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
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Carroll County libraries get into the spirit of HalloweenBaltimore Sun, October 30th
Characters such as Raggedy Ann and Corky the Penguin, the library's mascot, can be seen as well as the Ravens logo, Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street, and Halloween-themed pumpkins. "They are all so unique and creative," Kahn said. "I love the ...Read more
'Game Of Thrones Halloween' Puts A Westeros Spin On Trick-Or-TreatingHuffington Post (satire), October 30th
The piece was written by Luke Barnett, who also stars, and directed by Vincent Masciale -- the same duo who brought us last year's spoof of HBO's "The Newsroom." It also features Nadia Bjorlin of "Days of Our Lives" as the Queen Regent/Raggedy Ann...Read more
Raggedy Ann poured my Halloween coffeeJackson Hole News&Guide, October 29th
My original intention this October was to limit my pumpkin acquisitions to one large specimen to be placed by my front door. Fat chance. Soon I amassed a menagerie of squashes that seemed to increase exponentially. I unearthed some pretty darned ...Read more
It's Not A Cute Raggedy Ann DollThe Lion's Pride, October 16th
From the maker of the “Insidious” movies comes the prequel to “The Conjuring.” “Annabelle,” directed by James Wan, is the new movie that is sure to make viewers terrified of dolls. The story begins the year before the events of “The Conjuring.” When...Read more
Looking back: The untold story of Raggedy AnnMyhorrynews, October 13th
The beloved Raggedy Ann doll has been woven into our childhoods and hearts for almost 100 years, and this iconic doll has been seen in print, cartoons, movies, and books all over the world. Although there were myths and controversies surrounding this ...Read more
Annabelle Creepier on Big Screen Raggedy Ann and Storyline ChangedViral Global News, October 5th
Hollywood has a way of engaging minds, transforming stories and inserting the creepy background music that sends chills down your spine. It was no different for the creepy doll Annabelle movie. It seems to be no different for Lorraine Warren, her late ...Read more
Annabelle: The History and Demon Behind the DollGuardian Liberty Voice, October 4th
Originally, as the history of the Raggedy Ann doll goes, a mother found the doll in a second-hand store and bought it sometime during the 1970s. Her daughter, Donna, who had a roommate, Angie, was happy when she was given the doll, but that happiness ...Read more
The classic, smiley Raggedy Ann dolls were originally handmade in West ...Interlochen, September 30th
If there's been a little girl in your life at any point, chances are pretty good that Raggedy Ann made her way into your home. The cloth doll with the yarn hair and the candy-cane-striped stockings has been a part of America's toy scene for a century...Read more