards 2013 Highlights: Chris Brown, Bruno Mars and OthersAtlanta Black Star, May 20th
She was dressed like a normal human being rather than a raggedy Ann doll in drag, and then Lil Wayne came out. Where Nicki stepped up, Lil Wayne fell flat, strolling onto the stage looking like he had just woken up a five minutes before it was time for...Read more
Raggedy renditionsHays Daily News, May 18th
The dolls bare a slight resemblance to the classic Raggedy Ann but veer off into innumerable variations. "The traditional Raggedy ... we don't do that," Engling said smiling and indicating with her hand the shelves of handmade dolls. "No way, no how...Read more
The women who mothered meThe Ranger, May 16th
She may have thought someone gave her a Christmas doll a couple of months late. (Cabbage Patch? Raggedy Ann?) Whatever, her mothering instincts kicked in early. I remember a beautiful red taffeta dress she made for me to wear to a high school carnival,...Read more
The tangled tale of HOTTEAvita.mn, May 15th
Two images that he's spray-painted on yarn backgrounds depict cheerful Raggedy Ann dolls holding an infant and an overgrown boyish version of Rieger himself. Like Catholic madonnas, the first doll is enshrined in a glowing, shell-shaped niche while the...Read more
Amgen Tour of California rolls into Santa ClaritaSan Gabriel Valley Tribune, May 14th
cried Madelynn Lackey, 2, of Tehachapi, leashed to a Raggedy Ann backpack. "They go fast - I like it!" They hunkered down into a steady headwind for what would be four "king of the mountain" climbs in the hills around Lake Hughes and Bouquet Canyon,...Read more
Northern Michigan Memorial Day Programs at Sleeping Bear DunesTraverse, May 14th
They haul lines and use replicas of historic equipment in an effort to save Raggedy Ann and Andy from their sinking vessel. Saturday, May 25. 4:00 p.m. Afternoon Program - Picture Perfect Sleeping Bear. Join a Park Ranger at the Philip A. Hart Visitor...Read more
HOTTEA's 'Inner Workings' showcases restraint, potentialvita.mn, May 13th
The first set of self-portraits on display in the Burnet Gallery feature stripes of bright yarn transposed with iconic paintings of Raggedy Ann cradling an infant, then an adolescent. These pieces were respectively bookmarked by candelabras and pitchforks...Read more